Foxes have really varied diets. They are omnivorous and, as such, they eat plants as well as meat. Some of the animals they hunt include ducks, mice, and rats.
But, do foxes eat possums? They are essentially meat after all, so it would only make sense that they’d feature on a fox’s menu choices.
But, in the case of foxes vs. possums, things aren’t quite as simple as you might think. In this ultimate guide, you’ll find everything you would ever need to know about this intriguing subject.
We’ll look at the hows and the whys, and you’re guaranteed to learn something interesting along the way!
Do Foxes Eat Possums?
Let’s look at the main question, first of all. Yes, foxes do eat possums. Generally speaking, a fox will eat almost anything that it can find. This is one of the reasons why urban foxes can often be found rummaging through garbage cans.
However, possums certainly don’t make up a large part of a fox’s diet. This is mostly because a fox would have a hard time hunting a possum.
Possums are feisty and have sharp teeth and claws, so they can put up a pretty good fight against a fox!
And, when there is much easier prey around such as mice, rats, ducks, and squirrels, hunting something that could cause a serious injury simply wouldn’t be worth the fox’s efforts.
If you’ve ever seen a fox eating a possum, it’s more than likely that the possum was already dead when it found it. In this instance, it may have been killed by a larger predator (such as a wolf or an eagle), or it might have died from natural causes.
Why Do Foxes Eat Dead Possums?
While foxes are more than capable of hunting and killing certain animals, they are also opportunistic scavengers. The main reason for this is that it gives them the opportunity to feed more efficiently, conserving their energy reserves for more important things.
Feeding on carrion also gives a fox the opportunity to take in certain minerals from animals that they simply wouldn’t be able to prey on themselves.
Deer, for example, are really high in protein. However, it would almost be impossible for a fox to take down an adult deer by itself.
The same theory applies to possums. Rather than risk getting injured during the hunt, they’ll let a bigger predator do the work and enjoy whatever meat is left behind afterward.
This is undeniably clever and is likely one of the reasons why foxes got their reputation for being cunning. But just how would a fox be able to locate a dead possum or any other type of carrion?
Foxes have highly tuned senses that make it easy for them to find carrion. To begin with, they have thousands of nerve endings on their noses that connect directly to the smell-identifying part of their brains.
This helps them locate the decaying meat as its scent is carried through the air.
They also have high-definition night vision. This, paired with their incredible sense of smell, guides them straight to the dead possum.
Their ability to see in the dark also allows them to see if the predator that caught the possum has vacated the area, making it safe for them to approach it and start eating.
Could A Fox Kill A Possum?
A possum would put up a good fight against a fox but, in times of extreme hunger and desperation, it’s quite possible for a fox to kill a possum. This mostly comes down to a matter of size and strength.
Foxes are bigger and stronger than possums so, with enough willpower and brute force, they are capable of delivering a fatal bite.
However, they are quite likely to suffer from some bites and scratches along the way, so they would definitely think twice before deciding to try and take on a possum.
One situation in which a fox might have a significant upper hand against a possum is if it was hunting it during the day. Just like foxes, possums are nocturnal.
If a possum comes out of its shelter during the day, there is a chance that it’s not very well. In this weakened state, it would be easier for a fox to win the fight.
A fox would also have an advantage against a younger possum as it won’t have developed enough muscular strength yet to put up too much of a fight.
The bottom line here is that, while foxes do eat possums, they won’t usually bother preying on them as they are simply too feisty to deal with!
There are much easier targets around that they can hunt successfully without getting injured in the process. However, if a fox comes across a possum that is already dead, it will waste no time in taking advantage of the free meal!