Opossums are known for playing dead, but what else do you really know about them? Today, Floofmania will put a spotlight on opossums and their drinking behavior. It may sound simple but at the end of this article, you will find these cute animals amazing!
Do Opossums Drink Water?
Table of Contents
- 1 Do Opossums Drink Water?
- 2 Should You Leave Out Water For Opossums?
- 3 Do Opossums Drink Other Liquids Than Water?
- 4 Are There Enough Water Sources for Opossums Today?
Opossums drink water regularly as most wild animals do. In fact, they prefer to live near watering holes of fresh water so they have easy access to drinking water and do not have to walk miles when they are thirsty.
Water is a necessity for the opossums, they can survive days without food as long as they have drinking water which is true for all animals and humans too!
How Do Opossums Drink Water?
Opossums use their tongues to lap the water from the source to their mouth, similar to how a dog and many other mammals would drink water.
They use their tongue like a scoop to lift and pull water into their mouths and also rapidly flick the tip of their tongues on the water to draw up a column of water to their mouths.
Looking at it from a human perspective, it may seem like animals make a lot of effort just to drink water but their tongues are actually designed for drinking aside from eating food.
Where Do Opossums Get Water?
Most opossums strategically live near fresh water sources so they are close to drinking water.
Opossums usually get water from lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, other reliable freshwater sources, and sometimes, even from people’s houses.
One advantage of living near water sources is that it gives them opportunities to swim. Opossums love to swim and they are proficient at it! They also get to catch and eat fish and other small aquatic animals while they are at it. No wonder they love water!
How Do Opossums Find Water?
Opossums are equipped with survival instincts that help them find water. Only in rare cases of drought will they be unable to drink water.
These are the ways opossums find water:
- They find water sources through memory because, during their first 100 days after birth, their mother teaches them survival skills which include going to water sources to hydrate. They do not forget the skills their mother taught them.
- Opossums find water sources by stumbling upon them through exploration and travel. They are always on the hunt at night and because they are always near bodies of water they are more likely to find one randomly.
- Opossums find water by observing other animals. They are good at pursuing and tracking their prey. While opossums mostly eat carrion and insects, they also prey on small rodents and birds, which also frequent water sources for the same reasons opossums frequent them – to drink.
How Long Can Opossums Go Without Water?
Usually, opossums can go up to 3 days without water but if they are constantly feeding, they can go for months without drinking water. Their diets mostly provide them with the necessary hydration that will sustain them for months on end.
Their nocturnal lifestyle and their often damp habitats also lower their water demands but without a proper diet, opossums cannot survive without water, and they will eventually succumb to thirst and dehydration.
Opossums are omnivores that eat both vegetation and meat. Their diet includes, but is not limited to:
- Small wild birds
- Dead animals
Their food sources especially fruits and berries are high in water content that provides sufficient hydration.
Should You Leave Out Water For Opossums?
Generally, Floofmania does not recommend leaving water, or even food, out for opossums and other wild animals. As wild animals, opossums have the instinct to find water by themselves.
By leaving water out for them, they tend to keep coming back to your property and develop a dependence. We don’t want that!
People should just leave them alone, they are much better for it. Sometimes, our compassion for animals can be detrimental to them. The best thing that we can do for them if we really want to help is to stay away from them and not invade their habitats.
Do Opossums Drink Other Liquids Than Water?
Opossums drink primarily water except for baby opossums (joeys) which rely on their mother’s milk for nourishment in the first few days or weeks.
Opossums also get to drink the juices of fruits and berries but their intention is mainly to eat the fruits and berries, not to drink them.
The same is true for the blood of their prey. They get to drink it unintentionally when devouring their prey. In short, opossums drink only water and do not seem out other hydration sources except for food.
Are There Enough Water Sources for Opossums Today?
Unfortunately, water sources are getting fewer and smaller each year because people are expanding their territories destroying wild habitats of animals.
Land and water pollution is also affecting the quality of their water so more diseases and dirty water have become prevalent.
Fortunately, there are nature reserves and national parks that protect their natural habitats although these may not be enough. We should stop the destruction of their homes and put more effort into reforestation and the protection of nature in general.