Opossums are nocturnal animals that are active at night and sleep during the day. They are most active during spring and summer. Opossums do not hibernate but they slow down during Fall and Winter.
Are Opossums Nocturnal?
Table of Contents
- 1 Are Opossums Nocturnal?
- 2 What Time Of Day Are Opossums Most Active?
- 3 When Do Opossums Come Out?
- 4 Where Do Opossums Hang Out During The Day?
- 5 Is It Normal For Opossums To Be Out During The Day?
- 6 Do Opossums Come Out In All Kinds Of Weather?
- 7 What Time of Year Are Opossums Active The Most?
- 8 Are Opossums Active In Winter?
Possums are nocturnal beings that hunt at night. It’s not very usual to see them out and about during the sunlit hours. During spring and summer, when the weather is right, opossums can travel up to two miles to search for food at nighttime.
What Do Opossums Do At Night?
Almost all of the opossum’s activities take place at night, with the only exception of sleeping.
Opossums are food-driven, which is why they are almost constantly on the hunt.
When they’re not on the lookout for food, opossums look for shelter, take care of their babies, and if the season is right: Look for mates.
But really, they mostly just look for food.
What Time Of Day Are Opossums Most Active?
Opossums are most active between 6 p.m. to 8 in the morning, or between dusk and dawn, which is the only moments when they see a little sunlight. They are busy creatures.
Motivated for food, they search all night until morning. They live for food not just for themselves but also for their offspring, which the momma opossum carries on her back when they become too big to live in her pouch.
Opossums are resilient, opportunistic hunters and scavengers. Their whiskers and muzzle help them feel their way in the dark, but they also have eyes that are relatively well adapted for night-time vision. During the day, they can’t see much, though!
When Do Opossums Come Out?
Opossums come out in the hours just before sunset. They mostly roam around at night when it is safe and quiet. Prowling at night gives them more opportunities with lesser risks, and then they’re much better adapted for it.
Aside from the nocturnal instincts that drive them, the nighttime provides opossums advantages like:
The Opossum Has Less Competition For Food At Night
Most other animals are active during the day. Given their nocturnal instincts, opossums have less competition for food.
The insects and smaller animals they eat are also easier to hunt at night since most of them are sleeping. Easy targets!
Fewer Predators Are Out When The Opossum Is Active
Most of the opossum’s predators are asleep at night. This gives them more opportunities to roam free and gather food while being much more secure.
Opossums do not have plenty of natural predators. They are resilient animals that adapt to any environment where there are sufficient food sources, water, and shelter.
Most of their basic survival needs are easier to find in cities and suburbs. Away from their natural predators. (But closer to you and me!)
Opossums Don’t Have To Worry About People At Night
The majority of people sleep at night. This lessens the chance of human interaction and imminent danger.
Surprisingly, people are the main threat to the opossum population today.
The lure of more food sources and opportunities has driven the opossums away from their natural habitats and near humans, which is why they’re so often seen as nightly visitors in suburban neighborhoods.
Opossums have made it to the top list of pests and nuisance species that people desperately try to drive away and exterminate.
Where Do Opossums Hang Out During The Day?
Opossums sleep during the day in cozy nooks and dens they make for themselves. They hang out in hollowed trees, rock crevices, abandoned burrows, and wood piles in forests and bushes.
Opossums easily adapt to different places that are dry, sheltered, and safe. As long as there is food and water, they can survive in cities and suburbs, as well as forests and plains.
When opossums share their living space with humans, they like to live under sheds, in crawlspaces, and under wooden decks, amongst other things.
Is It Normal For Opossums To Be Out During The Day?
It is not normal for opossums to come out during the day but it is not unusual either. It depends on the weather and the availability of food.
When they are hungry, they will go out regardless of the time. This does not happen often, though. Opossums only go out during the day when it is strictly necessary.
In the fall and winter seasons, food sources like vegetation and small animals are scarce for the opossum, which is why they are forced to come out during the day if their night hunting is not productive.
Do Opossums Come Out In All Kinds Of Weather?
Opossums come out in all kinds of weather, but more often in some weather than others.
The main motivation for the opossum’s survival is food. They hunt because of the strong need to feed themselves and their young. Weather be damned!
But let’s take a look at how opossums deal with some different weather conditions:
Heavy Rains Don’t Deter The Opossum
We often experience heavy downfall during spring and summer.
Opossums like dry places but they can withstand heavy rains and floods. They are decent swimmers too. The desire for food comes first before extreme weather and danger, and opossums can tolerate quite a lot of rain even though they don’t particularly like it.
High Temperatures Only Makes Scavenging Easier For The Opossum
Opossums can actually deal pretty well with hot summers. They don’t have a problem coming out to hunt in the heat, and one might even say that they thrive in it.
High temperatures also mean that smaller prey comes out from their hiding places to breathe and cool off, which means that they become easier to catch!
More food for the opossum!
Drought And Scarcity Of Food Can Be A Real Problem
Where rain and heat are tolerable for the opossum, drought is a much bigger problem. It forces them to come out more often because drought means that there is only a little food available.
Drought is one of those severe weather conditions that can force opossums to come out during the day. They simply have no choice other than go out and look for food and drink!
Heavy Snowfall And Severe Cold
During heavy snowfall, opossums keep to their hiding places. They do not waste their energy and only go out when they need to eat.
In winter, it’s a lot more common to see an opossum in the daylight because food becomes more scarce and harder to find at night. Opossum can’t be choosy when there is little food to hunt.
The cold can also slow down the natural instincts of the opossum. Severe cold and thick snow limit their movements, which leaves them vulnerable to danger and predators, not to mention the risk of falling into ditches and holes.
What Time of Year Are Opossums Active The Most?
Opossums are most active during spring and summer. In these seasons, they have more opportunities to find food and mating partners.
Summer and spring are breeding seasons.
The opossum’s main goal in survival is food and breeding. Nothing else really matters for this little critter. This is why opossums risk their lives despite severe weather conditions, human intervention, and predators.
Spring And Summer
During spring and summer, it’s like going to a buffet every day for the opossum. Plants and vegetation are abundant, and little creatures come out from hiding, which means that there is plenty of food for everyone.
Fall And Winter
The cold season is not a busy time for opossums. They do not often come out compared to hot seasons.
Opossums do not hibernate during winter. They just slow down and rest for days at a time. They do this to conserve energy and fat reserves to survive.
Venturing out in severe weather during this time is very risky.
Are Opossums Active In Winter?
Opossums are active in winter but not as much as they are in summer and spring. They still go out to hunt for food, but not every night. In the cold months, opossums only go out when they really need to.
Luckily opossums don’t need to go out a lot during the cold months! During winter, they slow down their heart rate, and they do not move often. This does not require a lot of energy, which means that they can eat less.
So less hunting time for them. More time for bed.