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Do Possums Eat Bird Seed [Possum’s Feeding Habits]

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Possums are small to medium-sized marsupials found mainly in Australasia, which includes New Guinea, Tasmania, and Australia. 

They’re nocturnal and live in trees, about the size of a house cat but heavier. While possums mostly eat plants, some also eat other animals. 

They live in various places like forests, mountains, and cities, and sleep during the day curled up. 

Most possums come out at night, except for the ringtail possum and cuscus, which are active during the day.

Possums usually keep to themselves, but some live in groups. 

They have a relatively long life compared to other marsupials; one kept in captivity lived to 21 years old. Possums eat a wide variety of foods.

Many people who enjoy birds and gardening wonder if possums eat bird seed. Let’s look into this and learn more about possums and their eating habits.

Do Possums Eat Bird Seed?

Yes, they do! Possums, especially common brushtail possums and common ringtail possums found in Australia, sometimes snack on bird seed. 

While it’s not their main food, possums are opportunistic eaters, meaning they’ll try different foods when available. 

Possums and raccoons are often confused because they’re both nocturnal, eat similar things, and look alike. 

Raccoons are larger and have fluffy tails with black rings, while possums have pointy noses and long, hairless tails.

During the day, possums like to hide among plants. They eat insects, frogs, and birds, and enjoy fruits like apples and grapes

Spilled birdseed can attract possums, so it’s important to clean it up and store the rest in sealed containers to keep them away. 

While possums prefer fresh fruits and veggies, they’ll eat birdseed if they find it. 

They’re not crazy about it, but if they’re hungry, they’ll munch on sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, millet, and cracked corn

Possums are attracted to birdseed because it’s an easy meal, but they’ll eat almost anything they find when they’re hungry.

Types of Possums 

possum eating

There are different kinds of possums, each with their traits and places they live. 

Let’s look at some common possum species:

1. Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) 

The common brushtail possum is one of the most common possum species you’ll find in Australia. 

You can spot it by its fluffy tail and its ability to adapt to different environments.

These possums have quite a varied diet – they’ll munch on leaves, fruits, flowers, and yes, even bird seed if they happen to come across it in cities or suburbs.

2. Sugar Glider

The Sugar glider, also known as Petaurus breviceps, is a tree-dwelling possum native to eastern and southern Australia.

They mostly eat plants but also insects and nectar. While birdseed isn’t their usual food, they might try it if given the chance.

3. Mountain Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus caninus) 

The mountain brushtail possum, which you can find in the mountainous areas of Australia, is quite similar to its more common cousin. 

Just like other possums, it eats a mix of leaves, flowers, fruits, and sometimes even birdseed if it happens to be around.

4. Leadbeater’s Possum

This type of possum is in big trouble because there aren’t many left. They live in Victoria, Australia, in forests made of mountain ash trees. 

They eat bugs, sap, and nectar, but if there’s birdseed around, they might eat that too.

5. Eastern Pygmy Possum (Cercartetus concinnus)

This tiny possum is from eastern Australia and Tasmania. They mostly eat insects but also enjoy fruits and seeds, including birdseed.

There are more possum species in different places, and each has its favorite foods and habits. 

While some possums might eat birdseed from time to time, it’s not a big part of their diet. They usually depend on a mix of natural foods to stay healthy.

Learning about the different kinds of possums helps us understand how diverse they are and how they might interact with people. 

Now, let’s talk about something that often confuses people: the difference between an opossum and a possum.

What Is The Difference Between An Opossum And A Possum?

The main difference between opossums and possums is where they live and how they’ve adapted over time. 

Opossums are mostly found in North and South America. They’re known for their hairless, grabby tails and pointy noses. 

You might have heard that they sometimes pretend to be dead when they’re scared. Scientists call them members of the Didelphidae family.

Possums, on the other hand, hang out mainly in Australia, New Guinea, and nearby areas. They’ve got bushy tails and round noses. 

Possums are great climbers and spend a lot of time up in trees. There are different families they belong to, like Phalangeridae and Petauridae.

Even though both opossums and possums are marsupials, they’ve taken different paths in their evolution and live in different parts of the world. 

People often use “possum” to talk about the Australian ones, and “opossum” for the American ones.

Can Opossums Consume Bird Seed?

Yes, opossums can consume birdseed. Opossums are opportunistic feeders and will eat a variety of foods, including bird seed if it’s available to them. 

However, birdseed is not typically a significant part of their diet. 

Opossums primarily eat fruits, insects, small animals, and carrion, but they may sample bird seed if it’s accessible and there are no other food sources readily available.

What Attracts Possums To My House?

Possums are attracted to yards with a lot of vegetation because they provide the possums with shelter and places to hide. 

To keep possums away, trim back any overgrown vegetation and remove any piles of wood or debris. 

If you have a fence, ensure it is in good repair and does not have any holes that the possums can squeeze through.

Birds‘ seeds spilled on the ground can attract possums. 

To keep possums away, clean up any bird seed that spills on the ground and store bird seed in a sealed container. 

Possums are also attracted to pet food, so it is important to keep pet food indoors. Like all animals, possums need access to water. 

If there are ponds, birdbaths, or leaky faucets around your house, possums may be attracted to these water sources.

Trash cans are another attraction for possums. Possums are attracted to the smell of garbage, so it is important to keep your trash cans sealed. 

If you have a compost bin, ensure it is secured so possums cannot get into it.

Figuring out why possums come to neighborhoods is the starting point for finding ways to keep them away. 

Now, let’s talk about how to stop possums from getting into your garden and causing problems.


How Deter Possums From Your Garden?

Here are some simple ways to keep possums out of your garden:

1. Clean Up Food: Possums like gardens with easy-to-find food. Pick up fallen fruits, nuts, and berries, and don’t leave pet food outside. 

Also, make sure bird feeders are possum-proof.

2. Secure Trash Cans: Possums are attracted to smelly garbage. 

Use tightly sealed trash cans and don’t leave trash bags outside overnight.

3. Build a Fence: Put up a sturdy fence around your garden at least 4 feet high. Make sure it goes underground too, to stop possums from digging under.

4. Try Repellents: Use natural or store-bought repellents like predator urine or ammonia-soaked rags. 

Spray them around your garden or on plants possums like.

5. Make Noise: Possums are shy and don’t like loud sounds. If you see one, make some noise to scare it away. 

You can also use a motion-activated sprinkler for the same purpose.

6. Use Barriers: Cover plants with mesh or netting to stop possums from reaching them.

7. Plant Garlic: Garlic is a natural repellent for possums. 

Planting garlic around the perimeter of your garden will help deter possums from entering. 

They hate the smell of garlic, so this is a great way to keep them away.

8. Try Fish Oil Spray: Fish oil is another natural repellent for possums. Mix 1 part fish oil with ten parts water, and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. 

Label the spray bottle “possum repellent” and spray it around the perimeter of your garden. Reapply the possum repellent every week or as needed.

9. Keep Your Garden Tidy: Possums like messy gardens. Trim bushes, mow the lawn, and remove hiding spots regularly.

10. Call Professionals: If you’re having a big problem with possums, consider calling pest control. 

They can help you remove possums and give advice on keeping them away.

By following these tips, you can keep possums out of your garden and protect your plants from their munching!

Which Animals Consume Bird Seed?

Here are some animals that can disrupt bird feeding:

  • Birds: Sparrows, finches, doves, and cardinals are among the bird species that commonly eat bird seed.
  • Squirrels: Whether they live on the ground or in trees, squirrels are known for stealing bird seeds, especially peanuts and sunflower seeds.
  • Chipmunks: These smaller versions of squirrels also enjoy birdseed, especially sunflower seeds and cracked corn.
  • Mice and Voles: These rodents that live in the ground might nibble on spilled seeds or climb feeders if they can.
  • Raccoons: Raccoons are smart and persistent and can get into well-protected feeders, attracted to suet, sunflower seeds, and corn.
  • Bats: While bats primarily eat insects attracted to feeders, not the seeds themselves, they might still swoop in occasionally.
  • Deer: In some places, deer might come for spilled birdseed, especially when food is scarce.

All these animals can mess with bird feeding, so it’s important to take steps to keep them away from bird feeders or spilled seeds.


1. Which animals visit bird feeders during nighttime?

At night, animals like raccoons, opossums, and skunks are known to visit bird feeders looking for food. These nocturnal creatures may disturb the feeding area and cause a mess.

2. How can one prevent raccoons, opossums, and skunks from getting near their feeders?

To deter raccoons, opossums, and skunks from reaching your bird feeders, you can opt for feeders specifically designed to thwart larger animals.
Attach baffles or cones to feeder poles to hinder climbing attempts. Opt for locations that are challenging for raccoons and opossums to reach easily.
Additionally, consider installing motion-activated lights or sprinklers to startle nocturnal visitors.
It’s also essential to consistently clean up spilled seeds to reduce the attraction for these animals to the area.

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