Like any responsible dog owner, you scoop your dog’s poop, wrap it in a bag, and toss it in the nearby trash can. However, you keep seeing scattered dog poop around the neighborhood. What is happening? And more importantly, who is the culprit?
Do possums eat dog poop? Yes, while dog poop is not on the top of the possum’s menu and wish list, given the opportunity, possums are likely to eat dog poop. Even if they do not actually eat the poop, they can play with poop bags and make messes.
In this article, we will talk about possums eating dog poop. We will also discuss the opposite scenario – dogs eating possum poop and finally, discuss some possum facts important for dogs and dog owners.
DO POSSUMS EAT DOG POOP?
Possums are omnivores and feed on insects, slugs, snails, small rodents, frogs, birds, pet food, bird seeds, vegetables, berries, fruits, and nuts. Possums often raid trashcans and dumpsters in search of food and edibles. If a possum finds a bag of dog poop in the trash, it can open the bag and feed on its content.
This may sound disgusting from a human standpoint, but for possums, it is perfectly normal. In fact, possums are not the only animal willing to feed on dog poop. There are many animals with similar habits. For example, rats, smaller rodents, and raccoons are also attracted. There are even dogs that eat their own poop or other dogs’ poop (some dogs eat poop from other animals as well, for example, cat poop or chicken poop).
Do not be fooled by the disgusting scenario – there is science behind this madness. Namely, dog poop often contains undigested food material (mainly fruits and veggies, but also some protein), which possums and other animals find useful.
DO DOGS EAT POSSUM POOP?
Possums are notorious for their incredibly stinky poop. In fact, the possum’s poop is its strongest defense weapon. Namely, because of their miniature size, possums are no match for bigger predators and carnivores, and to keep them safer, nature weaponized them with a stinky poop.
When there is an imminent danger, possums lay on the ground and play dead. However, they also release a poop that smells like rotting flesh. What is even more unusual is that the poop can radiate the same rotting flesh smell for up to 45 minutes. Since no animal enjoys such smell, the predator is deterred and the possum safe.
To get back on the main question – do dogs eat possum poop? The most probable answer is no. However, dogs can be weird when it comes to taste bud preferences. Therefore, although most dogs find the possum poop unattractive, there can be dogs willing to eat possum poop despite its rotting smell.
ARE POSSUMS DANGEROUS TO DOGS?
In general, possums are not considered to be dangerous to dogs. This is because possums are non-aggressive, and even if threatened by dogs, their first response would be to play dead (an activity they can do for hours).
However, if a dog is overly annoying, a possum may decide to fight back – growl, hiss, show its teeth, or in extreme cases, decide to use those teeth and bite the dog. Such scenarios can often progress, and you might need to interfere to prevent serious outcomes.
An annoyed possum may also decide to retaliate in a different manner – by peeing on your dog. This can be more dangerous since possum pee might be contaminated with Leptospira and cause leptospirosis in dogs.
Even if the urine is free from these bacteria, you will have trouble removing the stain and odor from the possum’s bright green and acidic pee off of your dog.
CAN I PREVENT POSSUM-DOG ENCOUNTERS?
You cannot control every aspect of your dog’s life, and you definitely cannot dictate where a night ranger such as the possum goes. However, there are two things you can do to decrease the chances of your dog meeting a possum:
- Place laddered stockings filled with mothballs in the garden – possums hate the mothball smell and find it deterring. You can use this to your advantage. All you need are several mothballs and some old laddered stockings, which you will place around the garden.
- Do not let your dog alone outside at night – as mentioned, possums are nocturnal, meaning they spend the day hidden and sleeping and roam when night falls. Therefore, the encounter possibilities are limited to nighttime. You can keep your dog safe by not allowing it to go outside alone once it gets dark.
SUMMING UP: POSSUMS EATING DOG POOP?
Yes, while not regularly and enjoyably, possums can eat dog poop. Originally, possums are omnivores and are known for their fondness of digging through the garbage. On these garbage quests, they often encounter dog poop and sometimes decide to eat it.
Considering the fact that possums make messes while digging through the garbage, you can use a double bag to cover the scent of your dog’s poop and avoid attracting possums and other trash scavenging creatures.
Do possums carry rabies?
Possums are incredibly resistant to rabies and rarely carry the disease. Compared to other pests and dogs, possums have the lowest rabies incidence. The misconception that possums carry rabies stems from the fact that they are usually associated with raccoons, rodents, and other nocturnal pests.
Do possums transmit diseases to dogs?
Possums do not transmit any infectious diseases to dogs. However, they often carry fleas which, of course, can be transmitted to dogs, and as we all know, fleas can carry an array of diseases. Keeping your dog up-to-date on its flea preventive medication offers protection against the possum’s fleas.
Do possums attack dogs?
Generally speaking, possums are non-aggressive creatures and, because of their nocturnal lifestyle, rarely pose a danger to dogs. However, some dogs may find the possum encounter scary as these marsupials defend themselves by hissing and showing their sharp teeth.
Do possums eat their own poop?
No, possums do not eat their own poop. As already mentioned, the possum poop has a repulsive smell that even its creator finds incredibly repugnant and disgusting.