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Possums do climb really well, and just one feature that enables them to do just that, is the prehensile tail. Despite what you may have read or heard, possums are unable to hang from their tails, but it sure does come in handy when you’re trying to catch your balance. It helps the possum to find its centre of gravity whilst it’s jumping and climbing around in the air, much in the same way that a tightrope walker would use that long pole.
Baby possums have been known to hang from their tails along tree branches, like you may have seen in kids shows and cartoons, but if an adult possum were to try that, the tail wouldn’t be strong enough to carry its weight. It would either cause injury to the tail, or the possum would fall down.
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Possums love to live in the trees because there is a lot of food up there on offer. Fruits, seeds, flowers, leaves, and much more, and that’s before you start on the bugs - insects, flies and beetles, etc. that are crawling around. All of these things are great dishes for the possum, and if they need to clamber up the tree to go after it, they will do just that.
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Of course, it's not just food up there in the trees, the high branches also provide plenty of protection from predators. Down on the ground, the possum would be at risk of attack from foxes, coyotes, feral dogs, pet cats and dogs, and plenty of others. It’s quite a dangerous world on ground level when you’re small and furry, and possums have adapted to climb well in order to keep themselves safe.
The trouble with possums and their great climbing skill, is that they don’t just use it for trees. They’ll climb trees in your garden, sure, but that’ll be to sneak into your home when you’re not looking. Or they’ll be climbing fences to get into your garden. They may even climb the fence to get away from the pooch it didn’t realize lived in that building.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does opossum removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of opossums - my main opossum removal info guide.
Example opossum trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Opossum job blog - learn from great examples of opossum jobs I've done.