Why do opossums play dead?

Opossums are really hideous creatures and they are not even choosy about their food. The animal has got a rat like structure and outlook having a hairless tail, big black colored eyes and pointed yellow colored face. Opossums can live on different types of foods and they do not rely on any one kind of food. These are omnivore creatures. This means that they can eat vegetables, fruit, insects, reptiles and even the dead animals found on roads. In the same as their eating habits, the opossums are also not at all specific when it comes to their living places.

They can live and build nests anywhere. Even in the human dwelled areas and places, they can comfortably enter in and find the best suited places for themselves to build nests and hide. Opossums are basically marsupial mammals and they have got a pouch where the female keeps the baby opossums for a certain period of time. During this time, when the little ones are in the pouch of their mother, they feed on nothing except mother’s milk. Therefore their nursing is totally dependent on their mothers. Usually the opossums are offensive when they are caught or spotted. However there are many instances when the opossums sense any kind of danger or any predator around, they at once start playing dead.

Playing dead by opossums
The little marsupials usually ply dead when they feel threatened or when they sense any kind of danger present around. In fact they are famous for acting like this. There are a very few animals which can pretend to be dead for quite a considerably long time. Opossums have got this quality that they can play dead and pretend this for quite a long time. The biological and physiological reason behind this act of opossums is that they basically go into stress and they are at shock when they sense any kind of danger around them. In this situation, the opossums are found in unconscious state lying on the side and their legs are extended. The condition of opossums in this state is just like a person who has fainted.

Possible deterrents
When the opossums are playing dead, they are basically threatened but that is for their own benefit. When the opossums play dead, they are consequently discouraged from being chased or being eaten by the predators. However in case of an opossums playing dead in the middle f of the road can actually make it die because the drivers do not usually bother to save an already dead animal.

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