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Do possums hibernate?

There are many creatures in the animal kingdom that hibernate during the winter. After building up a large supply of food to enable them to last during the winter or eating a significantly larger portion of food in the coming months leading up to winter, these animals are able to survive and be ready for spring to come despite the fact of sleeping for four or five months prior to spring arriving. It is the circle of life for many different kinds of animals including both bears and bats.

However, not every animal out there hibernates which may make you wonder if the possums are an animal that may hibernate? The answer is a resounding no.

No matter what time of the year you were talking about, the possum is alert and ready to get out in the world. These are nocturnal animals, that hunt exclusively during the nighttime because of their very poor eyesight. The possum has an exceptional sense of hearing and smell, but a very poor sense of eyesight. This allows it to be able to have a clear advantage over potential predators at nighttime, because the possum can smell or hear them usually long before they are able to sneak up on the possum.

This also gives them the advantage in finding food. The smallest movement by a mouse cricket, or other small animal will quickly draw the attention of the possum, allowing it to strike and get a meal. It can also smell vegetables and fruits that may be growing nearby so that it can make a meal out of them as well.

It would seem with such poor eyesight and the fact that they need to be able to hear and smell well that hibernating would be a beneficial trait for the possum. However, there are actually distinct advantages to being awake in the wintertime that benefit the possum.

First of all, during winter the amount of sunlight reduces greatly. The average daylight time can be less than nine hours in many places, giving a possum 15 hours of time for it to hunt and move around.

In addition, during the winter many animals do hibernate, which not only reduces down the competition in terms of finding food, but also reduces the number of predators that are about that pose a risk to the possum.

The fur on these animals is very stiff and full, meaning that they can handle the cold weather, much better than most other forms of animal. Therefore, they are able to get out and track down food especially in areas where human beings have left waste that they can turn into a meal.

As you can see, there is no real reason that a possum would have to hibernate. They can continue to perform normal bodily processes during the wintertime and successfully be able to find food, maybe even better than during the summer. It is for reasons like this that there is a clear advantage in them not hibernating. Read more: Opossum Control, How to Get Rid of Opossums, Opossum Feces.

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