Opossum Encounter


macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 6, 2005
I just opened the back door to have about half a smoke, and there was a opossum sitting there on the landing (2nd floor apt. bldg). Weird. He just kinda looked at me. Didn't make a run for it or anything. Stayed right there until I finished my cig, and was still there when I shut the door. Wonder what he was doing up here? There was no food or anything for him to get...

Opossums a pretty harmless as far as critters go, yea? Not known to carry rabies, right?

Doctor Q

Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
Los Angeles
I wouldn't assume they are safe. They are wild animals.

We have them in our neighborhood, where they generally come into yards where cat food has been put out. They look exceedingly clumsy as they lumber about, and can't jump as well as cats can, but they can still get onto patio tables and can balance on fences and telephone wires.

I took this photo when I spotted one in the neighborhood.



Moderator emeritus
Apr 27, 2005
San Francisco, CA
I see them once every few years in my area, but I know they are around more than that (I can see their footprints on the sidewalk surrounding my pool).

As Doctor Q mentioned, you can't assume any wild animal is safe, but as far as opossums are concerned, rabies is quite rare.


macrumors regular
Nov 22, 2005
I have one in my backyard. It usually comes out of its home behind my shed at night and scrounges for food. He's a regular, along with pigeons the size of large purses. The family affectionately calls him Jack.

Doctor Q

Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
Los Angeles
Here's another 'possum photo I took.

Opossums are nocturnal and this guy (gal?) came by one night, walking on the top of our fence. Our dog spotted him and rushed outside to try and catch him. The 'possum froze (playing dead) while the dog barked and jumped up and down. The dog's claws couldn't quite reach the top of the fence, so the 'possum could have walked away, but it stayed frozen, with it's eyes wide open. We put the dog back in the house but the opossum was still there when I went back outside to take this photo. Later he left, when he was sure the coast was clear.

These notes about opossums might be useful to read.



macrumors 68000
Mar 14, 2004
They can be pretty nasty if they want to be. I watched my uncle kill one with a shovel when I was a kid. It bit his boot and latched on, hissing and all.

About it just sitting there, it might have been sick (like near death). I've seen birds do that.


macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2004
A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
A few years back I heard the Weber Grill fall over, but didn't bother to take care of it that night.

Over the weekend, i went out on the deck, righted the base of the grill and then went to pick up the cover.

As I lifted it up,
a HUGE opossum just looked up at me and hissed, then waddled away.

Freaked me out for sure.

And they do have big teeth.


macrumors regular
Jul 23, 2004
Woodland Hills, CA
Whenever i go out for a smoke at night I usually see them walk by occasionaly they stop and stare at me before moving on, they are common at nightime where I live and usually move at night at first they freaked me out but eventually i got used to them they keep me company at night :D

Doctor Q

Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
Los Angeles
Perhaps one or more of you can suggest something for a friend of mine.

He has "outdoor cats". They live and eat outdoors, but opossums in the neighborhood steal food from their dishes, even if the dishes are put on a table that the cats jump up to. The cats aren't always there when my friend is, so he needs to put food out for them. He asked for ideas on how to leave food for the cats in a way that prevents the 'possums from getting into it.

If cats can really jump higher than 'possums (I'm not sure how big or small these ones are), he could just keep trying higher tables. That was my first suggestion. My other suggestions included putting the food in a box that only skinny animals could get into, and even a wacky idea for a contraption that would let only a lightweight animal reach a box where you would put the food, because a heavier animal would cause a suspended platform to sag.

But perhaps there are some easier solutions (other than simply inviting the cats indoors).


macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2005
Behind the lens
DONT touch possums.

They can carry rabies, and be quite vicious with their sharp teeth when threatened.

And just cuz YOU think you arent threatening, doesnt mean the creature 1/15th your size doesnt.



macrumors 68020
Apr 12, 2005
2nyRiggz said:
Those things are crazy...I went to throw out the trash one night and the damn thing run me back into my apartment.

You sure that wasnt one of NYC's rats? :D