Opossums (also commonly called possums by most Americans, though not technically the same animal) are found all over the United States, with the Virginia Opossum being the most common. If you have seen opossums in your area, you may wonder if your rabbit is in any danger of being hunted, killed, and eaten by an opossum.
So do opossums prey on rabbits?
A timid marsupial, opossums are scavengers and more likely to feast on an already dead rabbit than it is to actively hunt, kill, and eat it. Thus, the chances of an opossum attacking a rabbit are scarce unless the marsupial feels threatened.
Let’s dig deeper into the details of yet another predator and learn more.
Do Opossums Prey on Rabbits?
As non-aggressive, nocturnal marsupials, opossums are not dangerous. When most people think of these animals, they think of creatures digging in their garbage or raiding a garden.
Opossums are omnivores. Their main diet consists of insects, slugs and snails, birds, frogs, small rodents, worms, and carrion.
These animals also eat fruit, nuts, pet food, vegetables, birdseed, and garbage. This is why your trash will be in disarray or the pet food you left out will be long gone before your beloved pet gets to it. Luckily, the hay and pellets that you feed to your rabbit aren’t appetizing to an opossum.
As scavengers, opossums don’t prey on animals. By extension, they won’t kill and eat your pet bunny. However, if a rabbit, like a wild rabbit, is already dead, then these creatures may come for a tasting.
Why Do Opossums Attack Rabbits?
In general, it isn’t likely that an opossum will attack Ms. Fluffles. It isn’t in its nature as these animals like to scavenge. However, it may harass your fluffy long-eared bunny by growling, showing its teeth, and hissing.
Your bunny may decide that it wants to fight the opossum instead of running away and hiding. In this case, a fight could break out, and in defense, the opossum may attack and kill your domesticated rabbit.
Opossums have 50 sharp teeth, so they can inflict serious injury on your rabbit.
Moreover, as a host of fleas and many diseases, opossums should be kept away from your rabbit at all times. Rabbits have a weak immune system and could get infected very easily should an opossum happen to scratch them or bite them.
Are Rabbits Easy to Kill by Opossums?
An opossum and a rabbit are not natural antagonists, and these animals don’t have a reason to be scared of each other. However, if your rabbit lives in an outside hutch, you want to ensure no opossum or other animal can get to it.
An opossum is a nocturnal animal, meaning it is active at night when it scavenges for food and the like. On the other hand, rabbits are crepuscular, so they are more awake during dusk and dawn. Thus, it isn’t likely that your pet rabbit and an opossum will cross paths.
In terms of whether a rabbit is easy for an opossum to kill, the answer is no, it isn’t. An opossum is the size of a cat. As a timid animal, it only has 50 sharp teeth that it can use to attack and defend itself.
On the other hand, a rabbit can thump loudly, which is a warning to the predator. In the wild, this sound lets the rabbit’s underground warren know that danger is nearby.
A rabbit can also bite an opossum and latch on, helping it to tear open the wound further if the opossum tries to get the bunny to let go. With sharp claws, the rabbit can inflict injury.
So while an opossum may kill a rabbit, it is likely only when the rabbit sees the marsupial as a threat and attacks it. The opossum could kill the bunny; it may also not.
If your bunny does have an encounter with an opossum, get it to a vet to get it checked out for various animal diseases. If infected, this is how an opossum may most likely kill your rabbit.
Ways to Protect Your Rabbits From Opossums
An opossum that visits your garden is actually a great thing. It helps control the population of unwanted pests, like rodents and vermin. However, you want to keep an opossum away from your rabbit.
Here’s how you can do that:
Cover Pet Food
Don’t leave any pet food out.
While an opossum won’t be interested in pellets and hay, which is what your bunny eats to thrive, you should ensure that an opossum can’t get food you leave out for your dog or cat.
Don’t Leave the Trash Out
It is best to not leave your trash bags laying around your yard. Place them in a can to help mask the smells. This will help keep opossums away.
Instal Security Lights
Motion-sensor lights are a great deterrent to many predators, including opossums since they are nocturnal animals. A bright light is not something an opossum would enjoy.
So, if the light goes on every time an opossum visits your yard in search of a food source, they’ll be forced to look elsewhere.
Opossum-Proof the Bunny Hutch
Another great way to keep these marsupials away from your rabbit is to ensure they can’t get into the hutch or cage.
Opossums can make their way through an opening that is fewer than three inches in diameter. Thus, ensure there are no openings in the hutch that an opossum could possibly get through. It is recommended to attach strong mesh wire to these holes to keep the predator out.
You can also add a Perspex cover to the hutch to keep an opossum away.
Remove Hidey Spots
Since an opossum likes to hide away during the day, it likes to stay in shrubs and bushes and under your porch. Removing these spots where an opossum may potentially hide is a great way to keep them away from your rabbit.
Regularly trim your shrubs and bushes.
The Last Attack
An opossum isn’t a scary animal, except if you consider the diseases and fleas it carries with it. While an opossum isn’t likely to prey on your rabbit, it is in your best interest to keep these animals away.