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Do Coyotes Eat Possums? Revealing The Mystery

Coyotes have become quite popular in the urban region, where they enjoy the abundant food in our garbage and pet food. Thanks to their speed and strength, coyotes also prey on all the unprotected pets in our compounds. 

But if they prey on cats and rodents, do they eat possums? 

After all, possum is known for emitting a disgusting odor and carrying rabies. The possum can clear unwanted pests, but it can also transmit rabies. Therefore, having a way to control their population can be quite beneficial, which begs the question, “Do coyotes eat possums?”

Do Coyotes Consume Possums?

A coyote is an opportunistic predator and scavenger and eats a Virginia opossum. The opossum is part of the diet of coyotes and various other animals. These known possum predators also consume rodents, rabbits, rufous owls, birds, insects, and even fruits and vegetation when necessary. 

Coyote is known for its adaptability and ability to consume diverse food sources in North America, which helps it survive in various environments. They are more likely to hunt possums when the opportunity arises, especially if opossum is readily available and easy to catch. 

However, a coyote is not solely dependent on young opossums for their diet and will also consume other prey.

The possums may not be a major part of their diet, and that’s because they have sharp teeth. This means that they can put up a fight while trying to defend themselves. Possums also spend a huge percentage of their time on trees, which makes them less accessible.

Coyotes aren’t great tree climbers, so they have to wait for them to descend, which they do to search for food. Coyotes are also slow creatures that are usually hit by vehicles. Coyotes are known for consuming what’s left after a possum is hit by a car.

Are Possums at High Risk of Coyote Predation?

A study conducted in Kansas confirmed that the leading cause of possum predation is coyotes. These creatures are at a higher risk of being consumed by coyotes in certain seasons and areas. During the cold seasons, when food is scarce, coyotes prey more on possums.

Another study by Kansas University confirmed that coyotes hunt possums between late winter and early spring. But they rarely eat possums in summer when other sources of food are abundant. You may think that since they’re slow, they’re easy targets. But possums have several defense strategies against coyotes. 

Some of their unique defense strategies include:

Bite and Lunge at the Predators

Possums are predators; therefore, they do have 50 sharp teeth that can intimidate a coyote looking for easy food. Coyotes know that a bite from these small creatures can be dangerous. So they’re cautious and look for the right time to attack.

And being stronger, faster, and bigger, they do win most of the time.

Possums Release Bad Smells When Frightened

Like some animals, possums can play dead when frightened. Coyotes are scavengers that can consume dead animals, but what makes this strategy effective? Well, when playing dead, they’re fainted and unconscious. When playing dead, their bodies produce a foul smell that can deter predators.

This strategy can work when there’s abundant food, and a coyote or mountain lion can’t stand the smell.

What Else Does a Coyote Eat?

Found in North and South America, Coyotes are opportunistic omnivores. This means they have a varied diet that includes many food items. Their diet can vary depending on their location, the time of year, and the availability of food sources. 

Even though coyotes are not protected in the U.S., they do help control the possum population in the neighborhood. 

This predator primarily prey on small mammals such as rabbits, rodents (mice, rats, voles), raccoons, and ground squirrels. They are skilled hunters and use their keen senses of sight, smell, and hearing to locate and capture these animals.

Coyotes may prey on birds, especially ground-nesting species like quail and pheasants. They can also scavenge on bird carcasses and eggs. Coyotes may eat grasshoppers, beetles, and other insects when available.


Yes, coyotes consume possums; in fact, they’re part of their diets together with other wild animals. These opportunistic creatures’ meals are determined by the season and their surroundings. They are known for consuming birds, owls, rabbits, rodents, and even vegetation. Being opportunistic predators, they only hunt and kill possums when they’re readily available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are possums protected by the Wildlife Service?

Yes, the Australian possum is protected by the Wildlife Act of 1975; therefore, relocating problematic possums is prohibited. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t use other methods to keep it out of your compound. 

Do coyotes consume foxes?

No, a coyote doesn’t eat foxes. Instead, it hunts and kills a fox but won’t consume it. Coyotes kill foxes to prevent food scarcity.

What’s the environmental benefit of opossum?

Opossums are beneficial creatures that help with pest control in our neighborhood. 

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