Do possums climb trees or live in trees?

Yes, possums do climb and live in trees. Possums are, in general, arboreal animals, that is, an animal that spends most of their lifetime living in trees. They feed themselves usually with leaves and fruits from the trees, but also with insects, birds and bird eggs. They can also attack some smaller animals like rats or snails. So living in trees is actually their natural habitat. And they, of course, oftentimes climb on trees, and they are very good at that. Their paws and claws and light weight make them perfectly good for climbing on trees or on other ‘’terrains’’ such as walls or fences or telephone wires. Possums are similar to squirrels in nature, and like squirrels they are quite good acrobats, as they often climb on trees.

If you see a possum climbing up a tree, it could be for different reasons. A possum may have spotted some kind of food in a tree, like some juicy fruit or perhaps bird eggs, or maybe a possum found a good hiding place in the tree if he is being threatened by some other animal.

Possums in New Zealand have small, tiny tails, and they can use their tails to hang themselves on the limbs of a tree, just like bats for instance. However, they are not just like bats since they are not sleeping in that upside down position like bats do.

Possums are usually seen as a “friendly” animal by gardeners since one single possum cannot cause much damage to plants in the garden but can help the gardener by eliminating pests like different insects, rats, slugs and snakes. Of course, in New Zealand where there are areas of a high number of possums, some preventive measures have to be taken against them.

Go back to the How to Get Rid of Opossums page or email us if you have any other questions about Do possums climb trees or live in trees?