Do Possums Carry Rabies? – What You Need To Know!

Possums are small and typically grey, with white faces and stubby legs. They have superb climbing skills thanks to their long, prehensile tails, which they use for balance. Possums are usually active during the night due to their exceptional night vision and they hide and sleep in sheltered places like hollow trees, in brush piles, or under buildings during the daylight hours. People often get problems with possum removal from their homes, attics, roofs, backyard or underdeck.

However, you do not need to fear from them. You can keep a safe distance. They do not bite usually but can if provoked in some inhumane way. Here we will discuss if they carry rabies. Many people say that they spread this disease. Let us check the reality with some more facts about possums and the dangers they carry. Before that, we want you to know about this disease. 

What Is Rabies?

Intro: Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nervous system of mammals, including humans. It is caused by the rabies virus, which is typically transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal. The virus infects the central nervous system, leading to inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

Found In: Rabies is primarily found in animals, particularly in dogs, bats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks. It can be transmitted to humans through the saliva of an infected animal entering an open wound, mucous membranes, or through inhalation of the virus in bat-infested caves. Once symptoms appear, rabies is almost always fatal.

Symptoms: Early symptoms of rabies in humans may include fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, confusion, agitation, and hallucinations may develop. Eventually, the person may experience difficulty swallowing, paralysis, seizures, and respiratory failure.

Bite Case: If a person is bitten or scratched by an animal suspected of having rabies, immediate medical attention is crucial. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a series of injections given after a potential exposure to prevent the development of rabies. It involves a combination of rabies vaccine and rabies immunoglobulin.

It’s important to note that while rabies is a serious and potentially deadly disease, human cases are relatively rare in countries like Australia with effective animal vaccination programs and access to post-exposure prophylaxis. If you suspect a possum may be infected with rabies has bitten or scratched you, it is crucial to seek medical attention promptly.

Facts About Possum And Rabies

It is essential to be aware that all mammals, humans included, can contract rabies, but it is infrequent to come across a possum with rabies. It is likely because the possum has a low body temperature for a mammal, making it difficult, if not impossible, for the disease to survive in its body. 

For this reason, it is much more probable to encounter a raccoon or a skunk with rabies than a possum. In other words, possums can get and spread rabies. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the potential risk and avoid the animals if there is any suspicion that they could be infected.

Possible Risks Of Contamination With Possums

It would help if you did not allow possums to dwell in your home, even though they may not cause much damage. Possums should still be regarded as potentially risky. Here are some of the possible risks which lead to a search for possum removal:

  • They Can Attack Pets And Kids: When threatened, possums use playing dead as a defence tactic, but if that doesn’t work, they can resort to biting as a form of self-defence. It could put your children and pets in harm’s way if a physical altercation transpires.
  • They can contaminate fruits and vegetables: Possums can help control some insects and pests in the garden, but they can also cause rabies risks or other infection risks by contaminating your fruits and vegetables or crushing your plants.

Diseases That Can Be Transmitted When Possums Are Near You

Possums carry various diseases, such as toxoplasmosis, leptospirosis, tularemia, tuberculosis, spotted fever, relapsing fever, and Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis). These harmful germs and pathogens are typically harboured in their bodies and can spread to humans and pets. 

Additionally, possums are often infested with parasites like lice, fleas, mites, and ticks, which are known to transmit disease. Therefore, although possums rarely contract rabies, they should be avoided whenever possible.

Possible Indication Of Possum Presence

Here are some of the potential indications of possums present in your surroundings. Here are some of them: 

1. Bad Odour: 

The distinctive smell they emit indicates possum infestation. Possums produce more fecal matter than any other mammal, and their droppings are more significant than a cat’s. These often-wet droppings can seep into insulation materials, leading to an unpleasant scent within the home.

2. Unusual Consumption Of Pet Food: 

The presence of possums around your home is likely if you find that you keep running out of pet food.

3. Sudden Structural Damage: 

Possums may gain entrance to your building by scaling the siding. Hence, it would help if you looked for exterior damage first. Evidence of an intruder could be broken soffit boards or uncertain shingles on the roof. Inspect the roof space and drainage, too, for any damage.

4. Sound: 

Possums produce several different kinds of vocalisations, such as shrieking and hissing. Females make a clicking noise or smacking sound to gather their young ones. If you begin to hear such noises near your house, it may be a sign that a possum is in the vicinity and should be inspected.

Possum Removal Techniques From Home

If you come across possums in your yard, the best action is to leave them. Usually, they will only stay in one place for a short time and soon move on to another location. Nonetheless, if they last longer on your property, making their permanent home, taking the necessary steps to get rid of them is advisable. Here are some of the techniques for possum removal

1. Possum Repellents: 

Chemical and natural repellents are efficient in preventing possums from entering your residence. The active ingredients typically smell in these repellents are unpleasant to them. These deterrents are quick to employ. However, you will need to reapply them to be effective continually. Examples of off-the-shelf repellents that you can use include garlic, ammonia, spicy peppers, and pet hair. These substances do not harm the possums but will discourage them from getting into your home.

2. Trap Them: 

Trapping involves setting up a trap with attractive bait and waiting for an animal to take the bait. Once the animal is securely caught in the web, it must be released in a safe area far from your home. Be prepared to wait a while, as it may take the offending possums days for the offered.

3. Professional Assistance: 

The most effective solution for dealing with possum invasions is to contact an experienced wildlife control service. These professionals have the knowledge to adequately address the issue and remove the guesswork that can come with attempting to remove them. They can choose the best strategies and products to ensure that possums are kept away and will guarantee the job is done quickly and efficiently. Seek out their services and have confidence that your possum problems will be solved promptly.

4. Proper House Management: 

Possums enter homes searching for food sources, such as fruits, vegetables, small animals, and animal remains. Removing potential food sources and nesting areas, such as stacks of firewood, cluttered garages, and other regions where possums could find shelter, is essential to prevent possums from invading your home.


Possums do not pose a significant risk of carrying and transmitting rabies to humans. Despite their association with the disease in popular culture, possums have a naturally low body temperature, which makes it difficult for the rabies virus to survive and replicate within their bodies. Additionally, possums have a unique immune response that helps them resist the virus. While it is always important to exercise caution around wildlife and avoid direct contact, the likelihood of contracting rabies from a possum is extremely rare.

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