Virginia Opossum Growling And Showing Aggression

Opossum Teeth: What You Need to Know

Possums are fascinating creatures as they are the only marsupials in North America. This means they carry their babies in a pouch, like kangaroos. One of the most exciting things about opossums is their teeth.

Amazingly, opossums have 50 teeth – more than any other land mammal. They’ve got four kinds in their mouths: incisors for gripping and tearing, canine fangs, molars to crush food with, and pre-molars ready for slicing it up.

In this guide, we’ll dive into the teeth of opossums – a species that boasts an impressive number and variety. You may not know it, but these incredible creatures use their dental structure in all sorts of ways. From eating hard-to-crack foods to defending themselves against predators. Get ready for some jaw-dropping facts about opossum teeth.

Key Pest Points:

• Opossums have 50 teeth, more than any other land mammal.

• They have four kinds of teeth in their mouths: incisors, canine fangs, molars, and pre-molars.

• Their jaws are powerful enough to crack open nutshells and other hard foods.

How do Opossums Use Their Teeth for Survival?

Opossums have a variety of uses for their teeth, which helps them survive in the wild.

  • Their teeth help them tear apart prey or crush tough nuts and seeds.
  • They also use their front incisors to pick up small insects accurately and precisely.
  • Opossum teeth are used to defend themselves against predators. Their large canine teeth can cause a nasty bite, which helps ward off potential threats.
  • Their sharp and pointed pre-molars allow them to dig into the flesh to fend off an attacker.

These are just a few of the ways opossums use their teeth for survival. It’s incredible to think that such small creatures have evolved to use specialized dental structures to thrive in their environment.

Yawning Baby possum playing in flowerbed showing all his teeth.

The Different Types of Possum Teeth

Opossums have four different types of teeth in their mouths: incisors, canines, molars, and pre-molars. Let’s look at each type in more detail:

  • Incisors: Also known as “front teeth,” incisors are the sharpest and most pointed out of all the other types of possum teeth. They are used for picking up food or other small objects.
  • Canines: These sharp teeth, also called “fangs,” are used for biting and tearing into flesh. They can also be used for self-defense.
  • Molars: Found in the back of the mouth, molars are wider and flatter than incisors and canines. They’re used for crushing and grinding food and providing stability when an opossum moves its jaw.
  • Pre-Molars: These short, sharp teeth are located just behind the molars. They help cut their food and act as an extra defense against predators.

These teeth help opossums survive in their environment. They are essential to their diet, as well as providing protection when they need it.

How Does an Opossum’s Diet Influence the Strength of its Teeth?

Since opossums are omnivores, they have to be able to eat a wide range of foods. Their teeth must be strong enough to handle different food textures and hardness.

For an opossum’s teeth to remain healthy and strong, they must maintain a balanced diet. So, they should be eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and even small animals like insects. Their diet helps keep their teeth in good shape by providing the proper nutrients and minerals.

Overall, opossums have impressive teeth that allow them to survive in the wild. Their teeth structure helps them eat different kinds of food, defend themselves from predators, and even pick up small objects. Maintaining a balanced diet can also ensure that their teeth stay strong and healthy.

Common dental problems experienced by opossums 

Despite having such a specialized set of teeth, opossums can still experience common dental issues. These include periodontal disease (caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar), fractured or broken teeth, and even abscesses caused by infections.

Wild opossums face a unique challenge – they can’t just run to the dentist when their teeth hurt. Improper dental care can cause serious ailments, so we must be mindful of how we interact with these creatures. Even something as simple as feeding them could lead to issues if not done in moderation or safely.

Opossum with its mouth slightly open building its nests with dry leaves,living alone.

How to Prevent Opossums from Developing Dental Problems

The best way to prevent opossums from developing dental problems is by:

  • Not feeding them. Although it can be tempting to give a wild animal some food, this can lead to nutritional imbalances that can cause gum disease.
  • Avoid contact with opossums and their dens, which can cause stress and increase their risk of developing dental issues.

If you see an opossum hanging around your house, don’t panic. Report it to the local wildlife center or animal control agency. They can ensure that it’s taken care of and help keep track of their population in the area.

Ways to Prevent Possums From Living in Your Home

Possums are nocturnal animals known to be quite destructive when they decide to make their home in your home. To prevent possums from living in your space, there are some things you can do:

1. Seal up any entry points to your home: Possums can squeeze through the smallest openings, so sealing up any cracks or holes in your walls or foundation is important. Use caulk or expanding foam to fill in any gaps you find.

2. Keep your yard tidy: Possums are attracted to cluttered areas and piles of leaves or debris, so keep your yard clean and tidy. Also, keep any trash or compost bins secured and away from your home.

3. Use deterrents: Natural repellents can be a great way to keep possums away. One effective method is to soak rags in ammonia and place them in and around the areas where possums are known to frequent.

4. Use motion-activated sprinklers: Another effective way to deter possums is to install motion-activated sprinklers. This will startle them and cause them to flee the area.

5. Call a professional: If you’ve already tried everything and possums are still invading your home, it’s time to call a professional. An experienced wildlife removal expert knows how to safely and efficiently remove possums through trapping while ensuring no harm comes to them.

Remember, it’s important to be proactive in preventing possums from entering your space to avoid bigger problems down the road. Even though they are generally harmless, possums still have the potential to be dangerous, cause damage and transmit diseases if not managed properly.


Now that you know more about opossums teeth, here are some frequently asked questions:

How many teeth do possums have?

Possums have 50 teeth, all of which are specialized for their omnivorous diet and safety. 

How strong is a possum bite?

Possums have impressive teeth—their bite strength clocks in at a remarkable 45 pounds per square inch.

What to do if a possum bites you?

If you get bitten by a possum, seek medical assistance straight away. Not only can possum bites be painful, but they can also transmit dangerous diseases. And remember to alert animal control or your local wildlife center about the incident.

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