Can Opossums Climb?

If you have a problem with opossums, chances are you want to know a little bit more about exactly what these animals are capable of.  Opossums are relatively mysterious creatures to many, until they invade your own property or home.  But even by simply having a general pop-culture type knowledge of opossums probably means you’ve seen them hanging upside down by their incredible prehensile tails, showing that they absolutely have an incredible climbing ability.

Tails And Feet

While you may have seen images of opossums hanging upside down, chances are you don’t know exactly how good at climbing these animals really are.   With strong feet and a tail that accounts for just under half their total body length, they are able to climb all kinds of surfaces extremely effectively.  They have even been known to climb up one object only to jump across to another, allowing them access to nearly every inch of your house if they somehow gain access.


Opossum tails are incredibly interesting. Their flexibility and strength allows these animals to easily support their own body weight in order to do things like hang from branches, carry objects, and help stabilize the opossum as it climbs.  It essentially serves as a fifth limb, aiding even further to their already impressive ability to climb. 


Like their tails, the digits on an opossum’s feet are perfectly adapted for climbing and hanging on many different surfaces.  These creatures have big toes that are opposable, like the human thumb, allowing them to grip objects other animals would have no chance of grasping.  Unlike humans, opossums have these digits on both their front and rear feet, giving them an even greater advantage when trying to climb everything from the sycamore tree in your backyard to the inside of the walls of your house.


Climbing Skills

While opossums may seem like a threat only to your deck or front porch, their climbing ability allows them to access literally any part of your house they can climb to.  Their ability to jump from one surface to another in midair is relatively unique, allowing them even more access to your property.  And, as if all that wasn’t enough, opossums are known to have the ability to climb surfaces as smooth as concrete walls and fences, meaning the methods you may have been able to stop other pests with simply won’t work on these pesky critters.  

In Your House

Fortunately, there are solutions to this problem.  In addition to calling some kind of wildlife expert in your area to ask questions and get advice, placing sheet metal or another extremely smooth surface around the bottom of trees near your house could prevent an opossum from climbing the tree, jumping from the tree to your house, and continuing into your upper floors or attic.  Similar solutions could be applied to the lower part of your house if these creatures keep bothering you. Just know that opossums have uncanny climbing abilities and can get into many more places than you may initially think.