Do possums scream at night?

Answered by Tom Adger

Possums do make noises at night, but it is important to note that they do not scream in the same way that humans or some other animals do. However, they do produce a range of vocalizations that can sound quite alarming to humans who are not familiar with them.

One common noise that possums make at night is a screech or hiss. This can occur when they feel threatened or are trying to defend themselves. It is a high-pitched, sharp sound that can be quite startling. It is often a sign that the possum is feeling stressed or agitated.

In addition to screeching, possums can also make grunting or growling noises. These sounds are often associated with aggression or territorial behavior. When two possums encounter each other, they may engage in vocal battles, using these grunts and growls to establish dominance or defend their territory.

Another noise that possums make is a chattering sound. This is often heard when a mother possum is communicating with her dependent juveniles. It is a softer, chattering noise that is used to signal and communicate with her young. It is a comforting sound that helps to keep the juveniles close and in contact with their mother.

Male possums also make distinct noises when they are courting a female. They may produce a sound known as a “shook-shook”, which is a series of rapid, clicking noises. This is a way for the male to attract the attention of a female and indicate his interest in mating.

It is important to understand that these noises are a normal part of possum behavior and are not necessarily a cause for concern. Possums are mostly solitary animals and tend to make these noises primarily when they encounter other possums. They are generally not aggressive towards humans and will typically avoid confrontation if possible.

In my personal experience as an animal expert, I have encountered possums making a range of these noises at night. It can be quite surprising to hear their screeches or growls, especially if you are not familiar with their vocalizations. However, once you understand that these sounds are a normal part of their behavior, it becomes easier to coexist with them.

To summarize, possums do not scream at night, but they do make a variety of noises including screeches, grunts, growls, hisses, chatters, and clicked or shook-shook sounds. These vocalizations serve different purposes such as signaling aggression, defending territory, communicating with dependent juveniles, and courting a mate. Understanding these sounds can help to better understand possum behavior and coexist with them peacefully.