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How to Dispose of a Dead Possum

Despite looking like rodents, possums or opossums are actually the only marsupials in North America. They are related to kangaroos and koalas, and their infants live in the mothers' pouches while nursing. Possums are slow and can't outrun predators. Instead of running away, possums pretend to be dead when threatened.

A seemingly dead possum may revive in a few minutes or a few hours.

Tip

Depending on where you live, your local animal control authority may dispose of the dead possum upon request. If you have dogs, place them inside the house while you wait to see if the possum will revive. Dogs may attack possums.

Warning

Don't touch a dead possum or any other dead wild animal if you have an open cut on your hand because it increases the risk of disease transmission.

They roll over, become still, drool and breathe very slowly. As such, you should always make sure that a possum is indeed dead before you dispose of it.

  1. Leave the possum for about four hours. Possums usually pretend to be dead for only up to four hours. When they revive, they wiggle their ears and then start moving.

  2. Approach the possum if it doesn't move after four hours. Check the pouch for any live young possums if the dead possum is female. Wrap any young possums in a soft towel. Contact a local wildlife rehabilitator and surrender the young possums.

  3. Wear a pair of disposable plastic or rubber gloves to prevent direct skin contact with the dead possum. The possum may carry a disease and the gloves serve as a protective barrier.

  4. Place the dead possum in a plastic garbage bag and tie the bag tightly.

  5. Place the plastic bag in a garbage can with a lid. Alternatively, place it in a cardboard box and tape the box shut. Keeping the carcass in a closed container prevents scavengers from getting to it and breaking the plastic bag.

  6. Put the garbage can or the box at the curb for trash pickup.

  7. Throw away the gloves and wash your hands with soap and water.