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Fact Fact: Virginia Opossums

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

Opossums are well-known for their habit of playing dead, and it’s a pretty good act. When they are threatened by predators, they first growl and hiss and will bare their teeth. If this doesn’t drive the danger away, they will play dead and lie motionless with their teeth bared for anywhere from several minutes to several hours.

This potentially life-saving act isn’t something they have any control over, however. It’s an automatic physiological response and they have no way to prevent it from happening. You could compare it to fainting in humans, something we have no control over.

A Virginia opossum with its joeys. (Photo via Shutterstock)


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