Wild Wednesday: Play possum and think twice before tossing that french fry out the window

Jay Coles from the Carolina Wildlife Center shared some fun opossum facts with Tyler Ryan

COLUMBIA SC (WOLO) — According to Jay Coles, the Executive Director of the Carolina Wildlife Center, the Opossum or simply “possum” are nocturnal animals very prominently found in South Carolina.  Coles points out that very often, possums are seen while driving, and very often, their timing isn’t the best when it comes to passing cars, as it is not unusual to see them after having been hit at night.

Coles says that the opossum are generally gentle creatures, what won’t be aggressive toward people or other animals, unless backed in a corner.  He also explains the phrase “playing possum,” saying that when faced with a predictor, a possum will become catatonic and play “dead.”  Coles says this discourages the predictor, as they like to hunt their prey, not just eat it.

Did you know that the opossum is the only marsupial indigenous to the United States.  Additionally, it is the opossum that all other marsupials come from, according to Coles.

Coles explains why there are often so many possums left as roadkill on an average evening.

“Tossing food out the window of a car sets in motion a series of events that can lead to the possum’s on the business end of a passing vehicle,” says Coles.

Although there isn’t anything “wrong” with tossing food out of a car, it often lands on the road, which then attracts animals who are looking to score an easy snack.  When a car comes around a corner, by the time the driver and the diner see each other, it is often too late.


The Carolina Wildlife Center is a non-profit organization based in Columbia, that takes in injured wild animals, nursing them back to health, and eventually returning them back into the wild.  You can find more info HERE.