Why is there a dead possum in my yard?

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Possums are not harmful to humans, but still, you cannot ignore their presence in your surroundings. Many people complain that why is there a dead possum in my yard, etc. Well, the reason behind this could be not just one.

In this article, you will learn what to do when you find a dead possum in your yard. However, we will first start by learning why do they come into your yard, and how to confirm if the possum is dead or not. If you know these two, they will help you prevent this problem, and allow you to deal with it quite easily.

Why do they come?

Some people think that the dead possum in the yard has spiritual meaning. Well, this claim does not have any backing so we cannot say that it is there for such reasons.

However, the fact that is true about their presence in your yard is their search for food. They come out of their habitat at night to find out food. If they fail to find it, and it is daylight, they pretend to be dead. This is their defense against any attack.

This means that you should not attack them without confirming that they are actually dead. This is why always try to contact the rehabilitation centers because their teams know how to find out the reality.

If they are actually dead, hunger must be the prime reason. Other than this, it is possible that some scavengers might attack them at night.

How do you know it’s dead?

It is quite a task to find out of the possum is dead or alive. Well, you should consult the wildlife rehabilitation center for the services. But if the possum is there for long hours, there is no such service nearby, then you have to act.

Usually, when the possum sees a threat in their surroundings, they turn themselves static. This means they stop moving altogether. This is done by them to make sure that the threat does not detect them. They can, in this way, avoid the potentially deadly threat from the scavengers. Due to this action, they are either not detected or the threat feels as if they are dead.

Now the possum is so good at doing this pose that they actually look like a dead animal.

When you ask why is there a dead possum in my yard, never consider it dead. It is possible that they are just playing dead. It could be either in response to the threat in surroundings, or the daylight which makes them inactive.

In such a situation, never trust the smell that they produce because when they pretend, they actually smell like a dead possum. So, here are two ways how to tell if the opossum is actually dead: These are as follows:

  • Check if the possum is breathing or not.
  • Check the body temperature, cold or warm.

Warm and Breathing

If you find out that the body is warm and the possum is breathing, then wait for a few hours. It can sustain the comatose condition for a few hours only, so probably it will start moving soon. Also, its ear will start to move because they have an involuntary muscle reaction.

Make sure that you wear gloves while doing it because you are not still sure about them being alive or dead.

Cold and Not Breathing

This is a sure indication that the animal is dead. Just like other dead beings, the body of possums also turns cold when they die. Also, no detection of breathing activity is also a surety that the animal is no more alive.

Even if this is the situation, please stay away from it and move it with gloves on your hands. You should not try to bury, burn, or kill it before the arrival of the wildlife rehabilitation team.

What to do?

Well, there are basically two main things that you could do when you find out a dead possum in your yard. Let us discuss and find out what you can practically do about this kind of situation.

Take It Outside Your House

First of all, you have to take it out of your house. Do it immediately after you are sure that it is in dead condition. Their dead bodies can spread infectious bacteria that are harmful not only for humans but also for plants in the yard.

Humans can get infectious diseases like a myth, so you have to be very careful during dead possum removal. You must wear gloves so that the chances of disease transfer are negligible. You should keep it away from the house because they might have fleas and ticks on their bodies. This is extremely unhygienic, so try to put them in a bag with a zip-lock. The purpose is to ensure no direct contact with the skin or any other surface once you take it out from the place of death.

Call Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

After taking them outside, call the wildlife rehabilitation center. They will come and pick up the body of the possum. They have all the required tools to take them away. They will throw it at a safer place where there is no chance of them spreading the infections and diseases.

Other than this, they also clean up the surface in your house where the possum was found dead. The dead possum smells really bad especially when they are there for a long time. The rehabilitation service providers will also help in removing that too.

Important Note

There are so many things that you have to keep in mind while dealing with a possum that you find out in your yard. Keep in mind that these animals are part of the food chain and overall ecosystem, so letting them die or kill them is not a good option.

So, when you find them in your yard, you should always keep the following points in mind:

  • Do not ever try to bury them because if the animal is alive, it is a very unfair action.
  • Never kill them because you can get rid of them without doing it if they are actually alive.
  • Avoid burning them because this is very painful if the animal is alive.

These three points are extremely important to not do especially before the arrival of rehabilitation service providers. First, let them declare that the possum is dead because oftentimes they look like or act like they are dead. However, in reality, they are alive and might be in deep sleep. Also, doing any of the above can increase the spread of infections, diseases, fleas, and ticks. So, avoid any such action that may lead to pain or harm for the animal.


The above discussion answers the most frequently asked question that why is there a dead possum in my yard, and what to do when you find a dead possum. There is no rocket science in dealing with them, but only a few measures can help you do it fast and safely. You can get into such a situation at any time, so having the right knowledge in advance will allow you to act immediately.

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