If you’ve ever been camping, then you have probably heard some noises in the middle of the night and wondered what it might be. Opossums are primarily nocturnal, so if you were to hear one, it would most likely be during the night.
Although opossums are mostly quiet animals, they make a variety of sounds such as hisses and low growls when they are upset, and clicking sounds, when they are communicating with a mate or with their young. You would have to be very close to an opossum to actually hear the sounds it is making.
In the wild, opossums try to avoid humans. Although, there are some cases where they will venture close to an urban area. Chances are if an opossum visited your property, they would only be there to find some kind of food scraps.
They would most likely go through your garbage and then leave quietly, like a thief in the night. If you startle an opossum, however, it may hiss at you, or even growl.
What Sounds Does an Opossum Make?
Let’s take a look at the individual sounds an opossum makes, and why they make them at certain times. They can be somewhat social when they are in their natural environment.
- Low growl
Opossums have a low growl. They do this when they feel threatened or angry. If you come across a growling opossum keep your distance.
Opossum hissing noises happen when the opossum is angry. They do this to let other opossums or other creatures know that they are upset.
Opossum clicking noises happen when an opossum communicates with a mate or with babies. They click during times of affection.
Opossum screeching sounds can be for a number of different reasons. They might screech when they are startled, or when they are surprised.
Opossum sneezing is the type of noise that opossum babies make. This is a form of communication between opossum babies and the mother.
See our article for Opossum Babies
Opossum Sounds Example Video
Opossum Sounds at Night
Opossums are usually most active during the night. They are nocturnal by nature, however, they can also be crepuscular. When there is a group or family of opossums all together, they make more noise than just one opossum.
You may hear them in the night, rustling around outside, screeching and communicating with each other. Sometimes they can be seen as vermin, because if they make their nest in your home or on hour property, they may multiply their numbers and become a pest.
If they are loud enough that you are able to hear them, then chances are there is more than just one opossum.
See our article for Are Opossums Nocturnal
American Opossum Vs Australian Possum Sounds
Did you know the American opossum is different than the Australian opossum? It’s true. While American opossums are quite often called possums, a true possum is native to Australia. They are still both marsupials, and they have a lot in common, including the sounds that they make.
Just like with the North American opossums, Australian possums grunt, growl, hiss, click, and more. Even though these two marsupials have a lot in common, they also have quite a few differences, due to living in very different regions.
See our article for Opossum Vs Possum
Do Opossums Sound Like Humans
Some people may hear the sounds that an opossum makes and confuse them with some kind of human communication. Not many animals in the wild make clicking noises, so this can sometimes throw a person off. Opossums click their teeth to make the clicking sound. Source.
Usually, the low growls give it away that it is an opossum sound, not a human sound. I doubt that anyone who heard a group of opossums would think, hey that must be the neighbors talking.
It’s important to observe sounds in nature, it can tell you so much about the types of animals that live in your area, when they are active, and more.
How do you know if an Opossum is in your House?
There are several signs you can look for to figure out if you have an opossum in your house. Opossums have nests, so you may be able to find a nest. Interestingly, opossums do not make their own nests, they steal them from other animals, or from abandoned dens.
There is a chance that an opossum may have taken shelter in part of your home and could have even used an item from your home as a nest. Look for scratch marks, a possible nest, and feces. If an opossum is held up on your property, you may be able to find their latrine area.
Opossum Mating Call
The opossum makes a wide variety of noises when it communicates. These noises can have many meanings, depending on the situation. When it comes to mating, opossums use a few of their different communication techniques before mating, and during.
When an opossum is looking for a mate or communicating with a mate, they use a series of clicking sounds and hissing sounds. These could be considered mating calls. If you hear these noises in your home, then that could be a sign that you have opossums multiplying on your property.
Why Do Opossums Scream?
Opossums make screaming and screeching noises. Usually, they scream or screech when they are in distress, or when they are mating. They may also make screaming noises when they are angry. So if you see an opossum in the woods and he screams at you, you have probably upset him and should leave him be.
Most animals are very limited in their vocal communication, which makes the way opossums communicate unique. They have more than just a bark or a growl, they know how to click to get their babies’ attention, and they can be moody, and tell the world to shove it.
Love animals as much as we do? Check out How Long Can Turtles Go Without Eating
What time of night do opossums come out?
Opossums usually come out just after or before twilight hours, however, they have also been known to be seen in the daytime. They are most active when the prey that they hunt is most active.
What does a baby opossum sound like?
Baby opossums squeal and make sneezing noises when they are communicating with each other. They usually cry out to their mother, to let her know they are hungry or need something else.