Possums are nocturnal, so they’re only active during the night. They spend the day sleeping, mainly in tree hollows or dreys (nesting made of sticks and leaves) in trees or on the ground. They also sleep in nooks, crevices and caves. Some possums make dens in buildings, or even attics! They’re often found under the roots of eucalyptus trees, as well. This habitat provides them with shelter and protection from predators.
Possums have a great deal of climbing ability, and use their tails to help them climb. Their tails are prehensile, meaning they can grasp branches and other objects with them. The ringtail possum, which is found in southern Australia and New Zealand, builds its nests from sticks and bark, called dreys, that can be up to 4 metres off the ground in trees. These dreys provide the possum with security and insulation against the elements.
In addition to the nests in trees, possums can find their way into burrows and sheds. They often use these places as a refuge from predators, and to keep warm during the winter. They may line their dens with grass and leaves, or even use garbage!
Despite their size, possums are not very social. They tend to be solitary, except during the mating season. If a possum sees another, it will advertise its territory with a hiss, and may nudge or swipe at the other possum.
Possums are not kept as pets, as they can be quite destructive. They can also be prone to bone disease and other health conditions, especially as they are used to eating foods that would not be available in the wild.