We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a New Zealand Possum?

Mary McMahon
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The term “New Zealand possum” is sometimes used in the United States to differentiate between American opossums, family Didelphidae and Australian and New Zealand possums, in the family Phalangeroidea. The two marsupial families are related; New Zealand and Australian possums are known as possums because they resemble their American cousins. Both families raise their young in pouches for the first four to six months of their lives before introducing them to the outside world, and can be frightening to encounter in the middle of the night, as they will hiss ferociously to defend their territory.

Some observers find New Zealand possums very cute, with their large ears, bold eyes, and big bushy tails. However, possums also have sharp claws and teeth, and can hold their own in combat. They also carry a distinctive odor, thanks to musk glands located behind their ears, and can sometimes be smelled before they are seen. Possums like to nest in warm, insulated placed like barns and old logs, and will avoid coldness and damp if they possibly can.

While American opossums are generally linked with road kill, New Zealand possums are considered to be insidious pests, and numerous efforts have been undertaken by the government and conservation agencies to eradicate them. New Zealand possums are a non-native species, and because of their voracious appetites and high rate of reproduction, they do serious damage to native flora and fauna. Originally imported in 1837 from Australia to start up a fur industry, the possums quickly ran wild and began to wreak havoc; there are an estimated 70 million New Zealand possums munching their way through native plants today.

The possum is native to Australia, where it has found an evolutionary niche. Many Australian plants have developed offenses to protect from possums, including bitter leaves and sharp spines. In New Zealand, most plants are both tasty and defenseless, and possums will keep returning to the same tree until it ceases to produce edible leaves, eating it to death. Because the possum has no natural predators and abundant food sources, it has devastated New Zealand's native plants and animals, leaving conservationists with a serious problem. In addition to killing plants and trees, which undermines food sources and habitat for native species, possums also carry bovine tuberculosis, which can infect domestic livestock as well as deer.

In addition to trying to control the New Zealand possum with birth control and poison, they are also hunted for their soft, luxurious fur. Possum fur products are a major export of New Zealand, and several trade organizations promote New Zealand possum products overseas. If consumers must have garments with animal products in them, New Zealand possum fur is a good choice, because the animals are trapped rather than farmed, and by purchasing New Zealand possum fur, consumers are also helping to preserve New Zealand's natural environment and rich biological heritage.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All Things Nature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon212061 — On Sep 05, 2011

I've got one of the things under my floor in my room and it's been continuously hissing since a day ago. Any ideas how to get rid of it?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.