Predator Vs. Prey: Coyote vs. Opossum

By illustrated by David Besenger | November 1, 2016
From Xplor: November/December 2016

The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight!

Fitter Fighter

At 18–30 pounds, most coyotes weigh about twice as much as most opossums.

Sharp Senses

Sensitive hearing, keen eyesight, and a great sense of smell help the coyote find prey — and avoid scarfing down things that could make it sick.

Smells Like Death

Anal glands emit green mucus that can discourage predators like the coyote from chowing down while the opossum is out cold.

Plays Possum

Why do opossums play dead? They can’t help it. Fright makes them faint until the threat passes.

Plan B: Sharp Teeth

If the coyote still threatens when the opossum wakes up, the possum won’t hesitate to hiss, lunge, and show its teeth.

and the winner is…

Kind of a toss-up this time. If the coyote is really hungry, it might tear into the opossum. If it has eaten recently, it might pass up such a stinky, snarly snack.

And More...

This Issue's Staff

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White