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A raccoon’s diet mainly consists of small invertebrates (snails, spiders, insects, etc.), plants, and fruits, but they can eat mice, rats, and squirrels. Raccoons are very messy with their food; they like to dunk their food into their water before consuming it. Also, raccoons do not truly hibernate, but they do sleep for a long amount of time during severe winter weather. Generally, raccoons sleep six to eight hours during the day and go out to roam for food at night. For shelter, a raccoon’s ideal habitat would be in heavily wooded areas with a mix of large trees and various small bodies of water. Raccoons do not construct their own dens; they rely on natural buildings and the work of other animals for homes. Despite raccoons sometimes seeming like a nuisance, they actually benefit an ecosystem by keeping a balance in species populations, and since they eat fruit at times, they spread seeds around which allows plants and fruit trees to grow.
Possums have a varying diet, ranging from eggs and grain to frogs and insects to dead animals, rodents, and birds. They will also eat dog food, cat food, and food waste from humans. Possums are also known to clean themselves of ticks, which they eat afterward. Similar to house cats, possums are usually cleaning themselves when not looking for food or eating. They simply lick themselves to stay clean.
As nocturnal animals, possums favor dark and secure areas so they can den inside caves, attics, and abandoned buildings, but usually are found in wooded areas. They will stay in one area as long as food and water are easily found. Otherwise, they are known to be nomadic. Because of their wide range in diet, they can keep populations of unwanted animals and insects, like rats, snakes, cockroaches, and slugs, in check. When threatened or harmed, possums will mimic the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal. This is an involuntary, physiological response that the possum cannot control. There are two common names for possums; “possum” and “opossum”, and technically, neither term is incorrect, but the term “opossum” is usually used in a scientific context, while the term “possum” is the usual name for the creature.