Difference Between Possum and Raccoon

Possums and raccoons are frequently mistaken for one another. Both these pests are known to scavenge for food in your backyard. Their similar physical characteristics also may be the reason why both are confused for the other. These pests carry disease-spreading germs and hence should be kept away from human habitat. This blog will decode the difference between possums and raccoons. 

Physical attributes

Racoons usually weigh 7-35 pounds and have a foxtail face. Their tails are bushy, and thin. The tail is ringed and also has black and grey stripes. The fur of raccoons is white and they have black patches near their eyes that look like a mask. Even though raccoons have a keen sense of smell and a wide range of hearing, they are colour-blind. Raccoons have extremely sensitive front paws. They use the paws for climbing trees, opening things, swimming, scratching etc.

Possums are around 10 pounds. They have a face that is lighter in colour and a whitish-grey fur covering the entire body. These pests have a nose that is pink narrow and small. They have a prehensile and hairless tail. Possums have larger eyes. They have sharp claws which help them navigate and climb across trees. 


Raccoons are well adjusted to live in urban spaces, deciduous and mixed forests, mountainous regions, farmlands etc. They usually occupy abandoned mines and buildings, chimneys and attics, burrows made by groundhogs and drains carrying runoff rainwater. Racoons prefer living in areas that are moist and wooded. These pests also can make their own nests inside hollow wood.

Possums are largely found in areas occupied by humans such as suburbs, towns and cities. They prefer areas that are dry, secure and comfortable. 


Racoons live on a diet of nuts, berries, frogs, rabbits, small mammals, fish, birds and turtles. They forage through garbage and can use their paws to open cans, lids and doors. 

Possums are known to hunt smaller animals and insects including cockroaches, slugs, spiders, fruits, and plants and rotting dead bodies of animals.  


Raccoons are nocturnal creatures, however you may find them in the outdoors looking for potential food sources. These creatures may also bite or scratch if attacked by humans. They are also notorious to be violent around humans. 

Possums are nocturnal too but they can remain active in the day if they are out hunting for food. They may not attack you but may play dead if attacked. They also may give out an unpleasant smell to put off their predators. 

Reproductive ability

Raccoons are mammals that reproduce and give birth to offspring known as baby raccoons. The gestation period of this mammal is 63-65 days. A female raccoon can give birth to 1-7 young raccoons in a year.

Possums are marsupials and their young ones live in their pouch after birth for proper development for 4 months. The gestation period of this marsupial is somewhere around 16-18 days. Possum females give birth to 1/2 offspring in a year.


Raccoons are originally from South and North America, and parts of Europe. It belongs to the Procyonidae family.

Possums have Australasian origins and belongs to the Didelphidae family. 


Raccoons can live up to 2-3 years.

Possums can easily live up to a period of 15 years.

Keep possums and raccoons away with these tips:

Possums and raccoons are drawn to human shelters due to the availability of food and shelter. These pests can be kept away from your place when they do not get any of these in your home:

  • Possums and raccoons eat anything. So you need to secure your trash cans and compost bins firmly. If possible use containers that are animal-proof. 
  • Pick up rotten and fallen fruit from the ground. 
  • Get your pets inside at night. Keep their food on the indoors so that the possums and raccoons do not end up feasting on it. These pests consume food and water from your pet’s bowls and can risk passing on diseases to your pets. 
  • Hang bird feeders at a height so that the possums and raccoons are unable to reach them. 
  • Remove every source of standing water so that these pests cannot get any kind of moisture from your property. 
  • Eliminate dead leaf litter, trees, undergrowth and bushes so these creatures do not get any scope to hide or breed in. 

Possums and raccoons are both nuisance pests. They can cause a lot of damage in the attics and homes when they enter inside in search of food. You should consult a professional pest control service provider whenever you suspect a possum or raccoon colony living in your premises. Professional pest controllers will be able to locate them and release them somewhere far from your property. They will also pest-proof your property to prevent these animals from re-entering inside.

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