The Top 8 Reasons You Need a Possum Mentality to Survive What’s Coming

by Todd Walker

Top 8 Reasons a Possum Mentality Helps You Survive

When times are good, abundance flows like sweet treats from Willie Wonka’s Chocolate factory. Thinking that this river of abundance will never dry up is, as Willie Wonka sang, Pure Imagination.

Entire nations have experience hyperinflation, sever shortages, and even collapse. In every crisis (personal, local, or national), we all need to adopt a Possum Mentality when things go south.

I know the animal’s official name is opossum, but possum just rolls off my southern tongue with ease.

It doesn’t matter if you’re so broke that you can’t pay attention, middle class, or living in luxury’s lap, you too can learn from North America’s only marsupial.

Both of my parents passed down the possum mentality to me and my siblings. They taught us to figure out a way to get the job done with whatever resources were available.

My mom was raised in a two bedroom house with 9 siblings. They raised their own food. Clothing and shoes were passed down and worn out. Papa V (my grandfather) drove from Texas to Georgia with a milk cow in the back seat of his car. He made a cow diaper from a burlap feed sack to get the bovine home. Now that’s resourceful – I don’t care where you’re from! Got milk?

In honor of my parents – and all our past generations that survived and thrived by adopting a possum mentality – here are my top 8 reasons you need a Possum Mentality…

# EIGHT – Live anywhere

The Possum: They prefer woodlands, but, as many urban dwellers are intimately aware, these critters are frequent raiders of city trash cans and dumpsters.

Possum Mentality Development

  • Having the ability to live in urban or rural farmland and all places in between.
  • Adapt to any surroundings.
  • Reuse unconventional dwellings – barn, shed, earth home, cave, hay bale home, etc.
  • Be willing to relocate if necessary for better opportunities and resources.

# SEVEN –  Picky eaters starve

Possums are anti-picky eaters. They’re not the fastest animal in the woods so they forage on anything they can catch. Their appetite for calcium is met through crunching on the bones of carrion. And yes, I’ve eaten road kill before. Other items on their menu include: snakes, bugs, and slugs.

Possum Mentality Development

  • Correctly identify and eat wild foraged food.
  • Cultivate your gardening skills now before you’re life depends on your green thumb.
  • Backyard chickens are growing in popularity – get some.
  • Eat offal – you know, the organs of animals – an overlooked nutrient dense meat by most moderns.
  • Don’t forget to eat the bone marrow. Try it roasted!
  • Develop cooking skills and recipes to use what’s available.
  • Learn what bugs and insects are edible – just in case.

# SIX – Not easily poisoned

The Possum: Resistant to poisonous snake venom. For those of you afraid of snakes, you might want to reconsider running possums out of the yard. They eat these slithers. Possums are also immune to rabies for the most part.

Possum Mentality Development

While we humans don’t posses these super-possum immunity traits, we can avoid poisonous stuff and trauma.

  • Avoid harmful chemicals in our food.
  • Don’t do stupid stuff depicted on most “reality” survival shows. Walking around naked in a jungle with minimal equipment is my idea of stupid. Same goes for typical Bear Grylls stunts.
  • Use your 5 senses to observe and respond to surrounding. Follow your 6th sense (gut feeling) when all else fails.

# FIVE – Intelligence and skills

The Possum: They may look dumb but North America’s only marsupial is smarter than you might think. They have the ability to remember food locations better than rats – even better than your average house pet. A possum can out maneuvered rats and cats in a maze too.

Possum Mentality Development

  • Exercise your cognitive skills regularly.
  • Knowledge weighs nothing, but Doing the Stuff with your survival smarts is invaluable.
  • Greasing the groove (repeated practice) cuts deep ruts in our limbic system (non-verbal part of our brain) and reduces reaction time in stressful situations. Your survival skills become almost automatic. Repetition is the mother of all learning.
  • Play ‘what if’ scenarios in your mind and then practice your response in a controlled environment.
  • Read, write, and create stuff. Your brain will thank you.
  • The less you know, the more stuff you need.

# FOUR – Resourceful Scavenger

The Possum: Being resourceful is woven throughout this critter’s characteristics. They save calorie resources by not digging dens for themselves. They find abandoned ground shelters of other animals and set up house. They’ve even been found nesting in squirrel nests in trees.

Possum Mentality Development

I can’t pass up a scrap metal heap without rummaging for reusable high-carbon steel. A pile of pallets equals usable wood for homesteading projects. I hoard containers too.

  • Learn the characteristics of trees in your area for tool handles, log cabin building, bow making, arrow shafts, furniture, and medicinal purposes.
  • Find alternative uses for items outside their intended purpose.
  • Map fresh water sources in your locale – and hidden sources in your house.
  • Budget money and resources with a possum mentality.
  • Unlike possums, humans are pack animals. Build tribe and local community. Neighbors matter.
The Top 8 Reasons You Need a Possum Mentality to Survive What's Coming

Possum mentality built DRG’s garden fence from pallets, old doors, and windows

# THREE – Physical Ability

Climbing, swimming, hanging. You don’t have an opposable thumb as a big toe or a long, hairless tail like the possum. These appendages are unique to this animal which they use for doing what possums do. Children’s books wrongly depict adult possums hanging from their tails while sleeping. They’re too heavy to hang that long.

Possum Mentality Development

Most of us modern humans have yet to tap into our full abilities when it comes to functional fitness. This will all change if modern conveniences disappear. You can prevent massive physical shock to your body by stressing your muscles beforehand. Be strong to be useful.

Here’s some unconventional hacks to help you make the most of your physical ability without too much pain. Fatigue makes cowards of us all.

  1. Eat smart fuel – plants and animals, including the healthy fat.
  2. Be a walker. Walk long, slow distances frequently (2-5 hours/week). This is equivalent to low-level aerobic activity our ancestors employed when hunting and gathering.
  3. Lift heavy stuff (2-3 times/week). Bodyweight exercises excel in this area; roll rocks, lift logs, toss hay bales, carry toddlers, or climb a tree. Or just hit the gym if your threshold for boredom is high.
  4. Run really fast occasionally (once every 7-10 days). Maximum intensity on foot, your bike, or in the pool swimming. The ability to move fast is tied to survival.

# TWO – Defense

The Possum: “Playing possum” is a last line of defense for our critter friend. When threatened, they attempt to escape if possible. Cornered, they’ll hiss, show all 50 of their sharp teeth, and growl.

Possum Mentality Development

  • Develop situational awareness and avoid threats when possible.
  • Improvise defensive weapons at your disposal. Here’s a peek into my teacher toolbox.
  • Acquire and become proficient with modern tools of self-defense.
  • Acquire and become proficient with primitive tools of self-defense. Options make us anti-fragile.
  • Be an opportunist.

# ONE – Adaptable

The Possum: Scientists say the possum has been around for 70 million years. Being able to adapt to changing environments and situations is a hallmark of possum living.

Possum Mentality Development

  • Stand on principles but be flexible with methods.
  • Be willing to change your strategy, mindset, and surroundings as needed.
  • Prepare to embrace the change that has to happen.

Top 8 Reasons a Possum Mentality Helps You Survive

Self-reliance skills, whether you’re in a crisis or not, are great to have in your toolbox. I’ve got a good feeling that this is a “preaching to the choir” post for our readers. If so, what did I miss? Add your thoughts on developing a possum mentality in the comments.

Oh, one last thought on possum mentality… properly prepared, they make a tasty meal.

Keep Doing the Stuff,


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Categories: Doing the Stuff, Preparedness, Self-reliance | Tags: , | 41 Comments

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41 thoughts on “The Top 8 Reasons You Need a Possum Mentality to Survive What’s Coming

  1. Have you heard of Dolly Freed’s book Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and Without (Almost) No Money? I think you might like the book.


    • I discovered Possum Living by Dolly Freed when I first retreated to the woods more than 30 years ago. I highly recommend it.


    • I’ve heard of her book but have yet to read it, Caroline. Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to check it out.

      Thanks for sharing the video link. They show that you don’t have to have 40 acres and a mule to be self-sufficient.


      • I’m in the process of reading it now. Nothing YOU don’t already know (lol) but an interesting read for cold winter evenings.


  2. Grow your own bugs:

    Although I have possums, I also have snakes, both dangerous when cornered and both eminently edible.


  3. Chewylouie

    I know about those feisty little buggers. I have had a couple of wild ones try to bite or claw at me when I got too close. They will eat just about anything (everything I put in traps). These two characteristics alone make it a great lesson.


    • They will show their teeth and make a racket. A bunch of buddies of mine were riding through a pecan orchard one night in high school joy riding when our head lights hit a possum. Everyone jumped out to get a closer look… except our driver. When we got to the possum Billy turned off the lights. Here we were encircling a possum… in the dark.

      When he hit the lights again, the critter was at Johnny’s feet showing his teeth and hissing. We bee-lined it to the jeep and let him alone. lol!


  4. One of my cats brought a baby possum in through the cat door one night, and ‘stashed’ it under my bed …for later…? Anyway…I was awoken at 2am by a baby possum crawling into bed with me! Needless to say the ole fire drill was ON!! Long story short the baby was returned to it’s nest (under my shed) VERY quickly, both of us unharmed…but I was creeped out for a while!


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  6. dymphna

    Just one thing, possums live a very short life. About two years so…


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