eli5: What exactly happens when animals (for example opossums) play dead? Are they aware of their surroundings during this time and how long does it last?

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eli5: What exactly happens when animals (for example opossums) play dead? Are they aware of their surroundings during this time and how long does it last?

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Anonymous 0 Comments

For Opposums specifically, they actually just do that as a fear response IIRC, so the idea is that the predator (on seeing that their living prey is no longer living) will abandon their hunt (which, to the Oppossum’s benefit, is how certain bears and cats at least would respond).

I do not believe they are aware of their surroundings since they pass out or something and I am unsure how long it lasts: I want to say a few minutes but that’s probably like nearer to the shortest amount of time possible than the average.

Anonymous 0 Comments

For Opposums specifically, they actually just do that as a fear response IIRC, so the idea is that the predator (on seeing that their living prey is no longer living) will abandon their hunt (which, to the Oppossum’s benefit, is how certain bears and cats at least would respond).

I do not believe they are aware of their surroundings since they pass out or something and I am unsure how long it lasts: I want to say a few minutes but that’s probably like nearer to the shortest amount of time possible than the average.

Anonymous 0 Comments

For Opposums specifically, they actually just do that as a fear response IIRC, so the idea is that the predator (on seeing that their living prey is no longer living) will abandon their hunt (which, to the Oppossum’s benefit, is how certain bears and cats at least would respond).

I do not believe they are aware of their surroundings since they pass out or something and I am unsure how long it lasts: I want to say a few minutes but that’s probably like nearer to the shortest amount of time possible than the average.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Rotting meat is deadly and eating it is a good way to get seriously sick. So a lot of predators aren’t willing to eat a random corpse unless they are the one who killed it.

So by “playing dead” (this often includes releasing a scent similar to that of decay and rotten meat) you can fool a predator into leaving you alone.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Rotting meat is deadly and eating it is a good way to get seriously sick. So a lot of predators aren’t willing to eat a random corpse unless they are the one who killed it.

So by “playing dead” (this often includes releasing a scent similar to that of decay and rotten meat) you can fool a predator into leaving you alone.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Rotting meat is deadly and eating it is a good way to get seriously sick. So a lot of predators aren’t willing to eat a random corpse unless they are the one who killed it.

So by “playing dead” (this often includes releasing a scent similar to that of decay and rotten meat) you can fool a predator into leaving you alone.