Shouldn’t More Ticks = More Opossums?


My understanding is that there’s a relationship between the food source and the number of animals that consume it, so as the food supply increases, the number of animals that consume that food also increases.

I’ve heard for years (more like decades), that “it’s a bad year for ticks” and “the number of ticks are on the rise.” Where are the opossums and other predators that eat ticks? Shouldn’t there be a ton of them by now, or are there actually just a normal amount of ticks, and my information sources are wrong (word of mouth, and tv news).

In: 0

Only if the limiting factor on population was food source as opposed to say, predation or limited habitat AND if the predator in question can reproduce quickly enough to respond to fluctuations. Predators will lag years behind prey even if the prey are what’s limiting their population growth.

For things that *only* eat ticks, that would make sense.

But opossums eat *everything*. So the availability of ticks doesn’t make much difference in their diet. They almost always have plenty of food because they’re so flexible.

Also, opossums have a weird social situation. They’re solitary and transient. So you’re never going to see a bunch of them together, unless it’s a mother with babies. And they move on to a new area after a few days/weeks, so you usually don’t see the same one more than a few times.

If ticks were the ONLY food source yes. But opossums are really good generalists.

If you destroy enough bamboo trees you can decimate the panda population because they almost exclusively eat bamboo. And it’s the same with Koalas and eucalyptus trees

But opossums are generalists that aren’t tied to an exclusive food source.

“Possums eat ticks” is mostly a myth. They’ll eat them if they’re around, but they’re not their primary food source.

See the last paragraph of the “Diet” section.