Opossums

Actual Size: Up to 3 feet long, when mature

Characteristics: Opossums have a white-face, a long fur-covered body, and a prehensile tail.

Habits:

  • Opossums are the only North American marsupial.
  • They will eat bugs, snakes, fruit, garbage, bird seed, and pet food.
  • Opossums are nocturnal.
  • There is little evidence opossums carry any kind of disease; it’s extremely rare for opossums to be infected with rabies.
  • Opossums are generally considered beneficial to their environments due to their pest-predation.
  • They are nomadic, and do not establish long-term burrows.
Category:

Description

Habits

Opossums may be ugly by some standards, but they are incredibly helpful mammals. Because they eat insects and snakes, a lot of property owners consider them beneficial. Opossums are nomadic, and seldom stay long in any place. They will use abandoned burrows or crawl spaces, but they will not dig their own. Opossums are nocturnal, slow-movers, and generally friendly toward humans. When threatened, the opossum has a seizure-like response, causing it to faint and “play dead”. This is not a voluntary response–opossums have developed that reaction biologically. They also release a foul-smelling liquid during this response that smells like rotten meat, because predators rarely choose to eat rotting meat.

Problems with Opossums

Opossums’ teeth are not meant for attacking or even preying on animals; their teeth are good for chewing and holding. They do not attack humans, and instead will play “dead” when danger is perceived. Opossums don’t dig holes, destroy gardens, bite, sting, or stay in one place for very long. In short, opossums aren’t really pests at all.

Prevention of Opossums

  • Opossums want two things: food and shelter. Here is a list of preventative measures:
  • Make sure all spaces around or under your home are carefully sealed or fenced off. Opossums do like sleeping under porches or in attics, if there’s a way in.
  • Make sure your garbage areas are controlled and tidy, and all lids or closures are secure.
  • Don’t leave pet food out at night.
  • If you do have any abandoned burrows in your yard, fill them in.

These steps will keep opossums from becoming too comfortable in your yard or home.

Eliminating Opossums

If you do have a problem with opossums in your yard, there are multiple methods of removing opossums. It’s always best to call a professional pest control expert, as they can choose the most effective way to rid your yard of these backyard loungers.

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