Opossums are a unique critter with an undeserved “bad reputation.”
Opossums are North America’s only marsupial species. Marsupial means an animal that carries her young in a pouch. Examples of other marsupial animals are kangaroos, koala bears, and wombats.
Opossums have unique habits, and are often more beneficial to ranchers, farmers, and homeowners than they are harmful. In the wild, they have a lifespan of about 4 years. Opossums are not normally carriers of Rabies. Their lower than normal body temperature makes it very difficult for the virus to survive.
Opossums are slow-moving creatures who love to eat worms, grubs, slugs, insects, carrion, small rodents, snails, and believe it or not-ticks! Opossums are “tick magnets,” but they don’t become infested like other wildlife does-unless they are sick. They are effective at grooming themselves, and eat more than 95% of ticks that attach themselves to feed. Opossums are living, breathing, mobile pest control.
Opossums are often blamed for tipping over garbage cans, killing chickens, and ruining gardens, when it’s rare that they’re the culprit responsible. Opossums are opportunistic omnivores. They scavenge fruit fallen from trees, trash, and adore pet food that’s been left out. (feeding wildlife in California is illegal) More likely than not, another species (wildlife or dog) is the culprit responsible for getting into trash cans, but since opossums are slow-moving, they’re the ones seen at the “scene of the crime” and therefore, get the blame.
Living with Opossums in Your Neighborhood
To most people, opossums seem a little scary. When frightened, they open their mouths wide and make a hissing noise. This is not an aggressive behavior, but a “bluff” to make themselves look vicious. If that doesn’t work, they may “play dead,” If you’ve ever heard the term “playing opossum,” the playing dead behavior where the term originated. If you do find an opossum in your yard, chances are it’s just passing through, and will move on.
Opossums Living In or Under Homes, Decks, Inside Sheds
To lessen opossum activity, make sure you use trash cans with tight-fitting, secure lids, do not leave pet food outdoors day or night (feed companion animals and remove all traces of left over food immediately) and clean up fallen fruit from trees daily. Securely cover all access point to decks, outbuildings, homes, and keep screens in good repair.
If you already have an opossum issue, we can help!
Call us at 760.961.5980