OPOSSUM BIOLOGY: (Didelphis virginiana) Possums look somewhat like giant rats, with their pointed snouts and skinny, naked tails. They are in fact North America’s only marsupial (like kangaroos, they raise their young in a pouch). Adults average 10-14 lbs. They don’t live very long, rarely more than two years, three max. They mate in January, and then the tiny young climb into the pouch and grow, then cling to the mother’s back, then drop off and lead a life on their own. Opossums are omnivores, which means that they eat anything. They are nocturnal. They have the most teeth of any mammal (50), a prehensile tail, opposable thumbs, the male has a bifurcated penis, and they have incredible immune systems.
OPOSSUM BEHAVIOR: Possums are nomadic and opportunistic animals. They sometimes establish a home base, especially a female with young, and often live in human structures. They rummage around at night for food, and will eat pretty much anything, but prefer meat, and even rotting carcasses. They are not very fast, and will stand their ground when threatened, bearing their 50 sharp teeth. In dire circumstances, they will sometimes feign death, or “play possum” – they fall over, tongue hanging out, etc. It may be more an act of passing out from sheet terror as opposed to a grand act. Opossums can, if they wish, hang from their tails, but they very rarely do this.
NUISANCE CONCERNS: Because they are opportunistic scavengers, they can come into conflict with people and cause various problems. They’ll steal garbage, pet food, etc. They can distress pets, and if a dog corners one, it can get a nasty bite. They can spread fleas and other parasites. Most of all, they often like to live in human structures, such as under sheds or decks, and they very commonly live inside of attics. When an opossum lives in an attic, it makes the attic it’s personal toilet, and leave a lot of droppings. Click here for. They can also cause destruction in houses and attics. In addition, possums very frequently die inside buildings, inside the attic or walls, and the smell of a rotting opossum body is horrible.
Opossums are usually classified as a pest due to their habits of scavenging and living in attics and under houses. The most common complaints include the following:
Opossums living in the attic
Opossums living under deck or house
Dead opossum on property or roadside
Stealing pet food or bird seed
Sick or potentially dangerous opossum
Presence of Opossum is alarming to dogs
Although extremely resistant to some, Opossums are known to carry the following:
Opossums have been known to carry a variety of diseases such as:
Lyme Disease- Bacteria spread by ticks that Opossums carry
Leptospirosis- Bacteria spread to humans and pets from contact with urine or feces
Rabies- Virus spread by biting or scratching
Toxoplasmosis- Parasite from Opossum feces
Salmonella- Bacteria from Opossum feces
Distemper- Virus that can affect dogs
Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis- Parasite affecting Central Nervous System of horses
Fleas- Insects infesting cats and dogs
Lice and mites- Parasite when in contact with humans
Give us a call today if you are dealing with nuisance Opossums. We offer Free Home Evaluations to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. Call Pest Pros at 269-993-0051