Opossums, also known as possums are a unique critter in this region. They are the only marsupial living in North America. Most people think Australia and kangaroos when they hear marsupial and that is accurate. Opossums, like their kangaroo cousins have a pouch to protect their young. While the baby “Joey’s” are adorable, they are not an animal you want to have seeking safe haven in your home this winter. Here are some quick facts about opossums in this region, the risks of having one in your home, and what to do if you have a family living in your attic.
Opossum 101 –
There are more than 60 different species of opossum, the most notable is the Virginia opossum or common opossum. Female opossums can carry and nourish up to 13 babies in her pouch at any one time. Adult opossums are typically about two feet long and about ten pounds. They are omnivorous, and will eat almost anything, including carrion and garbage. These animals are most famous for “playing possum.” When threatened by dogs, foxes, or bobcats, opossums sometimes flop onto their sides and lie on the ground with their eyes closed or staring fixedly into space. They extend their tongues and generally appear to be dead. But they are not. This is a defense tactic.
Opossum Problems –
Opossums are usually non-aggressive animals, but they can create unsanitary conditions and may turn aggressive if they become diseased or feel threatened. If an opossum is living in your attic or under your shed/deck, then you have probably noticed a huge mess including large droppings and possibly a foul odor. Opossums can also carry various parasites and diseases. They may tear apart garbage or harass your pets. All in all, these marsupials are a pain.
Opossum Management –
There are several ways to get rid of possums the most straightforward method involves making the environment less appealing. For instance, keep trash in sealed barrels, don’t leave pet food outdoors and fix openings in the foundation or seal off openings under decks/sheds. Once you have handled the prevention of possums, you will need to take care to remove any that are living in your yard or even your home. Removal and relocation should be handled by a professional since they can become aggressive when cornered, just like any other animal.