Opossums

Identification

  • Colour Grey, with red, brown, or black hues
  • Size Up to 55 cm
  • Description Have elongated heads, pointed snouts, pink noses, and more than 50 sharp, serrated teeth. They also have defined whiskers, big, black eyes, leathery ears, short legs, and long, hairless tails.

General Facts

Why do I have opossums?

Opossums are solitary, nocturnal marsupials who prefer to build their dens in thick woodlands close to bodies of water, like swamps, bogs, and marshes. However, they can live in residential areas and sometimes enter buildings in search of new denning sites. While they spend most of their time on the ground, opossums are adept climbers and use their prehensile tails as additional limbs to help them move through trees. Opossums are opportunistic feeders and are attracted to plant matter, fruits, seeds, grains, insects, earthworms, birds, frogs, carrion, garbage, and pet food. Their strong jaws allow them to crush bones and shells, and they will eat skeletal remains to get the calcium they need.

How worried should I be about opossums?

Opossums frequently tip over trash cans to find food, steal from gardens, threaten the safety of pets, and attack chickens. They also damage insulation and duct work when entering the home to look for somewhere to build a den. These pests also defecate on porches and decks, which can contribute to the spread of diseases, including leptospirosis, tularemia, spotted fever, tuberculosis, Chagas disease, and rabies. They can carry fleas, ticks, mites, and lice, which they can be passed on. When threatened, opossums often play dead, but they are unpredictable wild animals and can bite if provoked or disturbed. It is is also illegal to relocate trapped opossums in most areas. To safely and humanely remove an opossum, you'll need professional pest control services.

How can I prevent opossums invading?

Trim back overhanging trees and shrubs, Use garbage cans with tight-fitting lids, Bringing pet food inside overnight, Cover holes on decks and porches with mesh wire

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