How many opossums do you see on a regular basis? Generally, most people only see them on the side of the road or something similar to this, but opossums are certainly around! Read on to learn a few interesting facts about our wild neighbors.
- Opossums solve more problems than they cause. They eat rats and mice, a wide variety of insects, including cockroaches, crickets, snails, and beetles. They also consume any dead animals, cleaning up the environment; thus, reducing the risk of disease for other animals and for humans as well. Opossums also clean up rotting fruit from underneath trees. They are commonly referred to as “nature’s little sanitation engineer”.
- There are more than sixty different species of opossum, but we only have one native to North America. Known as the Virginia opossum, this creature is a mammal, meaning that the female provides milk for its children. They are more specifically marsupials, which have a pouch in which they carry young.
- According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), “Opossums have high mortality rates at all ages. They are killed by dogs, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, bobcats, eagles, hawks, and owls, with young opossums being the most vulnerable. Car kills in the fall and in winter conditions account for many opossum deaths. Opossums rarely live a full two years in the wild”
- Baby opossum are as small as honeybees. These babies stay in the mother’s pouch until they are old enough to venture out for short periods on their own, usually at about 60-70 days after birth. When the young opossums are a few days older, they will ride on their mother’s back, and will leave the den entirely at three months of age.
- Opossums are preyed on by many animals, including dogs, birds and owls, foxes and coyotes, and certainly cars as well. This simply means that opossums have a very high rate of death, but that is compensated for in many situations by the females birthing litters of up to 20 babies at a time. Even so, opossum population is important to preserve. If you are looking for a humane relocation for opossums around your property, then contact Canton Termite and Pest Control to have one of our professionals come and help with that today! Our number is 770-479-1598.
- According to the WDFW, “The opossum is a slow runner and when threatened will usually growl, hiss, and bare its teeth or try to escape by climbing the nearest tree. However, when caught out in the daylight with little chance of escape, or when attacked, the opossum will “play possum.” This is a surprisingly effective defense commonly seen in insects. In such cases the opossum will fall on its side, curl its body, open its drooling mouth, and excrete droppings—all to give the appearance of being dead. While the opossum is in this state, which lasts several minutes or several hours, no amount of prodding will produce a response. Though it appears to be in a catatonic state, its metabolic processes are as high as when the animal is fully alert. When the opossum believes the danger has passed, it will begin to wiggle its ears in an effort to pick up sounds. If it thinks the danger has passed, it will pick up its head and look around. If danger persists, the opossum will play dead again”
- What are some problems that opossums cause? Well, our technicians have commonly seen opossums burrow beneath houses due to the fact that the males often change dens once every few days to hide from predators. These opossums will eat any kind of pet food that you may leave outside, and often will find their way inside your home if there is an opening such as a cat door. Opossums will crawl on the roof as well, and often travel through gutters.
- Do opossums carry rabies? Not usually. Opossums display hissing and an open mouth only when threatened, and this is usually the stereotypical “playing possum”, as they do not usually attack. Opossums actually have a very low rate of rabies infection compared to other animals, and this may be attributed to their lower core body temperature than that of other animals.
- If you are looking for simple ways to prevent the presence of opossums in and around your home, then make sure that there is no pet food left out overnight, that your garbage can lids are on tightly, and that any fruit underneath trees is picked up.
If you think that opossums are around your home, Canton Termite and Pest Control will send a trained professional to inspect your home for you today! 770-479-1598
We seek to provide humane and effective removal of pests in and around your home and family.
We provide service throughout Cherokee county Georgia and surrounding areas. Have a blessed day!
Opossums in Cherokee County Georgia – Canton Wildlife Control