Opossums are possibly the only known marsupials of North America. They have a not-so distant cousin to the possums of Australia. They have been known to infest homes and especially the attics and storage rooms. Their infestation in prized gardens can harm well-kept lawns, fruit trees, and succulent plants. However, attempting to control the situation by yourself can get overly confusing if you do not have any idea about the techniques and characteristics of the opossums. Here are 5 facts to help you better control their infestations and know when to call in animal control.
Naturally immune to rabies
An opossum is eight times more unlikely to carry rabies in comparison to wild dogs. Their natural immunity to the disease means you do not have to fear on that account. These animals are rarely feral.
Immunity to poison
Opossums have a crazy natural resistance against the most deadly of poisons. They will be quite unharmed by the venoms as strong as that of pit vipers or rattlesnakes. This makes it even difficult to come up with a poisonous repellant for the marsupials. So, do not try to take matters in your own hands by trying to set poison traps for the opossums. Instead, call in professionals who have a better experience in techniques that really work against opossum infestations.
Food habits and intelligence
Opossums eat rodents, snails, human food scraps, birds, fruits, and even grains. They have been tested to be quite intelligent in not only seeking out food but also remembering where it is stored the next time. This pattern makes opossum infestations most likely in gardens, storerooms, attics, and backyards with outside dining options. The infestation might also be quite likely in outside restaurant areas or family picnic grounds.
Opossums should pretty much be welcome in the garden because they eat snails and slugs and are a very natural way of pest control. However, for gardens with fruit trees or superior lawns, they are a total nuisance. Opossums have opposable thumbs (toes) on their back feet giving them an unnaturally high skill in climbing trees, so they can reach fruits on the tallest of trees with ease. It has a prehensile tail, which can be wrapped around the trees like an extra limb. They can even loop their tail around grass and bundles of food to carry them around. Opossums have large dilated pupils that give them superior nocturnal sight. Therefore, they are quite active during the dark.
Natural defense techniques
Approaching an opossum, you should be aware of their natural defense tactics. They would growl, or belch loudly. They might even urinate or defecate when attacked, so if you are contemplating chasing the marsupial while on your expensive carpet, think again! The most popular defense tactic is of course, they play “possum”. However, it is not a conscious decision. They go in to a catatonic state in fright and would roll over involuntarily with their eyes closed or open but glazed over. They would also be foaming around the mouth and start secreting a strongly malodorous liquid from their glands. It s their natural defense against predators who might consider eating the body.