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Opossums Vs. Possums: How to Get Rid of Them


Opossum vs Possum

Which is correct, and does it matter? The correct term for the North American animal is opossum and it matters somewhat, because possum refers to around 70 species of marsupials found in Australia and New Guinea.

Now, if you call us up and need help figuring out how to get rid of an opossum, we’ll know what you’re talking about if you say, “possum” instead. It’s good to know, but the animals opossums share most of their name with aren’t really found in North America outside of zoos.

Do Opossums Carry Rabies?

Any mammal can get rabies, but it’s nearly impossible for opossums to contract or spread the disease. This is due to their low body temperature, which hovers between 94 an 97 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s too hostile an environment for the rabies virus to effectively spread in the body, making opossum highly resistant to rabies.

What do Opossums Eat?

Opossums eat ticks, meaning they can eliminate the risk of tick-borne diseases in certain areas. Opossums do, however, carry fleas rather than eat them. Fleas carry their own diseases and are very effective in spreading them.

These marsupials (the only ones native to North America) are purveyors of fine garbage and garden vegetable alike. They will forage for anything edible and make a huge, dirty mess while they’re at it as well. They will consume anything from pet food to carrion as do so with relish.

Where do Opossums Nest?

Your porch, shed, attic or crawl space looks like a perfectly good places to build a nest if you’re an opossum. They can breed up to 3 times in a single year with each litter bearing between 6 and 9 babies and they’ll all be happy to remain in your attic for life. Oh, and don’t forget that they stink. A lot. These are just a few of the things that make this pest pesky.

Are Opossums Dangerous?

Given their disposition and rather unpleasant appearance and smell, the opossum isn’t really dangerous. They can be a little unpredictable when cornered or threatened and that hiss is somewhat chilling but they rarely attack.

Opossums can become dangerous and cause damage – especially to children and pets – if they feel cornered or they feel their own young are threatened.

Like many wild animals, opossums pose a challenge to even experienced pest control technicians. The only truly effective way to eradicate them is to trap and removed them. That can be tricky, even for a pro.

They are not an animal to be trifled with. If an opossum is playing dead, leave them be and call a Problem Animal Control service near you like Ransford. The comatose state opossums put themselves in are defensive, but don’t leave the animal totally unresponsive.

How to Get Rid of an Opossum?

Opossums are best handled with experience and strategy. Trapping the animal requires inspection of a property so that we can best identify its habits and baiting a trap in the most ideal location. Calling a Problem Animal Control service such as Ransford allows us to handle the problem for you with a minimum of risk both to yourself and the animal.

Relocation is usually very effective. Opossums are wanderers by nature and won’t stay in one place for too long. If you move them out, they will probably keep moving and not return.

IPM methods like sanitation, prevention and exclusion will help prevent future opossums from taking up residence.

Here are a few IPM tips for opossums:

  • Use tight-fitting lids on outdoor trash cars.
  • Put screens over any openings into your crawl space.
  • Use lattice at the base of porches and decks to keep pests from living underneath.
  • Don’t leave cat or dog food outside and unattended.

Prevent opossums from getting inside and you won’t have to serve the eviction notice. Call 508-756-5197 for your IPM professionals at Ransford Pest Control today.


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