Opossums are one of our favorite species. They are about the size of a cat, have long hairless tails, and are the only marsupial animals in North America. Marsupials carry their young in a pouch like a kangaroo.
Opossum are known to play dead, which is an uncontrollable reaction similar to passing out due to anxiety. They may hiss or growl and show their many teeth. They have glands that make them smell similar to a skunk, but not as strong. Opossum prints can be differentiated from a raccoon’s by the characteristic of having human hand-like feet in the front and back (vs. front only). They also have an opposable thumb on their back paws.
We get many calls from customers expressing rabies concern when they are walking on the ground awkwardly and aimlessly, often in circles; however, opossums are most resistant to rabies vs. any other animal. Customer also report concern of injury because they don’t always move when approached (wish we could explain this one!).
Opossums get into garbage, feeders, and home or business structures. They are the opportunistic omnivores, known to eat animals, insects, and plants. They can eat worms, snakes, lizards, mice, rats, grass, fruits, and vegetables. They are also known to eat up to 5,000 ticks per year – a very good thing for property owners.