General Opossum Information
Like the kangaroo, this unique mammal has an abdominal pouch for carrying her young.
Opossums have a repulsive, musk like odor and can be an occasional nuisance when they enter crawl spaces, under decks, garages and similar areas.
The opossum is 2-3 feet long. Its head is white to yellowish with a pink nose, black eyes and bluish black, naked ears.
Adults are long-haired, light-gray, and about the size of a large cat weighing 4-15 lbs.
It has a long scaly tail, black at its base, grading to yellow-white or pink for the rest of its length.
The average number of young is 6, but as many as 13 may be born.
They nurse in the mother's pouch for about 3 months.
Opossums are very resistant to rabies and have far fewer cases of rabies than any other common wild animal in United States.
SINGIFICANT EXCEPTION: HORSES
Opossums have been found to be a primary carrier of a deadly disease in horses known as : Protozoal Myeloencephalitis.
Steps should be taken to keep opossums away from horses, horse feed, and stables.
They prefer to live in wooded areas, near streams.
They choose home sites such as hollow logs, abandoned woodchuck burrows, under buildings and decks, in garages, trash heaps, or cavities in hollow trees.
This shy and secretive animal is seldom seen because it is abroad mostly at night.
Perhaps it is most often observed along highways in the glare of automobile headlights as it feeds on animals killed by traffic.
While opossums tend to wander a great deal and shift their home sites frequently, individuals spend most of their lives within about 40 acres .
Opossums often climb trees or brush heaps in an attempt to escape, when pursued.
When frightened, the animal rolls over on it's side, shuts its eyes becoming limp.
The opossum is "playing possum" with it's heartbeat slowing down to the appearance of death.
This is a reaction is a nervous shock, the opossum is able to recover.
Opossums eat fish, birds, mammals, crustaceans, insects, mushrooms, fruits, grass, eggs and dead animals.
Denying their access to structures by exclusion techniques is the most effective method of controlling opossums.
Live animal traps such as Havahart Raccoon Traps, or the easy to set Havahart 1085 Easy Set Cage Style Animal Live Trap can be used to capture and relocatethem.
The traps should be set in locations the animal frequents or where
it is causing damage.
Fish, canned cat or dog food are good opossum baits.
To readily entice the opossum into the trap, use a small trail of bait leading to the trap.
All traps should be checked in the morning and evening, so that captured animals may be dealt with in a humane manner.
Release the animal several miles.
Check with your game and wildlife department before trapping and releasing them.