Opossum Biology

Opossum Biology

opossum-headerAn opossum is a whitish or grayish mammal about the size of a house cat. Its underfur is dense with sparse guard hairs. Its face is long and pointed, its ears rounded and hairless.

Habitats are diverse, ranging from arid to moist, wooded to open fields. Opossums prefer environments near streams or swamps. They take shelter in burrows of other animals, tree cavities, brush piles, and other cover. Opossums sometimes den in attics and garages where they may make a messy nest.

Opossums preferred food includes animal matter, mainly insects or carrion. Opossums also eat considerable amounts of vegetable matter, especially fruits and grains. Opossums living near people may visit compost piles, garbage cans, or food dishes intended for dogs, cats, and other pets.

Opossums usually live alone. Young appear to roam randomly until they find a suitable home range. Usually they are active only at night. The mating season is January to July in warmer parts of the range but may start a month later and end a month earlier in northern areas. Opossums may raise 2, rarely 3, litters per year. The opossum is the only marsupial in North America. Like other marsupials, the blind, helpless young develop in a pouch.

When threatened, an opossum may bare its teeth, growl, hiss, bite, screech, and exude a smelly, greenish fluid from its anal glands. If these defenses are not successful, an opossum may play dead. When captured or surprised during daylight, opossums appear stupid and inhibited. They are surprisingly intelligent, however. They rank above dogs in some learning and discrimination tests.

opossum-roar opossum-trapped opossum-snarl opossum-in-tree

 

Damage Prevention and Control Methods

Exclusion

Prevent nuisance animals from entering structures by closing openings to cages and pens that house poultry. Opossums can be prevented from climbing over wire mesh fences by installing a tightly stretched electric fence wire near the top of the fence 3 inches (8 cm) out from the mesh. Fasten garbage can lids with a rubber strap.

Traps

Opossums are not wary of traps and may be easily caught with suitable-sized box or cage traps. The trap should be set at the entrance to the hole. Place bait such as cheese, or slightly spoiled meat, fish, or fruit in the trap to attract the animal. Using fruit instead of meat will reduce the chance of catching cats, dogs, or skunks.

Contact Wildlife Removal Services for all of your opossum control / prevention needs. We specialize in opossum removal, opossum eviction, and opossum exclusion repairs. We follow all state and federal laws regarding the control and prevention of opossum on your home or business.

Get Your Emergency Quote

Get Your Emergency Quote