Opossum Removal and Control


Jarrod's
Affordable Wildlife Eviction
7513 Veterans Pkwy.
Columbus, Ga.
706-221-8000

Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:        Chordata
Class:           Mammalia
Infraclass:   Marsupialia
Order:         Didelphimorphia
Family:        Didelphidae
Subfamily:   Didelphinae
Genus:
       Didelphis
Species:     D. virginiana
Description
Get rid of opossums
Virginia Opossum
Opossums (sometimes pronounced 'possums) are the only North American marsupials. Opossums coats  are a dull, grayish brown except for the fur on their faces, which is white. Their ears are hairless and they have long, flattened snouts. Opossums stand flat footed on the ground and their hind paws have an opposable "thumb" with no claw that aids in gripping tree branches. Opossums are generally non-aggressive and docile but will react with hissing, teeth baring and biting if provoked or attacked.

Opossums have a very hardy immune system and show partial to total immunity to the bites of rattlesnakes, cottonrmouths and other pit vipers. They are 8 times less likely to carry rabies than wild dogs and only about 1 in 800 are affected with the disease. It is thought that their resistance to rabies is caused by their very low body temperature as opposed to other mammals. They also help limit the spread of Lyme Disease by destroying the disease carrying ticks that feed on them,. Opossums give birth to approximately 20 young though less than half of them will survive. The young are hairless and are only as big as a honey bee when born. Females have a pouch on the belly where the young are carried and  nourished for a time after their birth. Adult opossums are between 2 and 3 feet in length with the males being the larger of the sexes. In overall body shape opossums are similar in size to a common house cat. Opossums have a hairless scaly tail which, like many New World monkeys, is prehensile and is used as an aid in climbing in trees and for carrying leaves and other bedding material to the nest. Their jaws have 50 teeth; more than any other mammal except killer whales.

Opossums have unusually short life spans for mammals of their size. In the wild they average only 2 years of life while in the safety and security of captivity it increases to only 4 years.
History
opossums have been on earth in one form or another for approximately 30 million years.
Opossum fossil
Opossums fossils have been dated back as far as 30 million years. The word "opossum" is from the Native American word "apasum" meaning "white animal." One of it's earliest descriptions came from Captain John Smith shortly after founding the colony of Jamestown in 1608, ""An Opassom hath an head like a Swine, and a taile like a Rat, and is of the bignes of a Cat. Under her belly she hath a bagge, wherein she lodgeth, carrieth, and sucketh her young." 
Diet
Opossums are largely opportunistic feeders.
Virginia Opossum eats a banana peel
Opossums are opportunistic omnivores and will eat plant and animal matter with equal ease. Their food types range from fruits and berries to snakes, cat food, human garbage and other small animals like rats and mice. Opossums will eat the skins and rinds of fruits to get the extra nutrition and persimmons are a favorite food of the opossum during the autumn months.

Captive opossums have sometimes been observed to engage in cannibalism though this behavior is  likely very uncommon in the wild. Putting an injured opossum in a confined space with healthy member of the same species is not advised.
Behavior
Opossums feign death when very frightened. They go into a near coma called, "playing possum"
Opossum, "playing possum"
Opossums are largely solitary and nomadic; moving on when food and water become scarce or unavailable. They are mostly nocturnal and prefer dark, secure areas either above or below ground to live either alone or in small family groups. 'Possums don't dig their own burrows and put very little effort in making a den of their own. Instead, they will occupy the abandoned dens of other animals and can comfortably live under houses, crawlspaces, attics, sheds or other structures.

Opossums display a type of behavior called, "playing possum" where the animal becomes unconscious and appears to be dead when extremely frightened. It will lay on its side with its mouth and eyes open and tongue hanging out. This behavior is an automatic response to being threatened and is similar to humans fainting. During this time the animals' teeth are bared, it's body becomes stiff and rigid and it emits a green liquid from its anal glands that mimics the smell of a dead or dying animal. The odor is so powerful that potential predators are reluctant to approach. These episodes last from 40 minutes to 4 hours during which time it can be moved with no reaction. A slight flicking of the ears indicates that the opossum is beginning to wake back up.
Range
Opossums are the only North Amercan marsupials.
Opossum Range- Central and North America
Opossums occupy much of  central America and the Midwest  and eastern regions of the United States. They also can be found along areas of the Pacific coast but are not native to that section of the country. Opossums were introduced to California in the mid 1930's and opossum trapping was widespread. Opossums were used as a source of food during the Great Depression and are still considered game animals in certain parts of the United States, most notably in the south. In recent years their range has been expanding north into Canada.
Opossum Trapping and Removal
Jarrod's gets rid of possums in Georgia and Alabama
Generally, wildlife control companies don't get that many calls for trapping possums. They are basically harmless creatures and pose little threat to humans. Their nocturnal lifestyle keeps them from being spotted too often. You may see one occasionally wandering through your yard at night but it is probably just looking for a tasty rat or mouse to eat and will move on. It's when they decide to take up residence in your attic, shed or barn that trapping possums becomes a priority for homeowners. Small children and pets are especially vulnerable if they approach a possum and corner it making it defensive and aggressive. Like any animal, it will want to defend itself and sometimes injuries can occur.

Possum trapping is also important around horse stables, corrals and barns because opossums can carry a parasite called Sarcocystis neurona. This parasite can cause a serious equine problem known as Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis or (EPM) which results in a horse going lame for no apparent reason. Horses contract the disease when they graze in areas an infected opossum has defecated. Though rare, this disease is being reported more often in the last few years. If you know opossums have moved into your barn where you keep valuable horses it is better to be safe than sorry and have them removed as soon as possible.

Trapping possums is accomplished through the use of live capture traps, as seen above. The animals are not injured and can be relocated easily and safely. That's good news for the possum and the wildlife tech who has to release it. Opossum trapping isn't necessary too often but when it is, it's best to go with a skilled animal control company like Jarrod's Affordable Wildlife Eviction.
Wildlife Control
Jarrod's Affordable Wildlife Eviction is the leader in trapping possums and all other nuisance wildlife control in the states of Georgia and Alabama. In Georgia we provide animal control to Columbus, Fort Benning, Hamilton, Lagrange, Pine Mountain, Americus, Thomaston, West Point, Warm Springs, Buena Vista, Upatoi and more. Click to see if you fall into our service area.

We serve Phenix City, Auburn, Tuskegee, Smiths Station, Opelika, Seale, Eufaula, Dadeville, Cussetta, La Fayette and all cities and town in between. See our service area here.