Opossums are about the size of a house cat. They have gray to black fur and a pointed snout with a hairless tail. Their nose, tail and feet are pink while the ears are black. Oppossum are gentle creatures but prefer to be alone and avoid confrontation.
Opossums have 50 razor sharp teeth and will show them when frightened. Female opossums carry and nurse their offspring in a pouch for the first 2-3 months of life.Opossums are usually solitary and nomadic, staying in one area as long as food and water are easily available.
Opossums are the only marsupial that lives in North America. Opossums are highly adaptable and can live wherever water, food and shelter exist. They feel at home in trees and use it's prehensile tail to aid it during climbing.
Opossums cannot hang by their tail. They find human structures like sheds and garages suitable living spaces as long as they aren't highly visited. Some families will group together in ready-made burrows or even under houses. Though they will temporarily occupy abandoned burrows, they do not dig or put much effort into building their own.
Possums often consume grass, nuts, fruit and grains. They also prey on rodents, birds, frogs, insects, worms, snails, slugs and snakes. Possums are scavengers, so they search for table scraps in garbage cans and dumpsters.
Opposums have been known to consume road kill and captive opossums have sometimes been observed to engage in cannibalism though this behavior is likely very uncommon in the wild.
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.
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.
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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. See if you fall into our service area.
When we catch opossums, they are released back into the wild. We have an area over 20 miles away in the county (away from any homes or businesses) that the opossums can make a new home in. We only need to exterminate any individuals that are sick or obviously rabid. The rest are released unharmed back into their native environment.
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