Opossums are North America's only marsupial (female has a pouch) mammal. They can have a litter of up to 20 but only half usually survive. They are the size of a cat; grey to black fur; black eyes; pink and pointed nose; feet and tail; and black ears. They are nocturnal, slow moving and when frightened they fall into an involuntary shock-like state "playing possum".
They hiss and growl and show 50 sharp teeth when frightened, but, in reality, they are gentle and placid. They prefer to avoid all confrontations and wish to be left alone. They are omnivorous and eat insects, snails, rodents, berries, over ripe fruit, and carrion. Occasionally they will eat snakes, ground eggs, corn or other vegetables. They are able to live wherever water, food, and shelter exist.
Opossums are here to stay, but simple steps can be done to keep them from making your home, their home.
- Feed pets inside your home instead of outdoors. If you must feed your pets outside, make sure the food is removed as soon as your pet is finished eating.
- Remove water sources and place screens or netting over outdoor ponds.
- Manicure your yard, trimming back trees and bushes will help create a more open space, which is less inviting to our wildlife friends.
- Do not leave pets outdoors unattended.
- Make sure outdoor trashcans or bins are fitted with tight lids.
- Remove fallen fruit off of the ground.
- Keep outdoor gardens in a fenced area or greenhouse structure.
- Seal off entry ways underneath raised foundations.
- Make sure there is no access or entry points to a garages, sheds, attics and roofs.
- Make sure pets are up to date on their vaccines.