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 at home in trees and don't hang from their tail. It is one of the shortest lived mammals for its size, typically 2 to 4 years. Killed by many predators; humans (and cars), dogs, cats, owls, and other wild life. One of the biggest questions is, can opossums carry rabies? Any mammal can get rabies. However, the chance of rabies in an opossum is EXTREMELY RARE. This may have to do with the opossums low body temperature. This makes it difficult for the virus to survive.
Opossums are here to stay, but simple steps can be done to keep them from making your home, their home. Do not leave open food containers for your animals outdoors. Keep all trash containers sealed and pick up all fallen, ripened fruit from the ground.