Have you ever wondered if possums are the same as opossums? They are both marsupials, but possums are more closely related to kangaroos. It can get a bit tricky to differentiate the two because people in North America shorten opossum to possum when they talk about the animal they see in their backyard at night. But they are two entirely different animals.
Opossum or Possum?
In North America, they are opossum. English colonists derived the word from the Powhatan language where the word means “white dog or beast”. Possums are animals that live in Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Sulawesi and China. A British botanist thought they looked very much like the American opossum and gave them a similar name, but they are actually more closely related to kangaroos than American opossums.
Opossums have a white face with grayish body and a hairless pink tail that are 15 to 20 inches in length They can look like they are wearing a mask that cover their beady, dark eyes. They will mate all year long if the weather is ideal and there is a supply of food. Their diet includes insects, plants, fruit, carrion, grain, eggs, small birds, worms and toads. They are nocturnal and will typically only eat at night. Opossums are not aggressive: the sounds they make are merely a bluff to look vicious. If they feel threatened, they will growl, hiss and screech. If that doesn’t work, they play dead if they are really scared.
Are Opossums Dangerous?
Seeing an opossum in your yard doesn’t necessarily mean you have a major problem. Opossums love to move around, so chances are they will be one their way come morning- after they have found something to eat. Opossums can be easy to ignore until they start causing problems. They can become pests when they eat your pet’s food, crawl under your deck, scavenge your garbage, or make a mess of attics and crawlspaces. They can be carriers of parasites and diseases and can contaminate food and water sources. Rabies is extremely rare in opossums. It may be because they have a much lower body temperature compared to other warm-blooded animals. You can keep them out of your yard by putting your trash out in the morning and seal the cans with tight-fitting lids. If you have a bird feeder, keep it clean. Remove any debris from your yard and keep bushes trimmed, so they have less places to hide and don’t leave pet food outside. You may have opossums around your home if you notice tracks that look like small, human hands with widespread fingers. You may also notice liquid-like, green droppings in your yard and near their dens.
Wildlife Control & Prevention in Canyon Lake, Spring Branch, Bulverde, Timberwood Park, Leon Valley, Alamo Heights, New Braunfels, Selma, Live Oak, Converse, Universal City, Cibolo, Seguin, New Berlin, St Hedwig, Adkins, La Vernia, Elmendorf, Losoya, Von Ormy, Macdona & San Antonio, Texas
Because opossums aren’t usually aggressive, you may be able to gently nudge one out of your home with a broom, but you may need professional help. Pest control companies are great at handling all kinds of insects but when it comes to wildlife control, you need a company that specializes in it. Contact A Five Star Termite & Pest Control. We have the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address an opossum problem.