Many people find possums ugly which makes they seem scary, but they are actually about as harmless as animal as you can find in nature. You will find little yappy dogs meaner than any possum you’ll come across. Opossum comes from the Algonquin Indian name, apasum which means “white face”. There are many tales about opossums in Native American and Mayan Folklore. Like many other wild animals, opossums have adapted quite well to urban environments where they can find an abundance of food and shelter. Opossums must be doing something right as they lived with dinosaurs that are now extinct. They are smart little animals that are also cautious and slow, adaptable and wary. These are some of the characteristics that have allowed then to survive for millions of years.
What Does a Possum Look Like?
Opossums can be up to 3 feet in length including their tail and depending on the amount of food they can get their hands on they can weigh 6-20 pounds. They have a white to light gray colored face with bodies that are cream to tan, tan to dark brown or gray to black and the tail is almost hairless. They have a pointy muzzle with a pink nose and two black eyes. You may be surprised to learn that opossums are a lot like house cats, they are always grooming themselves if they’re not eating or sleeping. They will rest through the day unless they are having a hard time finding food to eat. They are nocturnal and will travel far to find food. Opossums don’t hang by their tails, contrary to popular belief. The tail acts like an arm or hand to grasp and balance. If they feel threatened and can’t escape, they will play possum. When they do this, they fall down and stick their tongues out. They will drool and foam at the mouth, urinate and excrete droppings. They look dead and smell terrible because they will also emit a foul odor from a sac under their tail. This works well at keeping predators away.
Do Possums Carry Disease Harmful to Humans?
In addition to carrying parasites like lice, mites, ticks and fleas, possums can also transmit harmful bacteria and diseases such as salmonella, coccidiosis, toxoplasmosis, and tularemia. When the opossum is infected, they can also transmit leptospirosis to humans and animals through their feces and urine.
How to Scare & Repel Possums from Your Home & Yard
The only time opossums are dangerous is when they are cornered. They are great at getting rid of rodents, snakes and insects. When they eat food left behind they are taking it away from other pests that you don’t want around. If you find them around your home, then you’ve likely provided them with what they need; food, water and shelter. The best way to keep them away is to change the way you’re doing things. Keep pet food inside your home, only feed birds what they will finish during the day and make sure your trash cans have tight fitting lids. Secure areas under decks and your home that they will use for shelter. Cover these access points with sturdy metal mesh wire and use a chimney cap to prevent them from using it to nest in or get into your house. Locate any tree limbs they may use to get on the roof and trim them.
Wildlife Removal 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
While possums aren’t typically aggressive, you may not want to have them hanging around your home due to the risk of illness. If you need help controlling possums, nuisance wildlife and other pests, call A Five Star Termite & Pest Control to take care of any possums that have become a nuisance.