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Opossum Control & Removal

Opossum Info: Opossums are unique for several reasons. They are the only North American marsupials. This means that females have a pouch on the belly where the young, up to 13, are carried and nourished for a time after their birth. Opossums also have a prehensile tail, from which they can occasionally hang. They are also well known for "playing possum", or feigning death, a defense tactic. Adult possums are typically about two feet long and about ten pounds, they are omnivorous, and will eat almost anything, including carrion and garbage. Opossums are slow, but excellent climbers, and will live in attics. They will also live under sheds or decks. They have a very strong immune system, but seldom live more than three years. They are nocturnal.

Nuisance concerns: The opossum complaints received are usually due to one of three reasons:
1) They have taken up residence under a porch or shed.
2) They are stealing garbage, pet food, or harassing pets.
3) They have taken up residence in an attic, or gotten inside the home.

 

OPOSSUMS

The opossum, often called possum, is the only marsupial found north of Mexico. Marsupials are distinguished by their unique mode of reproduction; the young are born in an almost embryonic form and make their way to the pouch in their mother’s abdomen, where they are nourished for what in other mammals would be most of the gestational period.  

Although it looks like a big rat, the opossum is related to the kangaroo and koala. It has long guard hairs that give their fur a coarse appearance. Their coat color varies from very light to almost black, but usually looks gray. They have naked ears and a long, almost hairless, prehensile tail, which is capable of grasping and holding objects. While the tail might support the opossum’s full weight for brief periods, the animal usually uses at least one foot as well as the tail when dangling from a limb. 

Opossums are omnivorous and will consume just about everything that’s edible including dead animals. They rarely raid garbage cans, chicken coops or gardens. They are most active at night, and they have a habit of ceaselessly moving along the ground in search of food.  They are known as “Nature’s Little Sanitation Engineers”. Adult males may wander continuously, females spend their lives in more defined areas, but still move around almost randomly. Opossums seen in yards are likely to move on without human encouragement if given enough time. 

Opossums may breed twice a year and give birth to as many as 12 young. They are so small that 10 can fit in a teaspoon. Young emerge from their mother’s pouch at about 1-2 months, then ride on their mother’s back. They become independent at about 3 months. Excellent climbers, opossums may take shelter by day in tree dens, old squirrel nests, or nests they’ve built themselves above ground. They can also make home under decks or patios and in wood and brush piles.  

Opossums are exceptionally non-aggressive and non-destructive. When confronted, they will sometimes display their 50 sharp pointed teeth and may even hiss. Rather than fight, they will sometimes slip into a state of apparent death-hence the term “playing possum”. This state of catatonia can last a minute or two, or even as long as 2 hours, before the “dead” possum revives and moves on.  

Opossums lived during the time of the dinosaurs and one reason for their continued survival is their ability to eat nearly everything.  Although slow moving, they are by no means stupid. Results from some learning and discrimination tests rand opossums above dogs and on a par with pigs in intelligence.

Opossum Trapping & Opossum Removal

Dead animals can also attract other unwanted wildlife. Due to health concerns it's always best to get a licensed professional to dispose of a dead animal. Dead animal removal is sometimes simple, sometimes very difficult, and always dirty. In a simple case, an animal will die somewhere in plain view - such as under a house, in plain sight in the attic, or so on.

Rather than trapping the animal, it is better to remove food sources and maintain your property in a manner that is less inviting to them. Rats and Mice often chew up wiring, siding and other personal property. It is important to exterminate or remove these pest from your property. Rather than indicating what a unique animal the opossum is, this story actually just reveals how bizarre some people are in what they can imagine! In reality the male has a bifid penis because the female has two uteri (wombs), and sperm are deposited into each womb during copulation.

Rats and Mice contaminate food supplies, leave urine stains, odors, and noise in walls and ceilings. Anyone with these rodents should be concerned because of their need to chew, how fast they multiply, and ability to spread disease. Rather than fight, when hard-pressed, they will sometimes slip into the death-feigning catatonia that we term "playing possum.".The animal's system reacts automatically, throwing the brain and nervous system into a catatonic state that lowers their heartbeat and respiration. Rather, they prove to be destructive pests who damage property, trees and vegetable patches. Even more troubling are the claims that possums are spreading disease to humans and livestock.

Rather than a single determinant, EPM might occur only when a susceptible horse ingests an adequate dose of a sufficiently virulent strain of S. As with any disease, continued basic research on both the host and the pathogen should eventually clarify the biological circumstances that lead to EPM.

Infected animals may transmit Leptospirosis to humans and other animals through their urine and feces. Rabies is rare in opossums since they have some immunity to the virus. Infected cats can stagger and act depressed and apathetic before recovering on their own. Infected opossums shed sporocysts in feces which are in turn infective to the intermediate host when ingested. Many intermediate hosts are currently recognized in the life cycle of this protozoan, and the full range of hosts has yet to be identified.

Infected possums were present in about 38% of the country (10 million hectares) by 2003. Most die six months after contracting the disease. Infection of the final host is by the ingestion of the sarcocysts from the muscles of the intermediate hosts. The bradyzoites are released in the intestines of the definitive host.

Wildlife trapping is not the simple matter many people think it is, just like plumbing or electrical work is not simple. There are also legal concerns - it's probably illegal for you to trap and remove or relocate possums in your state. Wildlife Rehab and Education has interrelated three missions: � Rehabilitation of orphaned and injured wildlife with the goal of release�back into the wild in�a physical condition that optimizes survival. Share our message of peaceful co-existence; respect for ourselves, each other and our environment; responsible stewardship of our environment and wildlife ecosystems through varied educational experiences. Wild animals do not want to be around people and by providing constant human voices, you make the attic a scary place. Don't play music, only talk stations will scare the animals.

Wildlife officials are NOT accepting backyard dead wild birds for testing for bird flu virus.

Possums may also carry murine typhus, and the fleas that infest them can transmit the disease to people or pets. Possum Pete hangs out in our back yard. I like to watch it, but I would never think of touching it! Possums will invade your Los Angeles property through broken vents, open holes underneath eaves and through open crawl space covers. Once a possum is inside, the opossum will make a big mess.

Possums are best fed using fresh fruits and vegetables. Too much dairy products can cause a possum to become overweight and limit the animal’s physical movement capabilities. Possums won't leave until they feel safe. If possible wait until nighfall to do this. Possum body temperature is low enough that they don't often get rabies. They'd rather avoid confrontation than bite - they'd make a fuss and hiss and show their teeth but would much rather play dead or run.

 

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