Possum Facts for Homeowners
In this article you’ll understand:
- Quick Possum Facts
- What Does Playing Possum Mean?
- Not a Rabies Threat, But Still Dangerous
- Possums Eat Any and Everything
A possum (also known as an opossum) can be quite difficult to deal with the moment they invade your home, as they are quite stealthy and adaptable to a new environment. They eat practically anything, so expect some damage to repair and probably a huge mess to clean up. Even worse is that these look like extremely big rats, which make them a bit scary for most humans! Most everyone finds the site of rats very creepy, so the site of an opossum is only slightly better.
While it’s quite common to spot a possum in the city, it wouldn’t be a good thing at all if it chooses to live inside your attic or behind the ceilings and walls of your home. If you happen to spot one inside your house, you must immediately find a way to get rid of it.
1. Quick Possum Facts
Here are some quick possum facts:
- They only live 1-2 years in the wild.
- They are nocturnal, and mainly active at night.
- They are generally the size of a cat.
- They have a gray coat of fur and a white face.
- If threatened, they quickly resort to “playing possum” where they do some quick acting and look (and can even smell) dead.
- They prefer wooded areas, but are very adaptable to their environment.
- They do not build their own dens, but rather look for abandoned burrows to call home.
- Their diet consists of just about everything, to include insects, plants, dead animals, small animals, and yes, most certainly your garbage!
- They are great climbers, and great swimmers.
2. What Does Playing Possum Mean?
Be prepared for these neighborhood critters to “play possum.” So you won’t harm or attack it, a opossum is really good in playing dead. In fact, “playing possum” has become a known idiom that means pretending to be asleep, dead or inactive to avoid doing something or someone. By the way, a opossum can still bite in self-defense when threatened.
Truth be told, some people find opossums cute. In fact, there are a few who have successfully turned them into pets. However, one must know that opossums are wild animals and are not meant to be in captivity. In most places, it is illegal to keep one inside your home without the necessary permit.
3. Not a Rabies Threat, But Still Dangerous
It is extremely rare for an possum to have rabies, as they have a very efficient immune system and a low body temperature. However, there are multiple diseases opossums can carry like tuberculosis, leptospirosis, spotted fever, coccidiosis and many more. So despite the fact that they are not generally a rabies threat, they are still a threat in many other ways! And you never know exactly what you are dealing with when encountering a wild animal, so it is always best to assume it is a serious threat and always take caution with any encounter.
4. Possums Eat Any and Everything
It is common for possums to steal food meant for your pets. There were many times they’ve been caught stealing human food too. They eat a whole lot of rodents, insects, fruits, plants, slugs and snails, among others. But they also like garbage and roadkill too.
If by any chance you catch a fight between a opossum and a snake, you can place your bet on the possum and you would most likely win. A opossum has partial or total immunity to the venom of different kinds of snakes, including cottonmouths and rattlesnakes.