Opossoms

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There are more than 60 different species of opossum, which are often called possums. The most notable is the Virginia opossum or common opossum—the only marsupial (pouched mammal) found in the United States and Canada. A female opossum gives birth to helpless young as tiny as honeybees. Babies immediately crawl into the mother's pouch, where they continue to develop. As they get larger, they will go in and out of the pouch and sometimes ride on the mother's back as she hunts for food. Opossums may give birth to as many as 20 babies in a litter, but fewer than half of them survive. Some never even make it as far as the pouch.

Opossum Tracks
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Opossums are scavengers, and they often visit human homes or settlements to raid garbage cans, dumpsters, and other containers. They are attracted to carrion and can often be spotted near roadkill. Opossums also eat grass, nuts, and fruit. They will hunt mice, birds, insects, worms, snakes, and even chickens.

These animals are most famous for "playing possum." When threatened by dogs, foxes, or bobcats, opossums sometimes flop onto their sides and lie on the ground with their eyes closed or staring fixedly into space. They extend their tongues and generally appear to be dead. This ploy may put a predator off its guard and allow the opossum an opportunity to make its escape.

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Opossum carry diseases such as leptospirosis, tuberculosis, relapsing fever, tularemia, spotted fever, toxoplasmosis, coccidiosis, trichomoniasis, and Chagas disease. They may also be infested with fleas, ticks, mites, and lice. Opossum are hosts for cat and dog fleas, especially in urban environments.To deter opossums an array of chemical products is marketed for repelling various wildlife species but, unfortunately, none offer significant results. The odor of mothballs or naphthalene crystals, used as a home remedy repellent, has occasionally been reported to be successful in driving opossum from confined areas, but can build up toxicity in the soil. There are no registered toxicants for poisoning opossum. Poison baits sold for the control of rodents should never be used in an attempt to control opossum, skunks, or raccoons. The penalty for such pesticide misuse can be substantial and the practice usually becomes known as a result of the accidental poisoning of someone's pet.

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Opossums are excellent tree climbers and spend much of their time aloft. They are aided in this by sharp claws, which dig into bark, and by a long prehensile (gripping) tail that can be used as an extra limb. Opossums nest in tree holes or in dens made by other animals. These animals are widespread and are sometimes hunted as food, particularly in the southern United States.

If you have a wildlife problem, it best be handled by a professional firm, such as ourselves. Then, and only then, can you have peace of mind that that neither yourself or family member will be bitten or injured and if required, a biological cleanup will be done properly if needed.

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