Some people think these individuals are cute. Others believe that these furry, gray marsupials with hairless tails are scary. Still, if you have an opossum living in your yard or taking up residence in your home the most pressing question is whether they’re dangerous. The good news is that Opossums are generally harmless.
Sure they hiss and open their mouth when threatened but this behavior is only a defense mechanism to make themselves appear dangerous. However, we recommend that you avoid making friends with these nocturnal animals or inviting them into your property for safety reasons. Here’s why.
What Are Opossums?
Ever wondered how many marsupial species there are? Well, the Virginia opossum is North America’s only marsupial. It’s best described as cat-sized with dull and gray fur, patterned in white and black.
Its hairless tail is prehensile, meaning it can grasp branches and carry items. If you happen to catch an opossum off-guard, you might hear it hiss or growl at you as a warning not to come any closer. These omnivores will eat almost anything they come into contact with, living on plant matter or insects like mice or small animals like snakes or dead animals like rats.
Where Do Opossums Live or Hangout in Homes?
In the wild, opossums live in woodland areas near water, like swamps and streams. However, their extreme adaptability has helped them thrive in various habitats — including urban and suburban homes alongside humans.
Because they don’t build their own dens, opossums are always on the lookout for shelter in hollow logs, abandoned animal burrows or even human-made structures. You may find an opossum taking up residence in your porch, attic, stairs or garage.
Benefits Opossums Provide
Opossums are the unsung heroes in the fight against ticks and the Lyme disease they can transmit. These little scavengers also help keep local ecosystems in balance by eating mice, rats, cockroaches, and snake. They’re beneficial for disposing of carrions, too.
What Problems Do Opossums Cause?
Despite the common misconception that opossum are destructive, they are actually very resourceful and opportunistic. These unique behaviors can lead to property damage such as overturned trash cans, ransacked birdfeeders, raided chicken coops, torn ductwork or insulation, and more.
Do Opossums Carry Diseases?
Opossums are most dangerous because they can potentially transmit diseases to both pets and people. However, their body temperatures and high immunity make it rare for an opossum to have the rabies virus. There are many parasites that opossums carry, such as fleas and flea-carrying ticks. Some of these parasites are: Tuberculosis Leptospirosis Tularemia Spotted fever Chagas disease Coccidiosis And more.
Are Opossums Dangerous to Cats or Dogs?
As with all animals, opossums largely prey on smaller mammals, such as mice and squirrels. Although these animals will not attack cats or dogs, it is unlikely that an opossum will retreat if cornered or competing for food. More commonly, they will play dead or emit a terrible stench if frightened.
In most cases, opossums do not prey on cats, dogs or other larger mammals. However, if cornered or competing for food, they may lash out. More commonly, opossums play dead or emit an awful smell if frightened.
Learn More About Customized Opossum Removal Solutions From Urban Jungle Wildlife
If you’ve noticed some paw prints with four clawed toes and one off to the side, you might have an opossum taking up residency inside your home. We can safely and effectively remove opossums from your property or neighborhood. No service is too big or too small for us! Contact us today to learn more about our wildlife removal services.
If you notice property damage or see four clawed paws with one toe off to the side, you may have an opossum taking up residence in your home or around your property.
Contact Urban Jungle Wildlife Removal for a customized wildlife removal solution. We can safely and effectively handle all your opossum or pest problems. You’ll also love that we provide service in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.