Opossum FactsThe Virginia opossum, most commonly seen in North America, is a “cousin” to the Australian possum. It is a marsupial, but the similarities to kangaroos and koalas end there. They are, generally, harmless, but can cause minor property damage looking for food.
- Opossums are nocturnal. Unlike raccoons, they try and avoid humans and very rarely carry rabies because of a low body temperature.
- They may bite when approached by a predator, but prefer to “play possum”: appearing dead and emitting a decaying odor to keep intruders away.
- They eat cockroaches, crickets and beetles, snakes, slugs, mice, rats, rotting fruit, human garbage, dead animals and small reptiles. Because opossums eat so many pests, they have been called Nature’s Exterminators.
- Opossums have very poor eyesight and can only see about six inches in front of their noses. They “see” with their keen sense of smell.
Keeping Opossums Away
There are some very simple steps to keeping opossums away from your home:
- Keep pet food and water indoors, in a tightly sealed container.
- Clean your yard of rotting fruit.
- Keep a tight seal on garbage containers.
- Cover your pool in the winter and monitor that no opossum has fallen in looking for a drink.