10 Opossum Facts You Didn't Know

Commonly known as the North American opossum, the Virginia opossum is the only marsupial found in the United States. About the size of a house cat, opossums are nocturnal creatures that are often attracted to residential homes and commercial businesses in search of food, water, and shelter. If you encounter an opossum on your property, here are some facts for you to consider before you attempt to approach or handle the wild animal.

10 Facts About Opossums

Some surprising and interesting facts about opossums you may not know include:

  1. Opossums are very smart creatures. Opossums may come off as unintelligent, but they actually have a keen ability to scavenge for food and remember where it is, find their way through a maze, and outshine the intelligence of rats, rabbits, cats, and dogs.
  2. Opossums have thumbs. Opossums are the only native non-primate in the U.S to have opposable thumbs, called the hallux, like humans and other primates. The hallux gives the critter a better grasp and ability to climb than other mammals.
  3. Opossums have impressively strong tails. Opossums also have long, hairless prehensile tails that they use to hang upside down on trees. Their tails also act as a fifth appendage to aid them in better balance.
  4. Opossums are opportunistic omnivores. An opossum’s diet consists of carrion, rodents, snakes, insects, snails, slugs, birds, eggs, frogs, plants, fruits, and grains. However, opossums will adjust their diet based on factors such as season and location and will eat other food from your property.
  5. Opossums act dead when threatened. Opossums naturally defend themselves by running, growling, belching, urinating, and defecating. However, if they feel threatened enough, the critter will infamously “play possum,” or play dead by rolling over, showing its teeth, and secreting a potent smell from its anal glands.
  6. Opossums carry their young in a pouch. Jills,female opossums, care for their young joeys in their pouches after a two week gestational period.
  7. Opossums groom themselves. The critters constantly lick their paws and wipe their face, as well as use their claws to clean their bodies. Female opossums ensure that their pouch is also well-kempt.
  8. Opossums gravitate toward water. Opossums instinctually gravitate to places with a reliable source of water. They can also swim generally well and may use the water to escape predators.
  9. Opossums provide free pest control. Opossums can be beneficial to your garden as they eat rotting fruit, sand, vegetables, and insects that may be harmful to the state of your vegetation.
  10. Opossums have natural immunity. Opossums are naturally immune to certain snake venom and diseases like rabies.

The Importance of Professional Opossum Removal

While they are very rarely carriers of transmittable diseases due to their low body temperature, opossums can spread fleas and diseases such as leptospirosis or Salmonella. Therefore, it is important to count on licensed specialists to solve your opossum infestation. Coming in contact with the critter can inflict harm on you, your loved ones, and your pets if not handled properly.

Humane Opossum Removal in Lake County, Florida

If you encounter a wild opossum on your Lake County property, it is vital to keep a safe distance from the animal and contact the wildlife removal experts at Critter Control® of Lake County immediately. Our professionals are licensed, trained, and equipped to safely handle the infestation and humanely remove nuisance opossums with our CritterSafe® wildlife methods.

To schedule an appointment and receive a free estimate for our opossum removal services, call us today at 352-204-0074.


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