The opossum (or simply "possum," as opossums are often called) is one of the odder-looking animals native to Georgia. Opossums can be found throughout our North Georgia service areas and most of North America.
Opossums have long, rat-like prehensile tails, five-toed feet with opposable thumbs whose prints look almost like miniature human footprints, dog-like jaws with sharp teeth, and big, round, hairless ears.
No wonder that some have described the opossum as looking like it was created from "God's spare parts!"
The opossum is also one of the more misunderstood wildlife species found in America. Because of their long, rat-like tails, many people believe the possum to be rodents. But they're not.
So please don't refer to opossum as rodents. They get highly insulted.
The opossum is actually North America's only native marsupial. Marsupials are animals who raise their infant young in a marsupium, or pouch, on the mother's body. The 'possum is actually a cousin to the kangaroo and the koala, and is completely unrelated to the rats, despite their rat-like tails.
In fact, not only are opossum not rodents, they'll actually eat rodents, so they do help to keep rat and mouse populations down. Their other preferred foods include insects, snails, carrion, berries, over-ripe fruits, and grasses; but when push comes to shove, an opossum will eat pretty much anything.
Finally, although 'possums have a reputation for being "dumb as dirt," they're actually pretty bright as four-legged critters go. This can make opossum control pretty challenging at times.
Opossums are usually harmless. They are passive by nature and rarely attack humans or domestic animals. They have a fairly low risk of rabies. They don't generally dig up yards or otherwise destroy property, and what little damage they do to crops is generally trivial and is outweighed by their usefulness in keeping the rodent population down.
So for the most part, opossums who wander through your yard looking for a mouse or rat to eat can probably be left alone. Aside from being funny looking as all get-out, they do more good than harm.
But there are a few situations in which professional possum trapping or control is necessary.
Possums are usually harmless. Aside from being funny-looking, they usually don't bother anyone. But when an opossum takes up residence in your basement, attic, garage, shed, barn, or other building and doesn't leave on its own within a few days, then opossum control needed. 'Possum trapping should be followed by repairs and exclusion to keep opossums out in the future.
Another case in which 'possum control is necessary is around horse ranches, stables, and corrals. Opossums are capable of transmitting a parasite known as Sarcocystis neurona, which causes a serious equine disease called Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM). Proper exclusion of opossums (and other animals) from areas where horses are kept, as well as the elimination of wild animal attractants, are important parts of protecting valuable horses from EPM and helping to prevent other arboviral and parasitic equine diseases.
Here are some pictures of opossum, opossum trapping, and opossum removal we've done in Georgia. You can also click here for a video of Jeff with a baby possum he caught.
With offices throughout our service area, Rid-A-Critter has the tools and personnel to handle any animal control job, so please call us today.