Opossums Will Settle Wherever Food Is Readily Available

an opossum walking along a fence in a houston texas residential backyard

Depending upon the species, opossums can range in size from large house cats to small mice. Most species are semi-arboreal omnivores, which, in practical terms, means that they’ll eat almost anything. Much like mice and rats, opossums are among the most successful vermin on earth, thanks largely to their unspecialized biology, flexible diet, and breeding habits. They can survive and often thrive in even the most diverse locations and climates.

Opossums have remarkably well-developed immune systems, and many species exhibit partial or total immunity to the venom of rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and other vipers. Interestingly, opossums are about eight times less likely than wild dogs to carry rabies. They are generally solitary creatures and are known to stay in one area as long as food and water are readily available. Primarily nocturnal, opossums prefer quiet, secure areas to sleep during the day, and will sometimes seek out ready-made burrows for a form of temporary shelter.

Perhaps the most notable behavior of the opossums, however, is its unique ability to play dead - or "possum" - as the old idiom goes. When an opossum is threatened or harmed, it will involuntarily mimic the appearance and smell of a corpse. When this hard-wired defense mechanism takes effect, its lips will be drawn back, saliva will foam from the mouth, the eyes close or roll back, and a foul-smelling liquid is secreted from the anal glands. Though this behavior is apparently effective against would-be predators, the animal is, for all intents and purposes, completely defenseless during this period, and can be poked, rolled over, and even carried away without eliciting a response. The opossum will typically regain consciousness within forty minutes, although the process can sometimes take up to four hours. In conjunction with their ability to play dead, adult opossums will growl deeply or hiss at a perceived threat.

Opossums can be found in most regions throughout North America, though are considered invasive species in Southern Ontario and British Colombia. They are considered pests because of their tendency to dig up gardens in search of berries and nuts, and, like raccoons, will almost inevitably root through outdoor garbage cans in the hopes of coming across discarded food.

Cantu Pest & Termites cares about the safe and humane trapping of the wildlife that has invaded your home or business. We believe that wildlife invaders do not have to be killed in order to solve the invasion. After our opossum removal professionals have properly and thoroughly employed measures that will eliminate future wildlife infestation then the property owner may choose to have any wildlife in and around the property caught in humane traps.

If opossums or other pests have made unwanted appearances around your home, call Cantu Pest & Termite and schedule an appointment today with one of our friendly, experienced opossum removal experts.

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