Wildlife Tips: Dealing with Opossums

Most people may not know much about opossums, the only marsupial mammal in North America. While they tend to have a pretty poor public image, they’re quite fascinating wildlife.

Primarily active at night, these nocturnal critters have a surprisingly short gestation period of only 13 days. When the 13th day is reached, up to 14 joeys (young opossums) crawl into their mother’s pouch and attach to a nipple for two months. 

As nocturnal creatures, opossums are most active in the night.

Like many wildlife mammals, opossums can be quite intimidating when one feeling in danger or cornered. They can hiss, growl and possibly even bite if agitated enough. Don’t let their defensiveness fool you though, most often they’re putting on a show and don’t want trouble.

In fact, did you know that when these creatures “play possum,” they’re actually involuntarily passing out from fright?

When reaching a level of fright, a physiological switch flips and their bodies just shut down. Fortunately for them, this usually confuses any adversaries into leaving. When the opossum wakes up from their pass-out, and see that the danger has subsided, they wander off to safety.

“Don’t let their defensiveness fool you though, most often they’re putting on a show and don’t want trouble. “

Opossums usually become a nuisance when they hole up in an attic or crawl space. Being scavengers and professional trashcan raiders, they can tend to stink up the place, and scare the homeowners themselves.

Best practices

The best practices when finding opossums taking up a residence in your home, is to:

  1. Give them space – as mentioned, these little firecrackers can stand their ground when feeling threatened but aren’t frightened enough to play possum. You don’t want to get bit by one of these guys; not only can it be painful, but the opossume can unknowingly carry a number of diseases.

  2. Isolate them – If you find an opossum in a certain part of your house, whether it be the attic, crawl space or elsewhere, make sure to dissuade them from wandering through your home by blocking off that space until you can have professionals come and get them.

  3. Call a professional, such as AWL Wildlife Removal and have one of our experts come to your residence as quickly as possible. Our staff are trained to make sure that these guys are removed from your home safely without hurting or endangering the opossums. Wildlife is also life after all, and these creatures, while sometimes a nuisance, are simply looking for a safe place to be just like all of us.

If you want to learn more about opossums, check out this page from National Geographic, and find out just how interesting these creatures are!

If you have any specific questions about opossums in Georgia, or think you may have an opossum problem in your home, click the button below to send us a message:

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