Opossum Facts

In North America, opossums are found in the eastern, central, and west coast states.

Opossums live in a variety of habitats, ranging from dry to wet areas and from woodlands to open fields. They prefer areas near streams or swamps.

Opossums are the only marsupial in North America. They are nocturnal, are great climbers and are often seen in trees or other high places such as hay lofts or attics.

If the opossum is cornered, because it is slow and can not run away quickly, it may do one of several things, including: bare teeth, growl, hiss, bite, screech, and expel a smelly greenish fluid from their anal glands. If these methods are unsuccessful, the animal may play dead.

Opossums make living quarters in a variety of areas, such as culverts, tree cavities, burrows of other animals, brush piles and buildings. Because they are not afraid of humans, they have also been known to den in attics or garages.

The opossum is an omnivore, which means they will eat nearly anything. Foods preferred by opossums are insects, carrion and animal matter. They will also eat fruits and grains. Any food with a fowl odor will attract an opossum.

Good opossum bait includes: slightly spoiled meat, strong smelling fish, cheese and rotten eggs.

Signs

Often, seeing tracks is the only way to determine the presence of a nuisance opossum. They are not shy or afraid. Their tracks are also a good identifier. Both front and hind feet look as if they were made by a human hand with spread fingers. Damage from an opossum can be mistaken as damage caused by a raccoon.

Opossums are known to be a nuisance near homes and building sites where they eat food from bird feeders, pet feeders, and garbage cans. They can destroy poultry and game birds and their nests. Opossums sometimes live in buildings, particularly barns and outbuildings and they may sometimes live in house attics. They can create large messes with their fecal matter.

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