Possums are medium-sized marsupials native to North America. Scientifically named Virginia Opossum, they are the only species found in the United States. They are omnivorous, which means they eat all kinds of things from fruits and berries to bugs, including cockroaches, crickets and beetles. Like French cuisine connoisseurs, they relish snails. And they also eat mice and rats, toads and snakes.
For this reason, many Austin homeowners cherish their resident possum, who works quietly at night, clearing our gardens of unwanted pests. Some people refer to the possum as Nature’s Little Sanitation Engineer.
Possums are capable climbers and can scale almost any structure. They have prehensile tails and opposable thumbs, meaning they can grip things with their tail and paws, like a monkey. Possums are solitary and nomadic, but usually remain in one area where food and water are readily available.
These are the guidelines we follow when relocation is the best outcome for homeowner and wildlife.
As noted, possums are worth keeping on your property. However, if you don’t want it there, we have a number of recommendations on how to make your home less attractive to possums and how to discourage them.
In the rare case that the possum needs to be relocated, you should contract with a professional, licensed critter control and relocation service, like YardDoc.
Possums are not aggressive or dangerous. On the contrary, they are quite shy and docile.
While they can look fierce when they open their mouths and bare their teeth, making a hissing noise, this is all actually a scared-stiff defense mechanism.
Possums try avoid any confrontation. If they can’t get away, they will play dead as a last resort. When they adopt the frozen, mouth-wide-open stance you will notice that they do have pretty nasty looking teeth, and being a wild animal they can be unpredictable. Although not common, they may bite as a last resort, so don’t pick one up, not even one that’s playing possum!
As far as diseases, possums appear to be resistant to rabies and Lyme disease, and have immunity from snake venom.
No. They will make every effort to avoid any contact with people or pets.
In fact, their short life-span of one to two years is due to possums being killed by dogs, cats and other predators.
Possums, like most other critters will find your property attractive if it has available water, food and a place to shelter.
Here are some easy and effective actions you can take to discourage a possum from hanging around your home.
If these less direct approaches don’t motivate the critter to move on voluntarily, then contact a professional and licensed wildlife relocation service like YardDoc to humanely remove the offending possum.
Yes there is, if it is done right!
Relocating a possum or any wild animal cannot be guaranteed as humane, because the animal is taken out of its home environment.
When it’s moved to a new location, it may end up competing with existing animal populations for water, food territory and shelter spots. If it is done correctly, as we do at YardDoc, then the relocated animal has a fighting chance.
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