As rural land is continuously developed, opossums are pushed out of their natural habitat and forced to search for food and shelter in residential areas.
While opossums are fascinating creatures, the oft-misunderstood critters aren’t the cleanest animals and can create quite a mess if they manage to wander onto your Orlando property. Here are 10 interesting facts about opossums that will illustrate why you don’t want them living on your property or inside your home.
10 Interesting Opossum Facts
1. Opossums have been around a long time.
Opossums roamed the same land with dinosaurs over 70 million years ago. While dinosaurs are now extinct, there are more than 60 species of opossums. They are clearly natural survivors that can last anywhere they decide to nest, including your home.
2. Opossums have naturally high levels of immunity.
Opossums are more resistant to contracting diseases likes rabies than any other mammal. They are also partially or entirely immune to snake venom, thanks to the serum protein in their blood that neutralizes it.
3. Opossums are nicknamed “nature’s little sanitation engineers.”
Opossums are opportunistic omnivores with a diet consisting of insects, snails, slugs, birds, frogs, rodents, eggs, fruits, plants, grains, and carrion. They also feed on human and pet food, and whatever scraps they can find in garbage cans or compost piles. They have an extremely high need for calcium which provokes them to eat the skeletons of the dead animals they consume. Their eating habits can result in scattered trash and destroyed gardens if you don’t quickly address their presence.
4. Opossums are marsupials, not rodents.
Though many people refer to opossums as large rats, they are actually marsupials (pouched mammals), like kangaroos and koalas.
5. Opossums are America’s only native marsupial.
In fact, the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is the only marsupial in all of North America.
6. Opossums provide pest control.
While you don’t want an opossum eating fruit and vegetables growing in your garden, they are great for cleaning up rotten fruit from the ground as well as feasting on pesky snails, slugs, cockroaches, and beetles.
7. Opossums have opposable digits.
The opposable “thumbs” on the opossum’s rear feet assist them in climbing and opening trash lids. In addition to opossums, primates are the only other mammals with opposable first toes.
8. Opossums can hang by their tails.
Opossums use their long, hairless prehensile tails to grasp materials and wrap around objects such as tree limbs. And, while they can hang from their tails for a brief time, they don’t actually sleep upside down like a lot of people may think.
9. There is a reason why they call it “playing ‘possum.”
When threatened, opossums pretend they are dead by rolling over, closing their eyes, becoming stiff, and forming a foul-smelling fluid from their glands.
10. Opossums have over four dozen teeth.
The mouth of an opossum has 50 teeth, more than any other North American land mammal. While opossums are mostly docile creatures, all wild animals are unpredictable. Therefore, you should never try to approach or capture an opossum if you encounter one on your property. Instead, rely on the opossum removal professionals at Critter Control® of Orlando.
Effective Opossum Removal in Orlando
If you come across opossums living on your property, Critter Control® of Orlando can help. During our initial inspection, we will determine the size, scale, and location of your opossum infestation and strategize an effective and humane plan to safely remove the critters. Once all opossums are gone, we will seal any openings, clean up the mess they made, and repair any damages.
For more information or to schedule an inspection and receive a free opossum removal estimate, call Critter Control® of Orlando today at 407-295-7194.