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About the size of a cat, opossums are nocturnal marsupials that resemble large furry rats. They are mostly non-violent critters that prefer to play dead than engage in a fight, however; they can be a threat to humans and pets if provoked or infected with a disease like rabies. If you encounter an opossum on your property, here’s how to tell if it is rabid.

Diseases Transmitted by Opossum

While an opossum’s low body temperature often makes it difficult for the rabies virus to survive, they can still transmit the disease. In fact, one in 800 opossums are infected with the rabies virus. They have also been known to carry other diseases such as toxoplasmosis, trichomoniasis, tularemia, coccidiosis, leptospirosis, spotted fever, relapsing fever, and tuberculosis. Opossums can also be infested with lice, fleas, ticks, and mites which each carry their own variety of infectious diseases.

Signs of a Rabid Opossum

A rabid opossum is volatile and should not be approached. Symptoms of a rabid opossum include:

  • Aggression
  • Incoordination
  • Circling
  • Muscle tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Excess saliva or foaming at the mouth

Dangers of Opossum

When threatened, opossums like to screech, hiss, and “play possum” by laying completely still in order to fool a predator into thinking it is dead. If you or your pet comes across a motionless opossum, don’t be fooled. When approached, an opossum can bite, scratch, or attack with its sharp teeth and claws to defend itself. If a rabid opossum manages to break your skin in an attack, their saliva can infect you with a disease.

Keeping Opossums Away

Opossums are attracted to dark homes with readily available food sources. Keeping your porch lights on and your pet’s food and water bowls inside at night will help deter opossum activity on your property.

If an opossum lingering around your home has you worried about the safety of your pets, then contact the professional opossum removal experts at Critter Control® of Orlando. We will safely and humanely remove any nuisance opossum and take the proper steps to ensure they don’t return. For more information or to schedule your free consultation, call us today at 407-295-7194.

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