Meg Pearson, Training ManagerMeg Pearson, Wildlife Training Manager

The house mouse is also known as the Mus musculus. It is known for its large ears, pointed snout, and virtually hairless tail. 

The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial the lives in North America. Opossums have adapted to live in urban and suburban environments. 

Benefits of Opossums in Your Yard

Opossums provide natural pest control. Opossums are omnivores and will eat a wide variety of foods including pests such as insects, ticks, small rodents, and even scavenge animal carcasses and roadkill. The opossum diet changes slightly depending on the season. For example, the pests eat a lot of insects in the summer while they mostly consume small mammals in the winter.

How to Attract Opossums to Your Yard

Providing resources for food, water, and shelter can attract opossums. They prefer to nest in tree cavities or abandoned dens of other animals but will often times take up residence in unoccupied attics, garages, sheds, or beneath porches. Opossums are opportunist and will take advantage of any area that they deem suitable for shelter.  With that being said, the same things to attract opossums can also attract raccoons, skunks, squirrels, and other nuisance wildlife. 

Are Opossums Dangerous?

Opossums are not likely to attack humans unless provoked, but they can damage your property, especially if they take up residence in an attic, barn, shed, etc. Opossums will steal eggs from chicken coops. They make a mess rummaging in garbage cans and eating left out pet food.

How to Prevent Opossums

To keep opossums out of your yard, you need to keep in mind what initially attracts them to it to begin with: food. Opossums are willing to eat just about anything, so be sure to keep your yard food-free:

  • Keep all garbage and food scraps tightly sealed, so there’s no obvious food sources lying around for them to inspect and chow down on.
  • Keep your yard well groomed. Be sure to pick up sticks, keep your leaves raked and your grass mowed. Failure to maintain your lawn could attract snakes, rodents and other critters that will, in turn, attract opossums to come along in hopes of eating them.

The best way to keep opossums from getting into your home is to physically prevent them from entering. This can be done by conducting annual inspections of your home’s exterior. Amid that process, be sure to:

  • Plug any gaps along your home’s foundation
  • Cover vents with metal vent covers
  • Attach metal flashing or quarter-inch hardware cloth to protect other openings that must be maintained for airflow or exhaust.

Biggest Opossum Myth Debunked

The biggest misconception surrounding opossums is that they are carriers of rabies. Opossums are rarely known to contract rabies and are even less likely to pass it on to other organisms. One interesting fact about Opossums is they are the only marsupial (pouched mammal) in North America. Additionally, Opossums are known to “play dead” when frightened.

About Meg Pearson

Meg has over 13 years of experience in the wildlife industry. She started as a wildlife technician and was district manager and technical training manager supporting the Southeast Region.  She currently is one of the company’s wildlife training managers. As one of the training managers, her primary focus is special projects and leading Women in Wildlife.

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