In Louisiana, we are no strangers to critters walking among us. Raccoons, deer, squirrels, armadillos are seen as often in a backyard as a family dog or cat. Wild critters are everywhere. Opossums are pretty common. In the past they were always viewed as a nuisance with a bad attitude, but that view is changing.
Opossums are now being viewed as helpful creatures, despite the myths and their not-so-nice demeanor.
According to Furbearer Conservation, the benefits of the opossum outweighs the negatives. Actually there aren’t that many negatives when you break it down. Here’s some interesting facts.
Opossums are North America’s only marsupial — meaning their young are raised in pouches, much like kangaroos.
Many people don’t realize that there is a difference between opossums and possums. It’s an entirely different species, actually. Here’s more on that. Playing possum is more than just playing dead — it’s actually one of the animal kingdom’s best defense mechanisms for a natural born prey.
Opossums are extremely beneficial to have around when it comes to gardens and overall pest control, even though we commonly see them as pests themselves. Opossums eat everything. From trash to chickens to berries to snakes (even the venomous ones) — they are the ultimate pest control.
Scientists have deemed them to be extremely beneficial for a multitude of things, including some that can be life-saving to humans.
Here’s a busted myth about opossums – they’re one of the LEAST likely to contract the rabies virus in the mammalian species. The Furbearer Conversation crunched the data and only 1 in 800 opossums contract the disease. This is attributed to their lower-than-normal body temperature where rabies cannot thrive.
Another really cool thing about opossums — when it comes to ticks, including carriers of Lyme Disease, Opossums are a magnet for them which is great cause Opposums love to eat them. They are also meticulous groomers and the combination turns them into one of nature’s best pest control agents.
So, if you see an opossum roaming around your yard or along the fence line, leave them be. They’re helping you out, one way or another. Yeah, they may be surly and have a seemingly bad attitude but they also might be your best friend in the animal kingdom.
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