Jacks, Jills, and Joeys
Opossums reproduce twice a year and are the only marsupial found naturally in North America. The male (jack) mates with the female (jill) and after a gestation of just 12 to 13 days, the jill gives birth to up to 20 live babies (joeys). The joeys are about the size of jelly beans when they are born, but they crawl into the mother’s pouch to continue developing. The joeys will then move out of the pouch, and travel on their mother’s back for about 100 days.
Scavengers and Squatters
Opossums are scavengers. They will raid garbage cans, dumpsters, and other containers as well as hunt mice, birds, insects, worms, snakes, and even chickens. They like roadkill just as much as grass, nuts, and fruit. As nocturnal animals, they favor dark, secure areas both below and above ground. They will occupy abandoned burrows, but they don’t put much effort into building their own. Opossums will stay in one area as long as food and water are easily available and then move to another location.
Baby opossums will make a sneezing noise to signal their mother if they become separated or distressed, and they will quietly hiss at any threat. Adult opossums (especially males) will growl deeply, and raise their pitch if the threat becomes more urgent. When threatened or harmed, adult opossums will “play possum”, mimicking the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal. This physiological response is not a conscious decision. The involuntary act causes the animal’s eyes to close or half-close and its lips to draw back, baring its teeth. Saliva foams around its mouth and it secretes a foul-smelling fluid. The opossum can be moved and carried without reaction and will typically begin to slightly twitch its ears before regaining consciousness (anywhere between a few minutes to 4 hours).
1. “Adult opossums hang by their tails.” Fact: Opossums use their tails as a brace and a fifth limb when climbing, but adult opossums tails are not strong enough to support their weight, though babies may dangle for a bit.
2. “Opossums have rabies.” Fact: Only around one in eight hundred opossums is infected with rabies. Opossums are actually about eight times less likely to carry rabies than wild dogs.
If you need opossums removed from your residential or commercial properties, call Wild Trappers. Our state certified wildlife trappers will remove opossums and any other nuisance wildlife from your property via safe and humane animal trapping and removal techniques. We repair any animal damage, clean-up droppings and nesting materials and prevent re-entry. We’ll inspect your property inside and out, top to bottom, to identify the entry points and potential problem areas while offering you safe and cost effective solutions. Call us today for a quote or inspection.