Are Opossums a Welcome Visitor at Your House?

Mr opossum, patiently outwaiting my shorkies who had him frozen on the fence

This was the scene at my house Monday morning as I went outside to see what all the ruckus was about. The girls had “cornered” this opossum on my back fence and were going crazy trying to catch him. Again, shorkies are a terrier mix, they are vicious little hunters and won’t stop trying to catch and kill vermin until you make them. I’m also pretty sure that it was this guy or someone in his family they had on the ground a few nights before until I pulled them away and made them come in the house. All I saw without the benefit of my contact was a furry, gray ball, wedged between my wooden deck and the back wall of our house. The next morning I went to see if he was dead (I saw Brandy give him a good shake before I pulled her away) and he was gone! I guess he was “playing possom”

Now, before you freak out like I used to do before I was educated to the facts, let me tell you why opossums make good visitors.

  • Great for pest control- they eat snakes, insects, snails, slugs, eggs, mice, rats, fish, frogs, crayfish, and carrion.
  • They never stay long in one place
  • Only seen in the daylight when food is scarce
  • Not dangerous unless cornered
  • Clean and well groomed like a cat
  • Extremely rare for them to carry rabies

So whatever you may have heard, they are not bad to have around and may even help you get rid of rats (we do see less now by the way) but if you want to minimize the chances you will have them visit your house, do these things and they might just move on to the next neighbor:

  1. Secure under deck, house eaves and chimney access points with sturdy mesh wire
  2. Keep your pet’s food inside
  3. Secure compost piles (animal secure compost bins are available commercially
  4. Clean outdoor barbeque grills and grease catch cans
  5. Keep garbage cans tightly closed
  6. Don’t leave bird food out at night

It is not a good idea to feed them or any other wildlife, this may lead to your pets getting parasites they may not have previously come in contact with.  Although they are resistant to many animal diseases such as distemper, if you are scratched or bitten, it is best to clean the wound thoroughly and go see your doctor.

So they may not be the most handsome animal, but they are really nice to have around for a while. Don’t worry, they won’t attack your pets, chew your electric wires or dig up your flower bulbs. He will hang around as long as there is a food source and then he will move along.

An opossum with her young

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced a visit from one of these gentle animals? Let me know in the comments. Have a great Wednesday and I will see you later, I’ll keep on studying for now (for my job at Crowd Content) on the patio. 😉