Are Opossums Dangerous?

Are Opossums Dangerous?
Are Opossums Dangerous?

Did you come face to face with an opossum and are now wondering if opossums are dangerous?  We will will answer the question of whether opossums are dangerous by going over the risks associated with opossums and other facts about them.  If there is a question you have regarding opossums that we do not answer here, please comment below and we will be happy to answer it.

It is important to first understand all wildlife can carry diseases and present potential risks to people and their pets.  Please do not handle wildlife if you are not trained and have the proper protective equipment.

Can opossums get rabies?

Rabies tends to be one of the greatest concerns when it comes to wildlife interactions and rightfully so.  The rabies virus is a infectious disease that if you or a pet comes in contact with and goes untreated in the early stages is lethal.  If you our your pets come in direct contact with any wildlife you should seek professional medical advice.

So do opossums carry rabies?  Opossums are not classified as a rabies vector or species of wildlife known to carry the rabies virus.  This does not mean that it is impossible for the opossum to get the virus but odds are they will not have rabies.  Scientists believe the opossum is not a suitable host for the rabies virus due to the fact it has lower body temperature then other mammals.

What diseases do opossums carry?

Now that we have rabies out of the way the question is now what diseases do opossums carry?  Most disease risks that are present from the opossum come from their feces and fleas / ticks carried by the opossum.  These diseases include but are not limited to leptospirosis, salmonella, toxoplasmosis, coccidiosis, tularemia and flea-borne typhus.

Are opossums aggressive?

Opossums are not typically aggressive towards people.  They may open their mouth and hiss, play dead or run away and hide but that is normally the extent of their interactions with people.  

On the other hand opossums are known to raid chicken coops.  If they can gain access to you chicken areas they may eat your eggs or even attack and eat a chicken.  It is important if you have chickens to ensure your coop is predator proof from the ground up.

Opossum Playing Dead

One of the defenses of the opossum is the playing dead. This defense is designed to confuse the predator and give the opossum an opportunity to escape.

How to get rid of opossums?

If you are dealing with a opossum problem it can become quite stressful and expensive if not dealt with quickly and correctly. 

Opossums Under The House

One of the most common calls our wildlife control company receives regarding opossums is they have opossums living under their house.  While opossums are not typically aggressive allowing an opossum to live under your home can become very problematic.  Opossums under the home can quickly damage or pull down the insulation throughout the crawlspace.  They can damage and tear open HVAC ducts and enter them.  And the poop!!  The opossum can leave large amounts of droppings in your crawlspace or in you HVAC ducts contaminating under your home even the air your breathing.  You may also find that if you allow the opossum to live under your home for a period of time your home may become infested with fleas.  Removing the opossum or opossums from under your home and securing / excluding the area to prevent future problems is key.  Opossum removal may include physical search and removal of the animal or trapping.  Once you have removed all animals and only once all animals are removed should you secure the area.

Opossum In The Yard

Opossums will ended up traveling through almost everyone’s yard at some point.  Whether they are just traveling through to get from point A to point B or if there is something attracting them to your yard finding them at some point in your yard is normal.  If you have something attracting them to your yard this may become an issue.  One of the most common things that attract opossums and other wildlife to peoples homes is pet food left outdoors.  If you have outdoor animals and feed them outdoors your should not leave the animal food out overnight.  It is best to only put food out at feeding times. 

Will opossums leave on their own?

If you have a opossum in your yard it will likely move along once it is ready to.  If you have opossums living under your home the odds are they will have to be removed in order for them to leave.  They have claimed your home as their own and will not give up the safety and comfort of their home willingly.

Other facts about opossums

Opossums VS Possums

Opossums are often mislabeled or miscatagorized as possums here in North Carolina.  In the United States and more specifically here in North Carolina we the the Virginia Opossum.  The possum is a species found in Australia, New Zealand and China.  While most of us here in the area understand that when we call it either a possum or opossum we are talking about the Virginia Opossum.

Opossums Are Marsupials

The Virginia Opossum is the only Marsupial native to the United States.  What is a marsupial?  Marsupials are mammals that carry their young in a pouch.  This is important because depending on what time of year it is it may look like one opossum but it could be an adult female carrying up to 10 juveniles in here pouch that you cannot see.

Do Opossums Eat Ticks?

In short opossums do eat ticks but it is not something they necessary scavenge for.  Opossums are omnivores and have a wide range of diet.  Typically the opossums tick consumption comes from eating ticks they collect on their fur due to traveling in tick prone areas.  When opossum are looking for food they tend to search for more fulfilling meals like larger insects or even roadkill.

Are Opossums Protected In North Carolina?

In the state of North Carolina the Virginia Opossum is classified a native wildlife species and all classified species of native wildlife are protected.  What does this mean?  It means that dealing with opossums is regulated by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and that to take (hunt or trap) a opossum requires licensing / permitting.  If you are dealing with a opossum problem and do not understand or know the laws and regulations please contact a professional wildlife control company or the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Can Opossums Be Relocated In North Carolina?

In the State of North Carolina the Virginia Opossum is not on the list restricting relocation.  So in short the Virginia Opossum can be relocated in North Carolina.  North Carolina requires all relocations to be on private property that you have permission to relocate the animal to.  This means it is illegal to simply drive an animal down the road and let go or take it to a park and let it go.


Professional Opossum Removal Service

If you are dealing with a Opossum problem and need professional opossum removal services Freedom Wildlife Solutions is here to help.  Our team is trained and equipped to remove your problem critters, repair any damage caused by the opossum and install preventative measures to ensure you are safe from it happening again.  To learn more about our services check out our Opossum Removal page.

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