Opossums can be as large as a house cat, and they can be from 15 to 20 inches long. They may weigh 10 to 13 pounds. Just like humans, their weight and height vary. Opossums are not picky about what they eat, so they consume whatever they can find like carrion and table scraps. They also like most kinds of cat food, especially the canned varieties. Their normal diet consists of plants, grains, fruits, frogs, insects, rodents and carrion.
The opossum may try to eat small critters like young kittens, amphibians, reptiles or mice when food sources are scarce. They usually leave larger animals alone, and they could be harmed by a full grown cat or dog. They are not known to be fighters despite putting on a fearsome display when threatened. Most of the time, they will decide to flee or play dead instead.
Wildlife as well as humans have coexisted since the dawn of time. There has been increased communication between wild animals with people in the more recent times because of humans’ extensive development and encroachment on the natural habitats of numerous animals. This means it is more common for people to find wild animals such as raccoons, opossums, and deer on their property. Wild animals are known to be quite destructive and can carry dangerous diseases that can pose a risk to humans. The animals that have to keep away from opossums are birds, sea otters and horses. These animals are at high risk of suffering from sarcocystosis when they ingest the opossum feces. The opossums are lazy, so they usually don’t hunt but look for food that is readily available. When chickens or fish start disappearing, it is probably due to a badger, fox or raccoon and not an opossum. When you see an opossum eating fish, it means that it may have come across some remains that other creatures left behind. The opossums will not also dig in the yard. They normally use the holes that others have dug because they are not miners on their own. When there are holes in the yard, you should keep a lookout for armadillos or groundhogs.
The opossums live in rural areas, but now they are more commonly seen in urban environments. Even though they are not able to jump, they are good climbers. It is hard to keep the opossums out by using just a fence. With their opposable thumbs and prehensile tail, they may scale any obstacle. The opossums are normally nocturnal and they forage in the night, but it is not that unusual to see some opossums in the daytime, mostly in cold weather. They may also be seen if food is scarce or if they have been disturbed where they were sleeping. Winter months may make the opossums change their foraging habits from the night to the day so that they can take advantage of warm weather and the sunlight hours.
We are the Pest Education Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on wildlife and pest removal education. Our approach utilizes Integrated Pest Management, a strategy advocating prevention and humane methods.