Did you know, Opossums and Possums are NOT the same animals? We provide opossum removal services.
Opossum v. Possums
In the States, opossum, and possum describe the same critter. However, to those in Australia, the word possum refers to a different animal. Possums look like a cuddly cross between a squirrel and chinchilla. Also, Possums belong to a separate scientific order than the U.S. mammal which it shares a name.
Here, we see the Virginia Opossum. It is described as an oversized furry rat with a tail as long as its body. Also, considered unintelligent, nasty creatures and most famously known for playing dead. Many call this act "playing possum."
The truth is, opossums are quite smart. They are cleaner than most other wildlife and very beneficial to our world. Some intriguing characteristics of opossums are:
Their memories are quite sharp, and they're known for remembering trails that lead to food and can recall the smell of toxic substances up to a year after trying them.
Like cats, they'll use their tongues and paws to groom frequently and thoroughly. They also lack sweat glands, which render them odorless.
They slow the spread of Lyme Disease by consuming up to 90 percent of ticks that attach to them. A single opossum can consume over 5,000 of them during the height of tick season.
Opossums are virtually immune to most snake venom and often pursue snakes as meals.
They seldom contract rabies due to their body temperature. On average, it is lower than most animals in their category. As a result, their bodies typically can't harbor the disease.
Opossums are marsupials. They carry their young in a frontal pouch similar to Kangaroos. As a result, the only marsupials found north of Mexico.
Their ability to "play dead" is a defense mechanism. They have no control over when or how long they do it. It's a comatose-like state. Thus, an involuntary reaction triggered by stress. Also, they release a secretion from their rectum. This putrid scent helps protect them from predators. As a result, most predators often choose to move on to more appealing meals. We call this scent, the smell of death!
Opossums are also known to hiss and show their teeth as a defense mechanism to humans. However, it is rare for one to take a stance of aggression towards people.
Opossum Disease & Removal
However, opossums do carry diseases. They are many except rabies. Here, the University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources discusses opossums and the diseases they carry.