Commonly misidentified as possums, opossums are actually an entirely different species which originate from a different continent. North America is home to the opossum, while Australia hosts the possum. Supposedly, the confusion began with the famous explorer Captain James Cook and his voyages to Australia after spending time in Canada. Upon discovering the Australian marsupial, his botanist Sir Joseph Banks called it a possum due to its similarities of size and habits to its Canadian counterpart.
North American opossums (Didelphidae) can be easily spotted by their long, pointy noses, white furry faces with black ears, sharp teeth, and prehensile tails. Their young are born prematurely and spend up to 13 weeks in their mother’s pouch.
Opossums are common in the most southern part of Ontario, due to their inability to adapt to severe cold. The highly populated great lake region between Toronto and Detroit, full of residential areas to scavenge and campgrounds to scour, is the perfect mildly-weathered place for opossums to live.
Behaviour and Habits
Due to their scavenging nature, high-pitched screams, unpleasant smell, and unappealing look, opossums are highly unwanted around homes. Much like raccoons, these nocturnal animals make their homes under decks, in garages, or in burrows beneath buildings. They come out at night, chew up vegetation, and go through garbage. The are omnivorous creatures and will eat just about anything—grass, fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish.
Dealing with an Infestation
Fortunately, despite their long and sharp teeth, opossums are not considered to be violent animals. Think skunk without the spray. They get scared easily and run away at the slightest threat of danger. This doesn’t mean that you should go in there home with your bare hands and pull them out of their holes. It also doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous! They can carry rabies, zoonosis, fleas, and will bite if you get too close.
The best way to deal with opossums is to find where they’re living and specifically, their entry point. They don’t usually dig a way into their new homes, but instead find holes that are already there. You can locate these doors by spotting feces or smelling urine from a particular area around your home.
Each opossum infestation is different, and depending on where they are burrowed, they might be very difficult to lure out. Some areas protect opossums and law states that they must be removed ethically without hurting or killing them. They might even have little baby joeys in their nest.
For these reasons, the next step is to call pest control. They will use guaranteed methods and tools for removing opossums in a safe manner, while giving you recommendations for pest-proofing your home and backyard. Located in the Greater Toronto Area, Raider Wildlife Control takes pride in assisting residential and commercial clients with the humane removal of opossums and other pest infestations that destroy property and cause health risks. If you have possums, get in touch with them today and let the professionals solve your pest problems.