Are Opossums Harmless?November 20, 2018
Could this baby opossum that was dropped off at our hospital be any cuter? No, we thought not. We love it when we get to look after wildlife at our hospital – with opossums being a fan favorite for sure!
Opossum’s are rather fascinating little critters. Being North America’s only marsupial, they are nearly immune to rabies since their core body temperature is normally too low to harbor the virus.
They are natures’ very own garbage disposal as well. With an omnivorous diet, opossums will essentially eat anything from slugs that wreak havoc to your garden, to mushrooms in your backyard that may be harmful to your pets.
Opossums are also fastidious groomers. According to the National Wildlife Federation, as a result it’s estimated that a single opossum could be responsible for eating up to 5,000 (potential disease spreading) ticks in a single season!
Heard that expression “an elephant never forgets?” Well it turns out that opossums don’t either. Their memories are said to be sharper than dogs, cats and even pigs.
Scared of snakes? Well opossums aren’t, they eat them for dinner…even the poisonous ones. The venom found in vipers and rear fanged snakes isn’t harmful to opossums because they’ve built up an immunity to that as well. So many amazing adaptations.
Even though opossums appear to be scary or ‘rabid’ if they are cornered or threatened, they really are quite harmless. Being the slow-moving creatures that they are, their real only defense is to pretend.
So, the next time you see these shy, woodland creatures in your backyard, be grateful. These beneficial (albeit misunderstood) animals truly pose little to no threat to you or your family!