Opossums, more commonly known as ‘possums’ in the Southwestern U.S. and Midwest, are the largest order of marsupials in the Western Hemisphere.
Opossum control and removal is extremely tricky and challenging, thanks to a combination of unspecialized biology, an adaptable diet, and their reproductive habits, which make them wildly efficient colonizers and survivors in Canada’s erratic climate.
Didelphis virginiana (North American opossum)
The most fascinating trait opossums share is their robust & hardy immune system. Opossums have partial-to-total immunity from the venoms of rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and other pit vipers. They’re unlikely to carry any disease for this reason, too; about one in 800 opossums carry the rabies virus, for example.
Opossums are opportunistic omnivores, surviving on a combination of meat and vegetation in their diets. This suits their diverse habitats well – some opossums thrive in semi-aquatic settings, while others are adept for life on the ground.
Similar to a free-loading friend sleeping on your couch, once an opossum settles in and gets comfortable, they’re stubborn to remove.
Predominantly solitary and nomadic, opossums will happily stay in one area – like your home! – as long as food and shelter are nearby.
What makes a human home so appealing for an opossum is the fact they won’t put much effort into building a shelter, preferring to lazily squat in or under a home.
When opossums feel threatened, they’ll ‘play possum’, pretending to be a sick or dead animal, smell and all. The physiological defense is involuntary, but highly effective. When they’re playing possum, opossums will seize up, allowing them to be prodded, moved, or carried away, without a peep from the rodent.
So even if you have a possum deterrent in place, don’t be surprised to see them ‘return from the dead’ in your home!
As outlined in our Integrated Pest Management service, methods including sanitation, prevention, and exclusion are the most effective ways of getting rid of, and preventing, possum problems.
Possum deterrents you can try around your home include: