I know, I know…what an ugly creature, right? But his usefulness actually makes him much more handsome in my humble opinion. Yeah, Opossums can be a royal pain, and you have to take extra steps in property care and upkeep. Chickens have to be locked up at night. Seedlings have to be protected. but his value is worth the extra effort…Why?
The worst part of the year for opossums is spring in the garden. They are quite good at digging up those nasty grubs that can set back a gardens root system, and that means I need to protect those seedlings. Not such a big deal when they have a good root system going. Oh, and their penchant for rodents, snails, and slugs can help my garden stay healthier too.
There are several reasons to let an opossum or two hang out around the homestead.
Did you know they can eat up to 5000 ticks a year? And that they have a natural immunity to pit viper bites, which means they can keep a property clean and free of those pesky slithering nuisances. They have been known to hunt down rodents, cockroaches, and snakes to keep them out of their territory. And it appears to work for skunks as well. I have not had a stinky nocturnal visitor since I started allowing the opossums to hang around. And I don’t know about you, but midnight dog baths are not much fun for us.
Opossums are for the most part, naturally immune to rabies, and are actually 8 times LESS likely to carry rabies when compared to wild or feral dogs.
The opossum has 50 teeth to growl, run(albeit a little slower than most critters) belch, urinate and defecate. If all else fails, they roll over, get stiff, and bare their teeth as saliva forms around their mouth and a foul smelling liquid is secreted from their glands,and they can stay in this trance for up to 4 hours.
With their prehensile tails, they can not only hang from a branch for short times, and they can also carry grass and small brush with it as well.
They actually are much more intelligent in some areas than they are given credit for. They have an incredible memory for remembering where food is easy to come by, outscoring even rats and cats in mazes
So when trying to decide whether to remove an opossum from your property, evaluate its usefulness first.
My fellow actually has one of the nicest coats i have seen, but I put out just enough cat food that he can come in for a snack before I go through the nightly routine of sending him on his way. It’s not like I want to go out and pet him, or get him so comfortable he follows me everywhere. I already have a passel of dogs and cats for that!
I get tick removal without the noise of guineas, and underground protection from bugs and grubs in the garden ( the chickens get the creepy crawlies during the day) . I have no snake problem,which I have had issues with in the past. It was a win/win for me. See if it is a winning solution for your lifestyle.