Help! I found an oppossum!

Opossums are admittedly very scary looking.  (The adults do, not the one in the picture.)  Big teeth, the hissing, the long rat tail… They are North America’s only marsupial (they carry their babies in a pouch) but are rarely aggressive.  These guys get a bad rap because when they are stressed, they play dead (up to four hours) and will foam at the mouth and are commonly associated with rabies because of this defense mechanism.  They are quite the opposite, they are almost totally immune to rabies. They spend their time foraging through the brush and are meticulous groomers and they eat the ticks that they collect on their travels, many of which can carry Lyme disease.  Studies have shown that one opossum will eat about 5,000 ticks a year.  Even we don’t like ticks.  Their diet consists of insects, slugs, snakes, mice and rats.  They may look scary, but they are good neighbors to have.  Many times, during breeding season, if the mother has been killed, they still may have a pouch full of babies that need our help.

Fun facts:  Opossums have 50 teeth!  They have an uncanny ability to find food and remember where it was. They actually scored better than cats, dogs, rabbits, but not as good as humans.  They are great helpers for gardeners, the eat snails, slugs, even rats and cockroaches.  Even we don’t like cockroaches.  One last fact:  After Teddy Roosevelt’s tremendous success in creating the Teddy Bear, President William Taft tried to do the same with the “Billy Possum”.  It didn’t go over quite as well.  They all can’t be zingers…

Enjoy our favorite opossum video!!

WCV's Mission Statement: To protect and preserve Southwest Florida's native wildlife through educational outreach, and to rescue, rehabilitate and release sick, injured and orphaned wildlife to their native habitat whenever possible.