Have you heard the term "playing possum"? This saying arose because possums pretend to be dead to deter predators from killing them for real. While we don't have any possums in the United States, the cousin of the possum, known as the opossum, has similar behavior. If you spook it, an opossum may fake its own death. Does that sound like the behavior of a dangerous animal? It isn't. So, while it is entirely possible to have a dangerous encounter with an opossum in Merrimac, it is far more likely that these animals will avoid conflict with you. Let's dig a little further into this.

opossum in yard
opossum mom and babies

Scary Teeth

Have you ever seen the teeth on an opossum? They're a little bit terrifying. It is a very good thing that they have an aversion to using them. An opossum isn't likely to attack you or your pet when encountered. But, it is possible to have an opossum bite you in self-defense or when protecting their young. This can occur when you accidentally enter an area where an opossum has created a den, such as underneath your deck or porch or in the crawl space under your home. You can prevent opossums from finding harborage under structures by installing fencing material or filling holes underneath concrete slabs. This will keep them out.

It is important to remember that an opossum is likely to bear its teeth to scare you. If you startle the animal with your reaction, this can prompt a bite. Our recommendation is to calmly move away from an opossum bearing its teeth or hissing at you.

The Surprising Danger Opossums Present

When these animals come into your yard, they aren't nearly as dangerous as the ticks they carry on them. Ticks can spread a long list of diseases. Many tick-borne diseases have the potential to cause death. Some create symptoms that can become chronic and plague you for the rest of your life. Thankfully, most ticks that feed on you will not make you sick, and if you contract a disease, it is far more likely that you'll be asymptomatic. But there is a real threat that must be considered when it comes to tick-borne diseases.

When Opossums Aren't Dangerous At All

If you don't have opossums in your yard, you won't accidentally find yourself in a dangerous situation, and you'll have fewer issues with ticks. One of the best ways to make opossums harmless is to take these steps to keep them away:

  • Address any open garbage in your yard. Store bagged trash in covered containers that can't easily be knocked over.

  • You may also consider storing your trash bins inside your garage instead of outside where opossums can tamper with them.

  • Address anything in your yard that has the odor of rotting food. This can attract opossums from a distance.

  • If you have a dog, cat, or livestock animal that feeds outside in your yard, put food down only during mealtimes and pick the food up afterward.

  • If you have fruit trees, it is a good idea to pick up fruit that falls to the ground.

  • If you have berry bushes, a garden, or other food sources, consider using fencing materials to keep opossums and other animals from finding an easy food source.

  • Remove brush piles. Opossums can hide in these.

  • Address any standing water in your yard. Water is one of the building blocks of life. All animals are drawn to a property that has available water.

  • Troublesome opossums may need to be controlled through the installation of traps. This should be done by a licensed pest professional so that no harm comes to the animals and no opossums remain in hiding places in your yard.

If You Need Assistance With Opossum Control

In most cases, you can probably deal with opossums on your own, but there are unique circumstances that are best dealt with by a professional. If an opossum has found harborage in a difficult location, or you are being visited by opossums and having trouble with them, remember that Freedom Pest Control provides wildlife control in the Merrimac area. We can humanely remove the animals from your property and provide your exterior with the pest maintenance it needs to prevent unwanted wildlife issues. We can also guide you in finding solutions to help protect food sources in your yard.

If you have questions, or you'd like to request a service visit from one of our friendly and experienced pest professionals, drop us a line. It can be unsettling to have opossums coming into your yard due to their propensity to bare their teeth and hiss. Let our team help you make your yard resistant to these and other pest animals. Connect with us today. 

 

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