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Pest Guide > Rodents > Opossum

Opossum

Didelphis virginiana

Opossums are the only marsupial found in North America and have a repulsive musk-like odor.

Color: Coat is dull grayish brown & a white face
Legs: 4
Shape: Long haired with scaly (prehensile) tail
Size: Head & Body length 15 to 20 inches, Weight - 9 to 13 pounds but can range from 4 to 30 pounds
Antennae: No

Habits

Opossums are nocturnal, very slow moving and have a unique characteristic when faced with danger as they will fake like they are dead which is where we get the term "playing possum". They are omnivorous and eat a wide range of plants, animals, pet food and human garbage. They climb readily and use their tail to grab tree limbs or carry small objects. They will produce on litter per year with an average of 7 young per litter.

Habitat

They will nest in hollow logs, abandoned woodchuck burrows, crawl spaces of structures, trees and sometimes a squirrel nest.

Threats

Opossums can be a nuisance when nesting in and around structures. Flea infestations have been associated with their nesting habits around structures and they can damage lawns when foraging for grubs.

Prevention

Opossums can be prevented from entering the structure by performing exclusion methods. Exclusion methods entail using metal flashing, metal mesh to cover any and all possible entry routes or in some cases re-construction of the entry area.
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