Are Opossums Dangerous to Humans?
Some people think they are lovable. Others believe that these gray, furry North American marsupials with hairless tails are scary. Either way, if you have an opossum invading your home or yard, the most obvious question is whether these creatures are dangerous to humans.
The good news is that you’ll never have to worry about opossums attacking you because they’re innocuous. If anything, they try to avoid humans as much as possible. However, our professionals at Shumaker’s Animal Control recommend that you avoid confronting these nocturnal creatures or inviting them to take residence on your property. Read on to learn more.
Are Opossums Dangerous?
Opossums, also known as possums, are very docile creatures. They’ll rarely attack unless provoked, especially when they have to protect themselves or their young ones. Possums have sharp teeth that can make them look scary. When they are confronted by other animals or humans, they’ll often give a loud hissing and open up their huge mouths and display all their teeth as a way to intimidate the intruder. While the hissing sound may seem like the opossum is ready to pounce, the sounds are just a bluff.
If this strategy doesn’t work, they’ll play dead. When caught out during daylight or threatened with danger, a possum will roll over and pretend to be dead. It hasn’t been proven whether the animal does this consciously or it’s just an act of nervous shock.
While playing dead, the possum secretes a green fluid, which smells like a dead animal, from its anal glands. This odor drives away predators. The opossum will also droll to give an impression that it has rabies.
However, it should be noted that possums can bite in self-defense when cornered by an attacker. This is rare but only happens when the animal feels they are in danger. They also have nails that they can claw with, but they easily rip out, so they are not so effective in self-defense. Possums would rather play dead than risk their delicate hands.
Do Opossums Carry Fatal Diseases?
While opossums’ low body temperature and high immunity make it rare for them to carry the rabies virus, possums are still dangerous as they can transmit diseases to humans. Some of the diseases they carry include:
- Spotted fever
- Chagas disease
On the flip side, opossums help to fight against ticks and the Lyme disease they can transmit. They scavenge on rats, mice, snakes, and cockroaches, which helps to balance the ecosystem.
Have an Opossum Problem in Maryland? Reach out to Shumaker’s Animal Control
While opossums are rarely dangerous to humans, the risk of sickness and property damage calls for the immediate removal of these annoying critters. If for some reason, an opossum finds its way into your home, you don’t have to harm them because they are not there to attack you or your family. You can always call a professional animal removal company that uses humane animal control methods.
At Shumaker’s Animal Control, we can safely and effectively handle all your opossum problems. Our highly qualified team can humanely trap and remove the opossum, relocate it where it’s going to thrive, and seal all entry points in your home to prevent future invasion. Visit our website to check our services and fill out our contact form. You can also call us at 443-854-8072 for more information.