Did you know that the opossum is only one of the marsupial species native to North America? All other marsupials, such as kangaroos, koalas, and wombats, are mainly found in Australia or on the islands of New Guinea.
Opossums are generally the size of an adult house cat, growing up to 40 inches in length and weighing up to 15 pounds. Their bodies covered in gray and white fur, complete with a long rat-like tail to help them climb and hang.
Opossums are easily identified by their pointed noses and large, hairless ears.
You have most likely heard the “playing possum” which is synonymous with “playing dead.” This catatonic state is a technique to help opossums avoid being seen and attacked by predators.
Opossums are nomadic creatures, which means they never set up a permanent home or establish their own territory. Since they are predominantly nocturnal animals, they spend their nights wandering around in search of food. During the day, they seek temporary shelter in hollow trees, rock crevices, wood piles, or under buildings and porches.
Opossums have quite the reputation when it comes to their diet. These scavengers often wreck havoc on homeowners when searching through trash cans and leaving a mess behind.
Aside from food scraps, opossums often survive off of nuts, grass, fruit, insects, mice, birds, worms, snakes, and other small animals or vegetation.
The breeding season for opossums lasts from January until July. The gestation period lasts only 12 to 13 days, at which time, the female will birth up to twenty live babies, or joeys. The small babies are not completely developed at the time of birth, so they will live in the mother’s pouch for two months in order to nurse and grow.
Once the young are big enough to leave the pouch, they will still stay with the mother on her back for about 100 days. After this time, the babies will become sexually mature and restart the cycle all over again.
Female opossums generally have between one and three litters every year. The male opossums, on the other hand, can mate as many times as possible throughout the year – as soon as the mating is over, the male leaves the female and never returns to care for his young.
Have An Opossum Problem? Call the Experts at Shumaker Animal Control
If you think you have an opossum problem on your property, call the experts at Shumaker Animal Control to deal with the problem for you. Our experienced team will take care of the problem in a timely manner, ensuring that your home and pets are not in any danger.
At Shumaker Animal Control, we are a family-owned business who cares about the safety of you and your family but also about the well-being of the animals themselves. All of our trapping and control methods are humane, as we never try to hurt the angry or scared animal.