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Possums are not creates well known for their over-aggressive nature. In fact, the possum has a totally different defense mechanism on its side - the art of “playing dead”. When cornered or attacked, the possum will often quite literally roll over and play dead, in a bid to confuse the attacking predator enough to drop the possum, and then give it a chance to then run away. If this tactic doesn’t work, however, then possum has no choice but to attack. It has sharp teeth and claws which it will use to its advantage. And when we say teeth, it has about fifty of them, and they’re all razor-sharp. They will make light work of most materials human and animal flesh included.
There is good news though. Possums are not known to carry the rabies virus. It is thought that the virus needs a much higher body temperature than what the possum has, and that rabies cannot be present. You should still proceed with caution, because although rare, the animal DOES have the potential to carry and transmit the infection.
Out of the two types of possum that you are likely to come across, the ringtail possums are the least likely to bite you. Brushtail possums are much more aggressive usually, and are much more easily drawn into battle.
If you, a member of your family, or a household pet has been bitten by a possum, despite the rarity of rabies transmission, we still recommend you take yourself to a doctor. The wound will nee to be washed thoroughly, and cleaned too. If it is deep or continues to bleed, you may require stitches. Like we said, the possum has 50 of those teeth and they are probably going to cause some damage.
We can answer: Should I Hire A Professional Or Remove Opossums Myself?
At home, wash the wound immediately. You shouldn’t use soap with any alcohol or fragrance in it, but just warm water and soap. Once clean and dry, you should apply an antiseptic to the wound. As with any animal bites, you will need to keep a close eye on your wound to make sure that it doesn’t get infected. Although possums are relatively clean animals, with a mouth not known to have an environment in which bad bacteria can thrive, they are still wild animals. They are hardly the most hygienic creatures on the block.
You may need antibiotics if you are bitten by a wild animal, and the will be to help fight any potential infection. In some rare cases, a disease known as Tularemia, caused by bacteria, can start to materialize, and this will be another problem that needs antibiotics to get it resolved. Although rare, it makes sense to know of the symptoms if you have been bitten by a possum. They will include an infection present around the bite that doesn’t go away, as well as infections starting to show in the lymph nodes also. Although it sounds quite frightening, antibiotics will generally clear the problem up, but this is only when the condition has been correctly diagnosed by a medical professional.
Find out Why Do Opossums Play Dead?
There are many risks to coming in close contact with wild animals, and particularly scavengers such as possums. Although rabies is generally not a cause of concern for this critter, there are a number of other things you will need to worry about, and a small wound could end up being the least of your problems.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does opossum removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of opossums - my main opossum removal info guide.
Example opossum trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Opossum job blog - learn from great examples of opossum jobs I've done.