How dangerous are possums to our cats, dogs, or other pets?

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It is not believed that opossums carry the rabies virus, but many homeowners believe that they have come across a rabid one. When they are cornered, attacked or threatened, they have a few different defense mechanisms. One of which is to play dead, another is to stare into space, and another is to hiss, bare their teeth, lash out, and appear rabid.

Opossums have quite low internal body temperatures, and it is because of this that experts believe is why they can’t carry the rabies virus. It is a virus that requires a warm, moist environment to thrive, and it just can’t get that from the opossum.

Despite not being dangerous as far as rabies is concerned, opossums are still ver dangerous to your pets, and also to your entire household. They have a mouth filled with very sharp teeth, and these can inflict serious injury on any animal that dares to get in its way. Not only that, there are a number of other diseases known to be carried by the opossum, and these are:

Spotted fever
Relapsing fever
Chugs disease

On top of this, as if that list wasn’t depressing enough, opossums also carry parasites, including fleas, mites, lice and ticks. In certain places, LA county being just one of them, a form of typhus is becoming prolific. Flea-borne typhus is found on the fleas that opossums carry, and if they come into contact with your pets, your pets could also pick them up. This is especially the case if your pets haven’t been treated for parasites such as fleas, ticks, mites, and worms.

In many cases the opossum doesn’t even need to come into direct, face-to-face contact with your pet at all in order to spread disease. Many of these wild animals leave viruses and bacteria in their fecal matter and urine, and this is how diseases such as toxoplasmosis are passed on.

You should NEVER allow your pets and wild animals get too close to each other, and this is definitely the case if you have not done your duty as a pet owner and vaccinated them. Fleas and ticks are bad enough in your home, but to invite flea-borne typhus and tuberculosis or toxoplasmosis into your home is just a mistake waiting to happen. Keep your pets away from all wild animals, and make sure you monitor your animals when they are out in the yard, particularly at night. The majority of the animals that are likely to invade your home are nocturnal.

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.

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