Cute Baby Opossum in House

cute opossum


04.27.2003 - I went out at midnight to remove this little opossum from the bathroom of a home. I've already removed several small opossums from this house. The problem is that a female opossum has moved into the attic, and she has young with her. The little ones run all around as they explore their environment. Some of them find holes leading down walls, and down they climb! This house has several openings that lead into the house - basically, architectural gaps. Most homes have a few. The baby opossoms have been finding these areas and thus getting into the house. The lady who lives in the home is deathly afraid of opossums, so she's been calling me every day or so, at all hours, to come and remove the little critters. I've found them under the couch, in the kitchen cabinets, and in this case, the bathroom. The truth is that this little animal poses no threat to people. It's too small and docile. Still, the customer wants them out, so I'll take care of it.

This particular specimen taught me just how capable these little critters are.  After I removed this guy, I simply put him in the back of my truck, because I didn't have a holding container, and I went back to the house to search for others.  When I returned to my truck, I couldn't find it anywhere.  I was baffled.  I searched and searched, and couldn't find it, until I looked in the very last place, the bottom of one of the buckets of tools in the truck.  I was surprised to find it hidden there.  I was even more surprised when it jumped out of the bucket, scampered through the truck bed, and did a flying leap out of the back of the truck and ran off.  I didn't know that they were so quick!  I chased after it and caught it, just barely.

I need to catch the mother opossum to solve the problem, and even then, I might encounter more baby possums that have stayed behind in the attic.  Although the adults are often ugly, I thought that this was a cute baby opossum.

The opossum, (Didelphis virginiana) is a nocturnal animal that lives in North America. It is a marsupial, which means that the females give birth to tiny young, who grow in a pouch. These young eventually cling to the mother's back and drop off when they are large enough. Opossums are unique for many reasons. They have opposable thumbs, prehensile tails, 50 teeth, and several other unusual features. They are omnivores who eat almost anything, they have excellent immune systems, and they rarely live more than 2-3 years in the wild. They are most commonly considered a nuisance species when they live in an attic or other structure, such as under a shed, or steal pet food or threaten animals.

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Here are some things you should know about opossums:

Physical Appearance:
Opossums have a distinctive cone-shaped nose with a pink tip, white, black and gray fur, and an extended long ‘hairless' tail. Although they are somewhat similar looking to rodents, they are not from the rodent family but instead are marsupials.

With over 60 different species, the most common opossums you come across in North America are Virginia Opossums. Commonly, opossums are found in Canada, South America, Mexico, Central America, and the US. Opossums are found on trees and wet, marshy places such as streams and swamps.

Opossums are larger than rats and about the size of smaller dogs. In figures, they are about two and a half feet in length with a 5-6 kg weight.

Opossums are secretive, nocturnal pests that look for food at night and sleep during the daytime. During the winter, they don't hibernate but move slower. They rely on body fat reserves to keep them warm in their burrows or shelters.

Eating Habits:
Opossums are scavengers and, primarily, omnivores. They feed on both meat and vegetables. Being adaptive in nature, they can also survive on grass, fallen fruits, and nuts. Additionally, they do not leave behind mice, snakes, worms, chickens, roadkill, wild birds, and even insects. If they cannot find food, they will do anything to reach your fields or backyard to destroy your crops despite the opossum repellents you might have used.

Reproduction Cycle:
Mother opossums breed and give birth twice a year. With a short gestation period of 12-13 days, a female opossum can give birth to almost 20 baby opossums.

Interestingly, the baby opossums are the size of jelly beans at birth. These young ones ride their mother's back for about 100 days. However, usually, not all the baby opossums survive.

Other Interesting Opossum Habits:
Opossums are great at playing dead. They will fall down and be still with their tongue sticking out to trick their predators. Amazingly, these cute looking fur balls can play dead for over six hours. This is a helpful defense mechanism for opossums to escape their predators.

The tails of opossums are mostly used to climb trees and hold onto branches (hanging upside down). These marsupials usually hiss at humans in reaction rather than being aggressive.

Opossums are completely immune to bee stings, snake bites, and several other toxins which makes it really difficult for opossum repellents to work on them.

Final Verdict:
Most of all, opossums aren't as harmful as you might think. These cute critters make great pets too. But, do your research before keeping them as a pet.

Now that you are aware of the docile nature of opossums, it is clear that it is best to remove them humanely from your property rather than killing them if they are causing you problems.

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