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Possum Photograph

possum photograph

10.24.2004 - I thought that this was a fine photo of an opossum. Possums are slow animals, and they have very tiny brains. They are not so smart. Thus, when they encounter trouble, sometimes they just kind of stand there. Sometimes they play dead, sometimes they open their mouth and bare their teeth, sometimes they try to run away, sometimes they grimmace (really), and sometimes they ...just stand there. That's what this one did. I was tasked with catching it, since it was hanging around the property and not leaving, and the homeowner was concerned that it might attack or have rabies. Opossum aren't aggressive, and they don't really carry rabies. Their body temperature is lower than average, and not a good host for the disease. Regardless the homeowners wanted me to come and get it, so I did. But first, when I saw how calm it was, I decided to take some photographs.

I think that this opossum is very good-looking. Some opossums are mangy or slimy or just plain ugly, but this one had a very nice coat of fur and very nice colors, and a decent looking face.  So I'm featuring it here on my wildlife blog as my best possum photograph.

Do it yourself: Visit my How To Get Rid of Opossums page for tips and advice.
Get professional help: Visit my Nationwide Pro Directory of wildlife removal experts.

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.

Humane possum removal - As is the case with most wild animals that you find in your home or yard, you will want to get rid of it in such a way that the problems are eliminated, the creature is re-homed safely, and with as little hassle and stress as is necessary. For most people, calling a wildlife guy is the best approach and this is for a number of reasons. Most people do not have enough knowledge to remove this creature, whereas the wildlife professionals will.

Another approach that can be taken with the possum is to catch and release, although there are certain rules and regulations that must be adhered to. Trapping the animal will not be an easy task, especially if you do not know enough, so education and research is first needed. Once you have this, you should be able to catch the animal with some practice, but it is at this point that most people find they struggle. Where do you release the possum? What exactly is the “right” thing to do?

One simple option that works for people, especially if you don’t have other pets to worry about or small children, is to build a nest box in your yard and encourage the possum to live there. This removes the threat of the possum in your home, and will also discourage other wild animals, especially other possums, taking its place.

One of the obvious options yet is still one that a lot of people do not think about is to call a local wildlife rehabilitation centre. These people will take over the responsibility of re-homing or looking after the pet, meaning that it will be one less thing that you will have to concern yourself with. There are a lot of ways that you can find these guys, and your local vet, animal control guys or city animal services will be able to point you in the right direction.

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