Colour: Light grey to black fur with white head and throat, pointed pink nose, naked prehensile tail.
Size: Length – 25-40”. Weight – 4-15 lbs.
Common den sites: Under decks, sheds, porches, Jacuzzi tubs, window wells, woodpiles, rocks and debris.
Signs of entry: Rub marks, hairs, footprints, feces, sightings and or sounds that can be heard.
Sounds that may be heard: Opossums can be heard scratching and moving around while creating a den space, hissing or simply while exiting and entering their den site. Opossums will not usually forage with temperatures below -12c as their ears and tails are susceptible to frostbite.
Solution for humane removal of opossum from decks, sheds and under porches: Once common entry is located a one way door will be setup within screening, and area around entry must be trenched and screened to prevent further entry. This work will usually consist of digging, removing shrubs, bushes, and fences and or drilling into foundation to secure screening. Trenching around deck or shed area and laying an “L” skirt piece (90 degree angle) of hardware cloth around perimeter is optimal.
Baby season: Opossums can have up to 14 young 2-3 times per year. Opossums are North America’s only marsupials (with females having a pouch). In as little as 13 days after mating the opossums young emerge and climb into the pouch where they will remain for 8-9 weeks only to reemerge They will then ride on their mother’s back. If babies are removed and are not mobile, they are to be placed and secured in an incubator (box) near area of entry and are then usually picked up by their mother the same night as removal. If babies are mobile and cannot be removed then depending on their age they will vacate humanely through either an adult one way door system and if not a baby door.
Diet: Opossums may feed on frogs, snakes, birds, insects, mammals, earthworms, fruits and berries. Also, depending on availability they may also eat corn or apples.
Hazards: Opossums are slow movers, and when threatened, they will usually salivate, hiss and display their 50 razor sharp teeth and in some cases they “play possum” (this allows them to fall into an involuntary shock-like state) and in this state their lips are drawn back, teeth are bared, saliva foams around the mouth and sometimes a foul smelling fluid can also be excreted from their anal glands. They may also carry parasites.