Do you know what the Didelphis virginiana is? It’s a pest you can find throughout North America and Central America. You can also find it in Costa Rica up to Canada’s southernmost area. If you have seen a nocturnal creature as big as a cat in any of the aforementioned areas, then you have spotted a didelphis virginiana. In layman’s term, it’s called virginia opossum, or just opossum.
More About Opossums
The opossum came South America, but now, it has already gone to as far as the northern part of the States. Today, it can be seen near towns, by the roadside and in garbage bins.
There are many reasons why an opossum is unique. The opossum is the only marsupial in North America. The female opossum can carry up to 13 babies in its belly pouch. It can nourish all 13 offsprings until it gives birth to all of them. It can hang using its prehensile tail. Sometimes, an opossum is called a “playing possum” because it knows how to act or play dead to get away from being killed. Faking death is one of its defense mechanisms.
If an opossum is fully grown, it can be as heavy as 10 to 14 pounds, and can be as long as two feet. It eats garbage, but it can also eat carrion. An opossum is an omnivorous creature. It can eat pet food, leaves, grass, fruits, berries, rodents, snails and insects. It lives in several types of habitats, and your home is not spared.
The Opossum Is A Pest
There are many reasons why people might want to get rid of an opossum. It goes inside your house, lives in your attic, and creates noise and an unbelievable mess. It harasses your pets by stealing your pet food and garbage, or anything that your own pets may still need. An opossum can live under a shed or a porch, and since it has a short lifespan, it can die in your attic or under your home, with a very disturbing and strong odor.
You need to get rid of an opossum because aside from the fact that it is a parasite, it is also a carrier of rabies. It can even bring other parasites inside your house. It can also give you diseases as it is a carrier of various bacterias and germs.
Controlling Opossums the Natural Way
You can only get rid of an opossum through natural methods since devices and chemical sprays don’t work on it. Some people even get the urine of a fox or a coyote (among many other types of predator urine), but that does not lure an opossum. Ultrasonic sound emitters sound interesting and effective but they do not help in getting rid of an opossum.
- Check with your local government agencies. Use live traps. Have-a-Heart is a brand your local center for animal control surely has. Ask for help from an agent of the Department of Agriculture or your local equivalent. You can also ask for help from the State Wildlife or the State Fish and Game Department. Never hesitate to ask these departments as they may offer you live traps that you can rent.
- Find a trap. If you are lucky enough, you can go to your local center for city animal control to get a live trap for free. If you have tool rental centers in your community, visit them because they surely have something to offer to you when it comes to getting rid of opossums and other pests. The traps that you get from the government agency are a big help because not only do they issue the traps for free, they sometimes haul the pest off in a particular area for your convenience.
- Use bait. Trapping an opossum is not just as simple as setting up the trap. You need proper timing and the right bait. The good news is, anything that is appealing to your pet is good enough as a bait for the opossum. You can use food like cucumber, tomatoes, raw or cooked corn on the cob, pumpkins, melons, muskmelons, cantaloupes, watermelons, grapes, raisins, bananas, pears and apples.
- Time it right. An opossum is a nocturnal animal, meaning it is active at night. This is where proper timing comes in. Before the sun goes down, set the trap. During the day, you can close the trap. Just do not forget to leave the bait inside the trap because opossums can smell baits, especially a sun-cooked melon. There are times when the bait grows dry. If this happens, add something fresh to make it effective. You will only have once chance to catch the opossum in the trap. If you do not catch it the first time it gets near the trap, then it won’t go back to that place anymore because it already knows that it is a trap.
- Look for holes. If the pest is in the attic, look for holes. The opossum may be hiding in the holes, so cover them while the pest is not there. You can also create a “house” for the opossum. Make sure it is made of cotton wood. Seal the hole to catch the critter.
An opossum can never be a pet; it’s a pest. If you see one living in your house and you don’t do something about it, expect it to bring bacteria, dirt and diseases inside your house. It’ll mess up your things and infested your food. Expect to live an unhealthy life with an opossum, unless you act now and try the tips above.
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