Opossums are common in residential neighborhoods. The only marsupial found in North America, female opossums have a pouch in which they carry their young until they are old enough to survive on their own. Opossums are extremely adaptable to different environments and conditions. Opossums are nocturnal animals who leave their daytime nests at night to seek food and water. They are known to eat insects, frogs, birds, snakes, small mammals, and earthworms. Some of their favorite foods are fruits, and they are known to eat apples and persimmons. Their broad diet allows them to take advantage of many sources of food provided by human habitation such as unsecured garbage and pet food, or any other edible item left outside, in a garage, shed, or patio. Opossums will make their nest wherever they feel safe during the day including garages, sheds, attics, or underneath decks, patios, and pier and beam foundations and other structures.
Q. There’s an opossum hissing and drooling at me – is the opossum rabid?
A. For unknown reasons, opossums are amazingly resistant to rabies. Hissing, drooling and swaying are part of the opossum’s bluff to scare YOU off. Unlike other animals, opossums don’t always flee when they’re frightened. Just leave the opossum alone and eventually the animal will wander off.
See more about rabies here.
Q. What should I do if I find a dead opossum on the road?
A. Wearing gloves, you can move the dead animal off the road. If it’s spring or summer, check to see if the opossum is a female and if there are live babies still in her pouch or in the immediate area. If found, call 911 Wildlife or a wildlife rehabilitator immediately.