Exciting news! WRC is making its radio debut LIVE, this coming Tuesday October 20th at 7:30am on 95.7! Our very own licensed rehabber, Allyson Swanson will be going on “Connie and Curtis in the morning” to set the record straight on Opossums (and their bad and incorrect reputation) and talk about wildlife in general! Listen for us!
Need other reasons to love Opossums? See this list from an Article written by David Mizejewski, from Animal Planet:
Opossums are one of the most common mammals in our cities and towns. They are really cool and interesting animals, but most people find them gross and scary-looking. I’m here to throw a little love to these misunderstood creatures with my top ten reasons to love opossums.
10. Opossums are North America’s Only Marsupial.
Opossums are not rats or even closely related to rodents. They are marsupials. Most marsupial species live in Australia and like kangaroos or koalas, opossums have a very short pregnancy–just 12 days–and give birth to their young even before eyes or hind limbs have fully formed. With only front legs, the tiny babies must crawl into their mother’s pouch, where they’ll attach to a nipple and nurse while they continue developing.
9. Baby Opossums are Fluffy and Cute.
When born, baby opossums are hairless and only the size of a bumble bee. But by the time they’re ready to leave mom’s pouch after about 11 weeks, baby opossums have turned into adorable little balls of flull.
8. Baby Opossums Ride on Mom’s Back.
Baby opossums get around by riding on their mothers’ backs. Few things are cuter than seeing a dozen or so babies just hanging out on mom’s back.
Mother opossum and young. Photo by Monica R. via Flickr Creative Commons.
7. They Break Records.
Opossums have 50 teeth in their mouths, more than any other mammal.
6. Like Humans, They are Extremely Adaptable.
Unlike more finicky species, opossums don’t require special foods or places to live. They’ll pretty much eat anything from fruit to mice to insects (and yes, sometimes our trash). They’re just as happy to sleep in a tree cavity as they are in an abandoned car. They might not be the most elegant of animals, but you’ve got to respect an animal that can live anywhere and thrive.
5. They Eat Garden Pests.
Opossums are great to have around the garden. They love eating slugs and other garden pests and can help keep populations of these critters down so your garden plants thrive.
4. They Utilize Trickery to Survive.
Opossums really do play dead when they can’t escape from a threat. They flop over, roll their eyes in the back of their head, stick their tongue out, and release a foul-smelling fluid from their anal glands. This behavior disarms the prey-drive of many predators that are triggered to attack prey that runs or fights back, and it can save an opossum’s life. Check out this young ‘one “playing ‘possum.”
3. They Are Immune to Rabies.
Unlike most other mammmals, opossums don’t contract or spread rabies. Their body temperature is slightly lower than that of other mammals, and the virus can’t take hold.
2. Opossums Eat Venomous Snakes.
Snakes don’t stand a chance if there are opossums around. Opossums eat snakes, including venomous ones. In fact, they are generally immune to the effects of snake venom.
1. Opossums Destroy Ticks.
Opossums are masters at destroying ticks. This is because they are very fastidious animals, constantly grooming themselves and removing (and eating) parasites like ticks. One opossum can take out around 5,000 ticks each year. That alone makes them worth having around!
Even though they are extremely adaptable and a successful species, they sometimes get themselves into trouble and need a helping hand. Here’s a video of one young opossum in need of rescue.