An adult opossum is roughly the size of a large cat, and has medium length, gray hair. Opossums have hairless, scaly tails, which leads to the common misconception that they are rodents, but they aren’t. Opossums (or simply possums), common throughout Missouri, are the only marsupial in North America. Although their prehensile tail is adapted for grasping things like tree limbs, they don’t hang upside down when sleeping, as portrayed in cartoons.
They are primarily nocturnal, and also omnivorous. The typical opossum diet consists of carrion, rodents, birds, eggs, insects, snails, slugs, as well as fruits and grains. Given their diet, it’s common for opossums to kill cockroaches and rats they find in their territory, which can be seen as a benefit.
Unfortunately, their appetite for slugs, snails, and beetles means they can also destroy your vegetable garden, as well as your lawn, in search of food. Equally problematic is the fact that opossums are also perfectly happy to eat your food, as well as your pet’s, creating property damage when they enter your home or business in search of food.
Opossums prefer to take up residence close to a food source, in order to ensure a short commute. They typically establish homes within existing structures, in places like garages, hot tubs and even outhouses. They are particularly fond of elevated sheds, due to the protection they offer from predators.
Although disease is a concern with any wild animal, you don’t have to worry about rabies when it comes to opossums. Their body temperature is so low that the virus generally can’t survive. They do, however carry leptospirosis, tuberculosis, and spotted fever among others. Opossums are also hosts for cat and dog fleas, and may also be infested with mites, ticks and lice.
Trapping any wildlife is not for the do-it-yourselfer. Under all conditions, it requires an understanding of animal behavior, knowledge that can only be attained through experience. This is why a Cogent technician should be considered.
Cogent practices a humane catch and release strategy, with most trapping locations outside your home or business.