Will the city or county animal services help me with an opossum issue?

Plano opossums are North America’s only marsupials and are usually the size of a small cat or very large rat. Their bodies are fury, but their tails are hairless and acts as a fifth appendage as it can be used to hang for short periods as well as grab unto stuff. While the opossum’s natural habitat is mostly in forest areas, they can be found rummaging around in neighborhoods, in search of food. Their ability to remember where food is kept, is not as well as humans, but more than dogs, cats, rats and rabbits. City or County Animal Services do not usually assist home owners with Opossum issues.

Popularly known as Sanitation Workers of the Wild, Texas opossums clean up rodents and other types of roadkill such as frogs and birds, due to their unusually high need for calcium. In gardens, they indulge on beetles, snails and slugs, even killing cockroaches and rats. They are remarkably immune, either fully or partially, to poisonous snake venom, bee stings and other types of toxins. Having an opossum in your neighborhood, can be a good thing as it protects your territory from these pests, which may be a reason why the City or County Animal Services may be disinclined to help you get rid of them.

While opossums may look threatening, sporting 50 sharp teeth and using hissing as a defense mechanism, they are usually docile. They can be a nuisance if they get into your pet food or scavenge your garbage, maybe even digging up your plant roots or bulbs. They are known to carry parasites like other animals, but they are rarely harmful since they hardly ever carry the rabies virus. If you or any animal were to attack them, the opossum would usually play dead or fight back, only as a means of survival. To get rid of opossums, you would need to either hire a professional firm or trap and remove them yourself.

To trap and remove an opossum, you would need some cages with dimensions approximating 10 x 12 x 30 inches and some bait. For bait, you can use marshmallows or even your pet food or fruits such as bananas, apples or tomatoes, since they are carnivores. It is important to set the cage up in the late evening because opossums are nocturnal creatures, meaning they come out at night. If you set the cages up in the day time, you are more likely to catch other animals such as cats or squirrels. Once you are successful in capturing the opossum, immediately relocate it at least 10 miles away from where you caught in, hopefully in a forested area since that is its original habitat.

The life span of a Plano opossum is approximately 3 to 4 years in captivity or 1 to 2 years if left in the wild. They reproduce twice a year, with a gestation period of 11 to 13 days and its litter can vary from 7 to 8, rarely more. You can usually see babies attached to the mother’s back, if she has given birth. Given the short life span, it is more humane to leave them rather than trying to harm them.

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