Did you know that opossums are the only marsupial that lives in the United States? Marsupials are members of a large mammalian group that is best known for carrying their young in pouches, and while there are around 250 distinct species in the world, the opossum is the only one you’ll ever find around your Winston-Salem yard.

While you might have a general idea of what opossums look like, a brief overview is useful as they are a nocturnal species that you’re unlikely to see during the day. Opossums get to be between 21-36 inches long and have grey fur with darker ears and legs. Their tails are long and hairless, and their noses are pink. Opossums are often found in trees and, although they aren’t rodents, they do have some similarities in appearance to a large rodent.

How Dangerous Are Opossums?

Given that opossums are a rather large animal compared to most other pests in the area, understanding opossum behavior is important. Luckily, these marsupials are not very aggressive and are unlikely to bite if unprovoked. However, just like with any wild animal, they will attack if they feel threatened or cornered. In these situations, opossums can and will bite, and being bitten is extremely dangerous.

The reason why an opossum bite is such a health risk is that they can carry a variety of diseases including leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that leads to kidney and liver failure in extreme cases. Plus, even if the bite doesn’t spread a serious illness, you could still wind up with a secondary infection.

How To Prevent Opossums

Because opossums can harm you, taking preventive measures is the best way to keep yourself and your family safe. To deter these pests from Winston-Salem, you should focus on making your property less appealing to them. Here are ways to reduce the risk of an opossum problem:

  • As opossums mainly come near humans in search of food, remove any pet food from outside and store this food in an airtight container inside of a building.
  • Opossums will also scavenge through trash, so remove trash from your yard and keep outdoor garbage cans fitted with lids.
  • They can also be attracted to fruits and vegetables. Be sure to throw out any overripe or rotting produce from your garden.
  • These animals also look for areas where they can build nests so get rid of brush and log piles from around your lawn.
  • While opossums don't come inside of occupied dwellings very often, they will if they find an easy way indoors. To keep them from getting inside of a building, fix any broken screen doors or windows.

What Should You Do If You Have Opossums on Your Property?

While not all opossums are going to attack you, they still aren’t a pleasant or safe creature to have around your property. Trying to remove them on your own isn’t a good idea as they are most likely to be aggressive when threatened, and getting bitten could lead to sickness in some cases. So, if you have an opossum problem, the experts at Ray’s Pest Control & Wildlife Removal can remove them efficiently and safely.

Unlike some pest companies, we also specialize in wildlife removal, so you can trust that our trained technicians have you covered. Find out more about our residential and commercial wildlife removal services by calling us at (336) 360-3066 or by requesting a free inspection online.