Pennsylvania Opossums

Biology and Habits

The Virginia opossum, Didelphis virginia, is an extremely unique mammal with many distinguishing physical and behavioral attributes. The opossum is the only marsupial (with pouch) located in North America. Distribution is from the east to west coast and their northern range is limited only by severe weather.

This animal is quite shy and inoffensive, but will often hiss and bear its teeth when threatened. The opossum has 50 teeth, which is more than any other mammal in North America. One extraordinary display is "playing possum", which is a defensive strategy against a threat or predator (it plays dead). This act is achieved by rolling over, shutting its eyes, opening its mouth, and going limp; the animal may even hang out its tongue and drool. The definite mechanism behind this is still unknown, but it seems to be a temporary paralysis brought on by shock that can last from a few minutes up to several hours.  

Opossums are opportunistic omnivores. Their diet consists primarily of carrion, insects, amphibians, earthworms, small mammals, vegetables, fruits and berries, while apples and corn are favorites. Rattlesnakes are also a part of their diet, as opossums have an immunity to the deadly snake venom.  

Their diet correlates with their lifestyle and behavior. The opossum is an adaptable, nocturnal, solitary animal that wanders in woody and open areas along rural and suburban habitats. They are dependent on others for their homes and cover. The opossum uses abandoned dens or man-made structures, such as woodpiles and decks. Frequently, they are found under decks, crawl spaces, and sheds. They are expert swimmers and climbers, aided by their naked, prehensile tail. 

The reproduction of this mammal is unique as well. They have 2-3 litters per year, with an average of seven Range of the Opossum in North America young per litter. The young are about the size of a navy bean when they are born, and will nurse in the mother's pouch for up to 60 days. Opossum populations have a high mortality rate. Influences of the high mortalities are from eating carrion off the highways, and they themselves becoming road-killed.  
 

Damage and Concerns

Opossums are often considered nuisance animals. They are found near homes getting into compost piles, garbage, bird feeders and pet food, along with destroying bird nests. Opossums dig around foundations and backyard areas, and may chew or gnaw on woody structures as well. Since the opossum does not build its own den it may become an inhabitant in or under man-made structures.

There are few health concerns with opossums. They are occasional carriers of rabies and fleas, and the ticks they harbor can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Opossums pose little, if any, significant threat to humans. 
 

Control

A few methods are implemented by Critter Control to control opossums. One technique is prevention of opossum entry by opossum proofing or opossum exclusion. Removing feeding sites such as bird feeder droppings, placing trash in sealed containers, and not leaving pet food outside will have unwanted opossums moving on to other areas.  

Another effective technique for oppossum control or oppossum removal is humanely live-trapping them. A cage trap for opossums is baited with fruits, vegetables or canned cat food.
 

Management

To successfully manage an opossum population you must have an integrated pest management plan. Critter Control uses more than one approach to eradicate and exclude these nuisance animals from your home and surrounding areas.
 

Our local Pennsylvania offices offer Opossums services in the following cities: Abbottstown, Abington, Ackermanville, Adamsburg, Adamstown, Akron, Alburtis, Aldan, Allenport, Allentown, Alquippa, Ambler, Apollo, Applewood, Ardmore, Arendtsville, Armagh, Arnold, Arona, Aspinwall, Atglen, Atwood, Audubon, Avalon, Avondale, Avonmore, Bala Cynwyd, Baldwin, Bally, Baltimore, Bangor, Bath, Beallsville, Beaver, Bechtelsville, Bell Acres, Bellevue, Ben Avon, Ben Avon Heights, Bendersville, Bensalem, Bentleyville, Bernville, Bethel Park, Bethel Park, Bethlehem, Big Run, Biglerville, Birdsboro, Blairsville, Blawnox, Blue Bell, Bolivar, Bonneauville, Boyertown, Brackenridge, Braddock, Braddock Hills, Bradford Woods, Brentwood, Bridgeport, Bridgeville, Bristol, Brockway, Brookhaven, Brookville, Bruin, Bryn Athyn, Bryn Mawr, Burgettstown, Butler, California, Callensburg, Callery, Callery, Canonsburg, Carnegie, Carroll Valley, Castle Shannon, Catasaqua, Center Valley, Center Valley, Centerport, Centerville, Chalfant, Chalfont, Chapman, Charleroi, Cherry Tree, Cherry Valley, Chester, Chester Heights, Cheswick, Chicora, Christiana, Churchill, Clairton, Clarion, Claysville, Clifton Heights, Clymer, Coal Center, Coatesville, Cokeburg, Collegeville, Collingdale, Columbia, Colwyn, Connoquenessing, Conshohocken, Coopersburg, Coplay, Coraopolis, Corsica, Crafton, Creekside, Cross Roads, Daisytown, Dallastown, Darby, Dayton, Deemston, Delmont, Delta, Denver, Derry, Dillsburg, Donegal, Donora, Dormont, Douglassville, Dover, Downingtown, Doylestown, Dravosburg, Dublin, Dunlevy, Duquesne, East Bangor, East Berlin, East Brady, East Butler, East Greenville, East Lansdowne, East Mckeesport, East Petersburg, East Pittsburgh, East Prospect, East Vandergrift, East Washington, Easton, Eau Claire, Eddystone, Edgewood, Edgeworth, Edinburg, Elco, Elderton, Elizabeth, Elizabethtown, Elkins Park, Ellsworth, Elverson, Emmaus, Emsworth, Ephrata, Ernest, Etna, Evans City, Export, Fairfield, Fairplay, Fairview, Falls Creek, Fawn Grove, Felton, Finleyville, Finleyville, Fleetwood, Fogelsville, Folcroft, Ford City, Ford Cliff, Forest Hills, Fort Washington, Fountain Hill, Fox Chapel, Fox Chapel, Foxburg, Franklin Park, Franklintown, Freemansburg, Freeport, Gastonville, George G Meade, Gettysburg, Gilbertsville, Gladwyne, Glassport, Glen Campbell, Glen Rock, Glendon, Glenfield, Glenolden, Glenshaw, Glenside, Goldsboro, Green Hills, Green Lane, Green Tree, Greensburg, Greensburg, Greensburg, Hallam, Hamburg, Hanover, Harmony, Harmony, Harrisville, Hatboro, Hatfield, Hawthorn, Haysville, Heidelberg, Hellertown, Hellertown, Homer City, Homestead, Honey Brook, Horsham, Houston, Hulmeville, Hunker, Huntingdon Valley, Hyde Park, Ijamsville, Imperial, Indiana, Indiana Township, Ingram, Irwin, Ivyland, Jacobus, Jeannette, Jefferson, Jefferson, Jefferson Hills, Jenkintown, Jenkintown, Joffre, Karns City, Keedysville, Kenhorst, Kennett Square, King Of Prussia, Kittanning, Knox, Koppel, Kutztown, Kutztown, Ladiesburg, Lancaster, Langeloth, Langhorne, Langhorne Manor, Lansdale, Lansdowne, Latrobe, Laurel Mountain Park, Laureldale, Leechburg, Leesport, Leetsdale, Lenhartsville, Lewisberry, Liberty, Ligonier, Lincoln, Lititz, Littlestown, Loganville, Long Branch, Lower Burrell, Lower Makefield, Lower Merion, Lyons, Macungie, Madison, Malvern, Manchester, Manheim, Manor, Manorville, Marcus Hook, Marianna, Marianna, Marietta, Marion Center, Mars, Maugansville, Mcdonald, Mckees Rocks, Mckeesport, Mcsherrystown, Media, Midway, Millbourne, Millersville, Millersville, Millvale, Modena, Mohnton, Monessen, Monongahela, Monroeville, Monroeville, Morrisville, Morton, Mount Joy, Mount Oliver, Mount Penn, Mount Pleasant, Mount Wolf, Mountville, Mt. Lebanon, Munhall, Murrysville, Narberth, Nazareth, New Alexandria, New Bedford, New Bethlehem, New Britain, New Eagle, New Florence, New Freedom, New Holland, New Hope, New Kensington, New Market, New Morgan, New Oxford, New Salem, New Stanton, Newtown, Norristown, North Apollo, North Braddock, North Catasauqua, North Charleroi, North Irwin, North Wales, North York, Northampton, Norwood, Oakdale, Oakmont, Oklahoma, Osborne, Oxford, Parker, Parkesburg, Parkside, Pen Argyl, Penn, Penn Hills, Penndel, Pennsburg, Pennsbury Village, Perkasie, Petrolia, Phoenixville, Pitcairn, Pittsburgh, Pleasant Hills, Plum, Plumville, Plymouth Meeting, Port Vue, Portersville, Portland, Pottstown, Prospect, Prospect Park, Punxsutawney, Quakertown, Quarryville, Radnor, Railroad, Rankin, Reading, Red Hill, Red Lion, Renfrew, Reynoldsville, Richlandtown, Ridley Park, Riegelsville, Rimersburg, Robesonia, Rockledge, Roscoe, Rose Valley, Roseto, Rosslyn Farms, Royersford, Rural Valley, Rutledge, Sabillasville, Saint Lawrence, Saint Petersburg, Saltsburg, Saxonburg, Scenery Hill, Schwenksville, Scottdale, Sellersville, Seven Fields, Seven Valleys, Seward, Sewickley, Sewickley Heights, Sewickley Hills, Sharon Hill, Sharpsburg, Sharpsburg, Shelocta, Shillington, Shippenville, Shoemakersville, Shrewsbury, Silver Spring, Silverdale, Sinking Spring, Slatington, Sligo, Slippery Rock, Smicksburg, Smithton, Souderton, South Bethlehem, South Coatesville, South Greensburg, Southampton, Speers, Spring City, Spring Grove, Springdale, Stewartstown, Stockdale, Stockertown, Strasburg, Strattanville, Strausstown, Summerville, Sutersville, Swarthmore, Swissvale, Sykesville, Tarentum, Tatamy, Telford, Temple, Terre Hill, Thornburg, Timblin, Topton, Trafford, Trainer, Trappe, Tredyffrin, Trumbauersville, Tullytown, Turtle Creek, Twilight, Unionville, Upland, Upper Dublin, Upper St. Clair, Valencia, Valencia, Vandergrift, Vernon, Verona, Versailles, Villanova, Walkersville, Wall, Walnutport, Wampum, Washington, Wellsville, Wernersville, West Alexander, West Brownsville, West Chester, West Conshohocken, West Easton, West Elizabeth, West Grove, West Homestead, West Kittanning, West Leechburg, West Liberty, West Middletown, West Mifflin, West Newton, West Reading, West Sunbury, West View, West York, Whitaker, White Oak, Whitehall, Whitehall, Whitehall, Wilkinsburg, Willow Street, Wilmerding, Wilson, Wind Gap, Windsor, Winterstown, Womelsdorf, Worthington, Worthville, Wrightsville, Wyomissing, Yardley, Yeadon, Yoe, York, York Haven, York Springs, Yorkana, Youngstown, Youngwood, Zelienople

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Pennsylvania Wildlife Services

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