6 Opossum Facts You Didn’t Know
Opossums are Florida’s only marsupial, and they’re common in urban areas. While people encounter opossums frequently, they may not know very much about them. As pest professionals know, these wild animals are fascinating. Here are six interesting facts about opossums.
- They’re Surprisingly Hardy
Opossums have a natural immunity to some types of snake venoms. They owe this ability to a special molecule in their blood. In the future, this molecule may be used to create a universal antivenom to help human snakebite victims.
A resistance to snake venom is impressive enough, but opossums are also rarely affected by rabies. Opossums have a lower body temperature than other mammals, which may make them more resistant to the virus.
- They’re Not Picky Eaters
Opossums are omnivores, and they’ll eat pretty much anything they can find. This includes dead animals and human garbage. You may see opossums digging through your garbage cans looking for something tasty to eat. Fruit, eggs, table scraps, and discarded pet food are just a few of the things dine on.
- They’re Smart
While opossums may not look very intelligent, looks can be deceiving. In fact, some learning tests have shown that opossums are smarter than dogs and about as smart as pigs. This intelligence serves them well when it comes to food since they’re able to remember where food is.
- They Help Control Pests
Since opossums aren’t picky about what they eat, they can help you control pests. They snack on unwanted garden residents like snails, slugs, and beetles. Rodents are also on the menu for opossums.
- They Have Unique Toes
Unlike most mammals, opossums have opposable first toes. This means their big toes function more like thumbs. Thanks to these toes, they’re strong climbers, but they prefer to stay on the ground.
- They Have Many Natural Defenses
When opossums feel threatened, they have many natural defenses to rely on. To scare away potential predators, they may growl, hiss, or bare their teeth. If all else fails, they’ll even play dead. Their acting is very convincing. They drool and excrete droppings to appear dead and can remain “dead” for as long as several hours.
Opossums are much more interesting than they appear. However, it’s hard to be fascinated by a creature that’s invited itself into your attic or shed! If opossums are causing problems for you, call the Orlando pest removal experts at Apex for help.