Opossum- The Misunderstood Marsupials

Opossum is the correct name for the Western Hemisphere (United States and other regions not part of the Euro area). Opossums are so misunderstood by the majority of people who think negatively about this animal. Right, well here it is – I am not ashamed to admit that I like Opossums and I for one think they are CUTE. (So there, lump it)

Something many may have not known about the differences in the names of Opossum vs. possum
The term possum covers about 70 species of marsupials native to Australia and surrounding islands. Opossum covers over 100 species of marsupials living in the United States and other areas.
That’s practically the only difference. (The more you know).

Why do opossums have a bad rap? Maybe it is because of their defense such as the open mouth, hiss and drool mechanics. Maybe it is because people believe that because of this mechanism of defense that automatically an opossum has “rabies”. Well, in fact, opossums have not had rabies for many years frankly, it is extremely RARE for an opossum to have or contract rabies. Some say it may be due to the lower body temperature from other warm-blooded animals.

Whichever case being – Opossums should be highly respected since they can be beneficiary to your garden area, not to mention to a humans life in general seeing as Opossums kill 96.5% of ticks that may land on them, and the probability that a single Opossum may be killing/eating at least 4,000 ticks every week. Well, that is protecting us from the dreaded Lyme disease; guess people should rethink their negativity toward Opossums eh?

An Unexpected Plus
Serving as inadvertent innkeepers for opossums may turn out to be good for your health. Scientists at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, have learned that opossums act like little vacuum cleaners when it comes to ticks, including those that can spread debilitating Lyme disease to humans and other animals.
Source Quote: https://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Animals/Archives/2015/Opossums.aspx

On the other hand, maybe it is because many people think Opossums are the ones who get into those trashcans. This is not the case, even though you might find an Opossum in your trashcan, he or she did not knock it over, instead they are just cleaning house. In fact a majority of knocked over trashcans are done by stray dogs and or possibly raccoons.

If you do not want Opossums in your trashcan area, then keep your cans tightly sealed and or have it where no animal can have access. If you do not want Opossums in your yard, then pick up fallen fruit and other items of interest. Yet I for one would not mind a visit from an Opossum – since they can as stated before, could be beneficial to a garden. Since Opossums enjoy at times, eating snails, slugs, insects, and sometimes even small rodents.

Therefore, before you shoo them away, just remember the benefits of an Opossum.

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Fusia Robbins

I am a nonpracticing lawyer and an avid Fiber Artist, as well as an intermediate photographer, cartoonist, digital artist, and painter. I have been a writer for approximately 14 years+ and during that time I was an investigative journalist for a private organization that exposed corruption among charities and other businesses. I also spent time advocating/acting on behalf of and for animal and human rights. Yet now I spend my days writing poems, sonnets and stories. As well as crochet patterns, when I am not doing that I spend a lot of time taking care of my son.

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