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The opossum is the only marsupial (pouched animal) that is found throughout the United States & Canada. Opossums can cause extensive damage to homes & businesses as they need nesting material to live and rear their young. They contaminate the attic insulation with their feces and urine. They can also tear through the AC duct and chew on electrical outlets costing hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs. It is usually the female opossums that take up residence in an attic to give birth and raise their young. Although they can be found under homes, opossums are also able to climb in between walls. Some have even died in between the walls leaving behind a terrible odor which in turn leaves an invitation for flies, maggots and can cause significant staining on the wall.
A female opossum gives birth to helpless young. Their young are as tiny honeybees! The babies crawl into their mother's pouch immediately after being born. As they grow larger in size, they will go in and out of the pouch and will even sometimes ride on the mother's back as she hunts for food.
The opossum can have anywhere from one (1) to three (3) litters per year between January thru July. They may give birth to as many as twenty (20) babies in a litter but only a few of them survive while others may never even make it to the pouch. Opossums often make their way into homes or businesses and rummage through garbage cans, dumpsters and other containers that may store food. They are attracted to carrion (animals that are already dead) and have been spotted near road kill. Their diet consists of grass, eggs, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, nuts, and fruit. They will also hunt mice, birds, insects, worms, snakes and chickens.
When a opossum feels threatened by other animals or people, they will usually snarl or hiss. If this does not work, they may lay down, open their mouth, and remain "lifeless" (play dead) for several minutes. They use this as a defense mechanism against predators to allow the opossum an opportunity to make an escape.
They are nocturnal (active at night) and are excellent tree climbers. They are able to do this with the use of their sharp claws which they use to dig into bark, and by using their long tail for gripping. They can be found in tree stumps, hollow logs, road culverts or in dens made by other animals.