Do Opossums cause problems for people?
- Posted by gordonb
- On March 31, 2022
- 0 Comments
Problems caused by opossums
Many homeowners in the Triangle area of North Carolina have woken up to the frustrating sight of their trash cans being knocked over and the contents spread out and scavenged through by opossums. And if you’re up early enough in the morning, you may even catch sight of these nocturnal creatures ambling away after finishing their dinner at your expense. Due to the Triangle expanding, opossums have become more comfortable in increasingly urban environments and around people and pets. But this leads to a larger question: what problems can opossums cause here in North Carolina?
While many people can rightfully claim that opossums do not pose a direct danger because they are not aggressive to humans, they do pose other significant problems, like that of damage and disease, which are a serious cause of concern for anyone living near them. In addition, many of the homespun remedies to scare them away, like creating repellents and barriers, tend to be short-term fixes when attempted without professional assistance. They may be cute, and will happily munch up the problem pests in your garden, but ultimately, allowing them to set up camp on your property will only invite a variety of issues. Let’s break down a few of their most problematic infractions.
Like most scavengers, opossums tend to pick up a variety of pathogens and parasites from what they eat and the environments they prefer. They’ll happily consume the rotting flesh of other creatures and make their homes in old nests of other animals, like squirrels, which can contain feces.
By spending time in these less than ideal locales, they can spread bacterias (like leptospirosis), infections (like tularemia), parasites (like toxoplasmosis), and protozoa microorganisms (like coccidiosis or sarcocystis neurona). While most of these words may only seem terrifying to pronounce, the reality of these diseases should be just as frightening. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, some of them are deadly. In addition, almost all of them are especially dangerous to children, pets, pregnant women and anyone with autoimmune conditions.
And while we all may think that the interior of our homes is safe from such diseases, our pets can easily act as carriers by sharing the nasty fleas, ticks, mites and lice that are common to opossums as well. Even if you’ve gotten the proper medical protection to prevent those little biters from harming your dogs or cats, their fur can still transport the offenders indoors to be picked up by any of us.
Opossums love to set up residence inside our homes, particularly in the attic, crawl space, garage, basement and walls. Yes, they could be in the walls. Because they sleep during the day, aside from the increasing scent of urine and feces, you may not even notice. This becomes a big problem during North Carolina’s colder months. Opossums don’t hibernate and tend to increase their family numbers during the less mobile months, i.e. settling in to have babies. This makes removing them permanently from a structure difficult. They are very good climbers, so they will often travel up gutters and rip up roof shingles to find a warm home for their future scavengers.
Once in an attic or basement, they will shred and destroy whatever is around them that will make for a good nesting environment. This can result in insulation, clothing, and family keepsakes being ruined. They like to sneak around the main areas of the house when they can hear that it’s quiet, like if you’re asleep or on vacation, and will happily enter through a doggie door if they discover it. This is where the potential of disease becomes a real problem. Finally, if you can picture the destruction of the interior of your trash cans all over the road, just imagine what the interior of your house could look like if they get busy in there.
But Critter Control of the Triangle can help!
If you are reading through this article, then you have likely identified an opossum on your property and are curious what the potential risks are. Now you know. It’s time to call a professional. Most opossums will easily return to a previous stomping ground after being removed from your area. But it can take strategies from an expert to encourage them to stay away for good.
At Critter Control of the Triangle, our trained and licensed animal removal specialists know how to quickly, humanely and affordably remove these pesky opossums to ensure the safety of your property, people and pets. Call us today at 919-382-0651.