While working at a sizable wildlife removal company, Animals in Attic Waco Tx, I was contacted with tens of thousands of opossum calls! Most had been struck by cars, attacked and injured by dogs or captured in traps by people and picked up from our techs. Thank goodness, a couple of years back the county stopped accepting trapped wildlife, people needed to learn how to live peacefully with Opossums.
A lot of people believe that opossums are competitive but In fact, opossums are solitary, tender and placid creatures. Adults are normally quite slow moving and will just open their mouth to show their teeth and hiss when scared. They do not initiate aggression. They’ll escape whenever possible.
Opossums are actually very valuable to our yards. They’re omnivores, so they eat both meat and plants. They’re quite flexible and make due with the water and food that they can find. Pretty much every single lawn has opossums walking around at nighttime. Trust me, they aren’t a threat for you or your pets.
Adult opossums are about the size of an adult cat. They utilize their thick tail to climb and occasionally escape. Opossums can live in trees, however the adults can hang with their tails while they sleep. Opossums will make a den in any dark, quiet location. They do not put much effort into creating a “house”. They are marsupial mammals (feminine; which has a pouch for carrying her babies).
When they become adults and begin breeding at 1 year-old. They are able to have one to two litters a year, depending on the climate. The gestation (period from conception to birth) is just 12 – 14 days. The mom has 13 teats and that’s the maximum number of infants she can nurse. Normally, 13 babies will not make it in the pouch and the ones that do, just around 3 to 6 will survive into the weaning age. The infants are undeveloped embryos. As soon as they are born, they scoot into the mothers pouch where they latch onto a teat. After the babies move on, the teat swells and elongates and they remain there constantly.
The infants are weaned at 2-3 months old and are considered juveniles. They become independent of the mother when they’re 6 – 12 months old and approximately 7″ to 10″ long. They become breeding adults whenever they’re 1 year-old. The mature males are bigger than the females.
Likely different than you thought. When opossums are incredibly frightened, they could enter an impending “shock – like” or “fainting state.” They first wake up by wiggling their ears.
When they’re unconscious, they normally have a open mouth and also seem to be lifeless.
Opossums just live 2 – 4 years. They have a good deal of predators! Between individuals, cars, cats, dogs, owls and bigger wildlife, Opossums do not survive very long.
So, the next time you see one drifting around at night, try to look the other way. They really aren’t as bad as they seem.