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Florida Nuisance Trappers
is a full-service wildlife control company serving Brevard and Indian River and the surrounding area. We specialize in urban and suburban wildlife damage management for both residential and commercial customers. We handle nearly all aspects of wildlife control, and resolve conflicts between people and wildlife in a humane and professional manner. For Brevard and Indian River pest control of wildlife, just give us a call at 321-652-7238 and we will discuss your wildlife problem and schedule an appointment to solve it. We look forward to hearing from you.
Scientific Name of the Virginia Opossum: Didelphis virginiana
Average Size: 21 - 36" long (including tail); 4 - 15 lbs.
Average Lifespan in the Wild: 1 - 2 years
Identifying Features: cat-sized body; grey fur with a white face; long pointy snout; round dark eyes and hairless ears; four paws; long, hairless tail spanning over 1/3 of its total boday length.
On average, opossums are approximately the size of a house cat. These critters are found naturally in the southeast but can be very much a nuisance since they are attracted to practically any type of available food — including pet food and garbage. To reduce attraction of opossums to your home, remember to secure attractants (i.e. bring pet food in at night and use your locking trash can correctly). On occasion, opossums will sometimes take up residence under houses. If this happens, place mothballs or an ammonia soaked rag under your house to drive them away.
When threatened or harmed, these animals will "play possum", mimicking the appearance and smell of a sick or dead animal. The lips are drawn back, teeth are bared, saliva foams around the mouth, and a foul-smelling fluid is secreted from the anal glands. This physiological response is completely involuntary, rather than a conscious act.
Many injured opossums have been killed by well-meaning people who find a catatonic animal and assume the worst. The best thing to do upon finding an injured or apparently dead opossum is to leave it in a quiet place with a clear exit path. In minutes or hours, the opossum will regain consciousness and escape quietly on its own.
Virginia opossums inhabit Central America and the eastern half of the United States, as well as parts of the west coast, where opossums had just been introduced during the Great Depression.
While opossums prefer deciduous woodlands with nearby sources of water - like streams or swamps - they are extremely adaptable and succeed in a variety of habitats and climates. The most important elements in a possum's home range are food, water and shelter.
Opossums don't build their own dens; therefore they often take shelter in abandoned animal burrows, hollow logs, brush piles, woodpiles, attics and other man-made structures
Opossums are opportunistic omnivores that eat a wide variety of animal and plant matter. While they're mainly scavengers - feeding on dead animals and plant matter - they also love insects and occasionally hunt small animals like chicks and snakes
Activity: Opossums are nocturnal - active mainly after dark. Although they do not hibernate, they are often less active during the winter. Opossums tend to be solitary animals and live alone when they are not breeding.
Reproduction: Between the months of January and October, opossums breed and give birth to up to two litters of 4-8 young - or joeys - each. The gestation period of a possum is about 13 days, after which time the joeys are born and must immediately claim one of 13 nipples inside the mother's pouch. Joeys remain inside the pouch for about 50 days, after which time they begin to exit the pouch and spend time on their mother's back. After about 100 days, young opossums split from their mothers to find their own home ranges.
Defense: When threatened, an opossum will hiss and show its teeth to try to ward off a predator. If this doesn't stop the predator from attacking, the opossum will pretend to be dead, falling to his side, curling up and opening his mouth. Some refer to this as "playing possum", and this defense mechanism often results in a predator walking away.
Skills: Opossums are skilled climbers, thanks to their opposable rear thumbs and long tails that are designed to wrap around branches. They are also great swimmers, although they prefer to travel on land.
There are more than 60 different species of opossums.
which are often called possums. The most notable is the Virginia opossum or common opossum—the only marsupial (pouched mammal) found in the United States and Canada.
A female opossum gives birth to helpless young as tiny as honeybees. Babies immediately crawl into the mother's pouch, where they continue to develop. As they get larger, they will go in and out of the pouch and sometimes ride on the mother's back as she hunts for food. Opossums may give birth to as many as 20 babies in a litter, but fewer than half of them survive. Some never even make it as far as the pouch.
Opossums are scavengers, and they often visit human homes or settlements to raid garbage cans, dumpsters, and other containers. They are attracted to carrion and can often be spotted near roadkill. Opossums also eat grass, nuts, and fruit. They will hunt mice, birds, insects, worms, snakes, and even chickens.
These animals are most famous for "playing possum." When threatened by dogs, foxes, or bobcats, opossums sometimes flop onto their sides and lie on the ground with their eyes closed or staring fixedly into space. They extend their tongues and generally appear to be dead. This ploy may put a predator off its guard and allow the opossum an opportunity to make its escape.
Opossums are excellent tree climbers and spend much of their time aloft. They are aided in this by sharp claws, which dig into bark, and by a long prehensile (gripping) tail that can be used as an extra limb. Opossums nest in tree holes or in dens made by other animals.
These animals are widespread and are sometimes hunted as food, particularly in the southern United States.
- More than 60 different species of opossum live on the earth. The most-widely found opossum is the Virgina opossum, which forms the only pouched mammal in Canada and the United States.
- Opossum is resistant to diseases like rabies, because of its efficient immune system and low body temperature.
- The babies of opossum are as small as honeybees. They develop in the pouch of their mother. Sometimes, they even ride on their mother’s back, as it goes hunting for food.
- Opossum is an excellent tree climber and uses its sharp claws, tail and mouth for serving this purpose.
- It lives in the holes of the trees. In some cases, it also finds its shelter in the dens of other animals.
- Opossum has neither good eyesight nor strong hearing power. However, it has a sharp sense of smell, which guides in its food-hunting venture.
- The mammal is nocturnal and hides during the day. It exhibits the traits of a scavenger and visits human homes to find its food from garbage and other containers.
- When threatened, opossum curls up in the shape of a coma and become motionless. It sometimes flops on its sides and remains lying on the ground, with its eyes closed or fixed in one direction. It can remain in this state from 1 minute to 6 hours.
- Opossum has a robust immune system and is resistant to snake venom. It is known to be non-aggressive in character and always keeps itself extremely clean.
- It usually stays alone and is nomadic. It sticks on to one place as long as it gets sufficient food in the place.
- Male opossum makes smack noise to attract the female counterparts, whereas the female sometimes repeats the same sound. Baby opossum makes sneezing or hissing sound, when it faces a danger or is distressed.
- Before giving birth, an opossum mother vigorously licks and cleans the pouch for the newborns. She also cleans the path in which the babies shall crawl into the pouch.
- It was Captain John Smith who used the term opossum for the first time in 1608. The name was adapted from the Native American Algonquin term ‘apasum’, which mean white animal.
- Opossums have 50 teeth which is more than any mammal.
- Since opossums have not evolved much since their origin, their brain in relatively primitive and smaller than a placental mammal of the same size.
- The female opossum has a vagina divided uterus and the male has a forked penis.
- Opossums give birth to two litters per year, each have an average number 8 babies. It takes at least 67 day for them to crawl out of the pouch and 75 days to have solid food.
The name “opossum” comes from the Algonquin Indian name for the animal, pasum. How the initial “o” was appended no one seems to know for certain. Some have suggested that when Capt. John Smith asked his Indian friend what the animal was called, he uttered a short grunt before saying the word. The theory that the opossum descended from a family of Irish O’Possums has been entirely discredited by modern scholarship.
The opossum is the only marsupial in North America. This means the animal carries its young in a pouch, much the same as does the Australian kangaroo. Once a female opossum mates, she gives birth a mere 13 days later to a litter of roughly a dozen baby opossums that are each no bigger than a honeybee. These tiny, blind, and naked babies crawl on their own all the way to their mother’s pouch. There they each latch on to a teat from which they receive milk. They remain there for nearly three months.
A four-legged bus
Once the young opossums leave the pouch, they’re still not ready to face the world on their own. For the next 10 to 15 days they go about clinging to mother’s fur. Eventually they become too heavy to hang on during these trips and one by one fall off. By the time this happens, the young opossum is fully weaned and able to forage for himself.
Pity the poor opossum.
The oft-maligned marsupial definitely suffers from an image problem — it is frequently perceived more as a giant, dirty, scavenging rat rather than a cute creature of the wild. But whether you love them or hate them, North America’s only marsupial has a set of unique characteristics that might transform aversion into affection.
But first, the burning question: is it opossum or possum? In 1608, Capt. John Smith coined the word opossum from the word "opassum," the Algonquian term meaning "white animal." In his notes, the captain wrote: "An Opassom hath an head like a Swine, and a taile like a Rat, and is of the bignes of a Cat. Under her belly she hath a bagge, wherein shee lodgeth, carrieth, and sucketh her young."
No one is quite sure how the opossum’s “o” was dropped, but it appeared in print as "possum" as early as 1613, and remains the colloquial term in many regions of the country. However, there are true possums – just not in the North American neck of the woods. Possums include any of several species (from the family Phalangeridae) of nocturnal, arboreal marsupials of Australia and New Guinea, and were mistakenly named in the 18th century when the naturalist from Capt. James Cook’s expedition wrongly called them possums after their North American cousins. Nonetheless, it's the Australian ones that hold the true scientific title of "possum" now.
A comprehensive inspection, completed by one of our qualified wildlife service technicians, will reveal the exact nature of your wildlife problems. Florida Nuisance Trappers aims to identify the species of wildlife present, locate their entry points and proceed with a plan of action to eliminate the problem permanently. Trapping , removal or exclusion of wildlife as well as complete repair of damaged areas is your best defense against all unwanted wildlife issues. ALL work comes with a 100% Guarantee CALL 24/7!