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Are Opossums Dangerous?


If you are like many people, you are conflicted about opossums. When you see one, they look like oversized rats with big teeth, but then there are those cute videos online. Opossums are cuddling, carrying their young on their backs, and people are even putting them in sweaters. Then you are reminded about the hissing and beady eyes. Are opossums as dangerous as they look? This guide will help you answer that question once and for all.

What is an Opossum?

An opossum is a North American marsupial. Yes, it is in the same family as kangaroos, wombats, koalas, and wallabies.

The most common opossum in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut is the American opossum. This opossum is about the size of a typical house cat. They can grow to about 15 to 20 inches in length and weigh between 4 and 15 pounds.

The fur on the opossum is black or grayish. The Opossum has a long, pointed snout with a pink nose at the tip. Cute, right? Until you realize that inside their mouth is a set of 50 razor sharp teeth.

Typically, opossums will do everything they can to avoid confrontation, even playing dead. However, if you, your pets, or your children get too close, the opossum will hiss and growl, warning invaders to get away. If you do corner an opossum, they will bite. This is dangerous for anyone who has an opossum stuck in their home, shed, or garage.

The opossum is also a carrier for several diseases. Opossums can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, leptospirosis, and murine typhus.

What to do about Opossums

To prevent an opossum from entering your home, start with the outside first. Take steps to prevent opossums from being attracted to your property in the first place. To prevent opossums:

  • Keep your garbage can lids closed and secure
  • Remove water sources from around the outside of your home
  • Install fences around your garden and compost areas
  • Install barriers underneath sheds, decks, patios, and other outside structures
  • Call the experts

Opossums can be dangerous to try and remove on your own. They may look cute, but when they become threatened, they will attack. If an opossum has babies with her, she will go into protective mode to prevent you from harming her young. This is one problem around your home that you should absolutely avoid.

Big Blue Bug Solutions has wildlife removal technicians on staff to help you get opossums off your property or out of your home. Our wildlife control services include a free wildlife inspection, control programs, and effective prevention solutions. Call us today to learn how we can help you with wildlife removal.