Do Opossums Spread Disease?

Opossums look a little bit like huge rats, so they’ve been mistakenly associated with disease. But, with very few exceptions, opossums can’t and don’t carry the same viruses that infect humans and pets. An opossum’s normal body temperature is typically around 93-94 degrees, and sometimes as low as 89-90 degrees.

Most diseases affecting pets or humans— like rabies, canine distemper, canine parvovirus, panleukopenia, flu, and norovirus—can be carried by many animals with higher body temperatures, but can’t replicate in an opossum’s body unless the opossum has a fever. It’s extraordinarily rare for humans or pets to catch diseases, especially viruses, from opossums.

With that being said, it’s a good idea to use common sense and proper hygiene around any wild animal, because even the “cleanest” wild animals carry bacteria and parasites in their poo and on their fur. If you need to clean up a mess left by any animal, wear rubber or latex gloves.

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