Opossum Bites: Not So Scary!

Opossums get killed frequently for looking “scary” or “fierce,” but they’re actually much weaker and less intimidating than they look! An opossum has fifty pointy teeth— more than any other land mammal— and will use those chompers to try to scare people away when they’re frightened. While we don’t recommend getting bitten by any animals,Continue reading “Opossum Bites: Not So Scary!”

These Animals Don’t Dig Burrows!

No animal deserves to die for doing what comes naturally to it, but it’s especially upsetting when animals are killed for something they don’t actually do. Cottontail rabbits, raccoons, opossums, and tree squirrels all get killed routinely by people worried that they will dig burrows in their lawns. European rabbits dig burrows, so many peopleContinue reading “These Animals Don’t Dig Burrows!”

Opossums Need Shelter to Survive Winter

Opossums are, ultimately, tropical animals. Out of over 100 opossum species in the world, nearly all live in the hot deserts and rainforests and Central and South America. Opossums aren’t equipped with adaptations for surviving winter: they can’t hibernate, and they have naked feet, tails, and ears that are highly susceptible to frostbite. Our nativeContinue reading “Opossums Need Shelter to Survive Winter”

Opossums: Nature’s Savants

You may have read about (or met) people with savant syndrome. Formerly called “idiot savants,” people with savant syndrome have significant learning disabilities but also display exceptional intelligence at times, often to the shock of those who underestimate them. Opossums are the natural world’s own example of savant syndrome! If you were to look atContinue reading “Opossums: Nature’s Savants”

Trees Don’t Litter

If you’d ever seen how quickly our raccoon patients can devour twenty pounds of acorns or forage through six inches of fallen leaves for bugs, you’d understand exactly why there’s no need to “clean up” the gifts trees leave us in autumn! Many native animals in our area cannot survive winter without the bounty ofContinue reading “Trees Don’t Litter”

Your Cat Can’t Raise Wild Animal Babies

You’ve likely seen— and possibly even shared— those cute viral photos and videos of domestic cats raising wild animals. Stories of cats raising wild animals are always adorable and heartwarming, but the sad truth is that most of these stories are fake, and most attempts to recreate them end in tragedy. Take, for example, theContinue reading “Your Cat Can’t Raise Wild Animal Babies”

Do Opossums Spread Typhus?

The Virginia opossum’s rat-like appearance and association with filth leads many people to associate it with disease. In the last few years, many people have been alarmed by headlines about opossums spreading murine typhus in Los Angeles, and it has reignited fears about this gentle marsupial. No mammal actually spreads murine typhus. Typhus is causedContinue reading “Do Opossums Spread Typhus?”

Opossums Don’t Dig Up Yards

People are often quick to exterminate opossums because of the belief that they will destroy a lawn with digging or burrowing. While you may have some lawn damage, and may have opossums on your property, there’s no connection between the two. Opossums are not digging, burrowing animals. In fact, they don’t spend a lot ofContinue reading “Opossums Don’t Dig Up Yards”