Bobcats: 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 “Bobcats: 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”

Found a Dead Opossum? Check its Pouch!

Car collisions are a leading cause of death for adult opossums. When an opossum is terrified, it enters an involuntary comatose state (“playing possum”) and freezes in place. This is great for dissuading predators, but evolution didn’t prepare the opossum for automobiles. The good news is that, if you see a dead opossum, it mightContinue reading “Found a Dead Opossum? Check its Pouch!”

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 orContinue reading “Do Opossums Spread Disease?”

Any Mammal Can Get Rabies

For Fox Sake’s focus is on our local rabies vector species: skunks, foxes, and raccoons. But these animals aren’t “rabies vectors” simply because they can catch rabies, but rather, because they can live with it for several days or weeks and transmit it to other animals, including humans, during that time. It’s possible for absolutelyContinue reading “Any Mammal Can Get Rabies”