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”

Scary Opossums!

Opossums have more teeth than any other land mammal, and when they’re scared, they like to use those scary-looking jaws to make themselves look intimidating. But don’t let this face fool you: opossums are actually very gentle, timid creatures who almost never bite or attack. They’re also naturally resistant (though not 100% immune) to rabies.Continue reading “Scary Opossums!”

No Safe Litter

We’ve all done it at some point: tossed a banana peel, apple core, or sandwich crust out of our car windows. Many people believe this is safe because food scraps are biodegradable. Unfortunately, food waste has become a leading cause of death for wildlife. When you toss food out the window, it attracts hungry animalsContinue reading “No Safe Litter”

Killing Opossums to Prevent EPM?

Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, also known as EPM, is a dreaded fear for many horse owners— and understandably so. This condition is very serious and can be difficult and expensive to treat. Opossums are short-term hosts for the parasite that causes EPM, and horses contract it when an opossum poops in its feed. A lot ofContinue reading “Killing Opossums to Prevent EPM?”