Opossums are commonly misunderstood creatures and many people don’t like having them around their yard, but this uninvited guest is actually a good thing for your garden, your animals, and our community! Here are a few of the reasons we believe opossums are unsung heroes, and why the best thing to do if you see one is to leave them where they are.
Benefits of Opossums
Let’s start with the garden. Opossums eat a number of garden pests from snails, slugs, and cockroaches to small rodents and reptiles. They’ll even eat venomous snakes and help you clean up your yard by eating any loose garbage or fallen fruit! That’s pretty amazing, but how do they help other animals and our community? These incredible creatures actually protect our health. Opossums eat thousands of ticks every year, helping defend us and our pets from serious tick-borne diseases.
Are opossums aggressive?
Many people mistakenly believe that opossums are aggressive, sometimes confusing their defensive hissing as a sign they’ll attack or are carrying rabies. Both are unlikely as opossums generally hide from humans and are rarely aggressive, only coming out at night and often playing dead when frightened. They’re also naturally resistant to a number of toxins and diseases, including both rabies and lyme disease, which is what allows them to eat things like rodents, snakes, and ticks. There’s nothing to fear from your backyard friend, and they may even help remove some real dangers from your yard!
What do I do if there are opossums in my yard?
The best thing to do if you have an opossum in your yard is simply to leave them be. They don’t mean you any harm, and if they don’t find easy food sources, they’ll likely be on their way. The best way to encourage them to move along is to keep your trash cans secure, bring any outdoor pet food inside after dark, and fill any holes that could make a potential cozy den for a family of resourceful little marsupials.
Opossums are a benefit to our community, helping us keep our neighborhoods clean and protecting human and animal health. Opossums are considered free-roaming wildlife, and harming or relocating them is illegal. For these reasons, Clovis Animal Services does not remove or relocate opossums unless they are injured, ill, or exhibiting irregular aggressive behavior. However, as always, we’re here to help our citizens in any way we can. If you have questions regarding opossums or any other animals in the City of Clovis, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (559) 324-2450. We’ve made it our mission to build a model community for animal care in Clovis, and we’re glad to offer resources, recommendations, and our time to help our citizens. To learn more, visit our About Page.