Scientific Name: Didelphis virginiana
Possums' or grinners as some people call them, are relatively harmless. They would rather run than fight and are very helpful in being nature's four legged garbage cans. They will eat almost anything.
Control Issues: Solutions to Common Possum problems
1. I have an opossum in my trash can
Keep trash cans covered. Possums frequently become trapped inside trash cans as they search for food. If you find one inside and you have not been exposed to its saliva or other body fluids, then simply kick the can over on its side and walk away. Keep children and pets away as well. Possums won't leave until they feel safe. If possible wait until nighfall to do this.
2. Possum on Fence or Opossum won't move
Contrary to popular belief, possums don't play dead. However when frightened, opossums will sit there and hiss with their mouth open. If you find a possum who won't move, don't assume that he is injured. Most often the opossum is frightened and will simply hold his ground and defend himself. Simply walk away and keep children and pets away. (Of course, you should make sure the opossum has not bitten any pet or person if it has, contact your health dept). The opossum will move on when he feels safe.
I have learned that there is a parasite that is associated with opossums. The possums contaminate grain with their feces, the horses eat it and get infected with the parasite with then attacks the horse's central central nerve system. It can be very expensive to treat with estimates ranging from $200.00 - $800.00 per month for six months. The opossum gets it from the muscles of birds they eat.
For more information on this disease I found a web page
1. Repair the barn. Opossums aren't tenacious, they just aren't that big of a creature. A four inch diameter hole is plenty of room for them to squeeze into. Making > appropriate repairs to the Barn will, in my mind be your best option. By the way, raccoon can also fit through a four inch hole.
2. Opossums can climb. So if you want to protect the coral area, I would suggest an electric fence.
3. Keep a tight lid on horse food. You don't want to have food encourage animals to approach the area. Mouse control should be performed aggressively.
4. Institute a control program. For traps and instruction click Animal Damage Control Products
Traps: Use our Raccoon Traps
Baits: Use our Raccoon Baits
Instructions on trapping Opossums: Get our Wildlife Removal Handbook rev. ed.
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