I know your probably wondering why in the world would we be releasing opossum’s back into the wild? Well as it turns out they are have a positive and beneficial affect on the ecosystem. Opossums are the unsung heroes in the Lyme Disease epidemic as they eat a lot of the ticks that spread the disease. Often called “Nature’s Little Sanitation Engineer”. Not only do they eat the rotting overripe apples laying on the ground keeping the area clean and the bee populations manageable, they eat nuisance pests such as mice and voles and cockroaches and leaf destroying beetles.
I could probably give you a another 10 or more reasons as to why but Ill leave it at this for now and hopefully that explains to you why we release them back into the wild.
A few myths and facts about Opossums that I find interesting:
People often mistake the open-mouth hissing and drooling behavior of opossums as a sign of rabies. However, this is just a bluffing behavior that opossums use as a defense mechanism and does not indicate a sick animal. In fact, rabies is extremely rare in opossums, perhaps because they have a lower body temperature than other warm-blooded animals.
Considered rodents by many, this is a common misconception. Opossums are marsupials, or pouched mammals, and are related to the kangaroo and the koala. The opossum holds the distinction of being North America’s only marsupial.
They often get blamed for things that they don’t do—like tipping over garbage cans. (It’s most likely the neighborhood dogs or maybe an energetic raccoon who provides a nice smorgasbord which the opossums enjoy.
Most people refer to Opossums as possums but the term possum covers about 70 species of marsupials native to Australia and surrounding islands and Opossum covers over 100 species of marsupials living in the Western Hemisphere.
Opossums are transient animals, staying only 2-3 days in an area before moving on. Removal is neither necessary nor desirable. Wildlife experts agree that if opossums were eliminated from an area, the population of roof rats and other pests would proliferate.
This animal is quite smart, in fact, according to some opossum fans, they are smarter than dogs! Nocturnal by nature, theses marsupials spend most of their days asleep in their nests and there nights out foraging for food.