Possums look alot like giant rats, with their pointed snouts and skinny tails. They are in fact North America's only marsupial (like kangaroos, they raise their young in a pouch). Adults average 10-14 lbs. They don't live very long, rarely more than two years, three max. They mate in January, and then the tiny young climb into the pouch and grow, then cling to the mother's back, then drop off and lead a life on their own. Opossums are omnivores, which means that they eat anything. They have the most teeth of any mammal, about 50, a prehensile tail, opposable thumbs, and they have incredible immune systems.
Possums are nomadic and opportunistic animals. They sometimes establish a home base, especially a female with young, and often live in human structures. They rummage around at night for food, and will eat pretty much anything, but prefer meat, and even rotting carcasses. They are not very fast, and will stand their ground when threatened, even bite, bearing their 50 sharp teeth. In some circumstances, they will sometimes fake death, or "play possum" they fall over, tongue hanging out. It may be more an act of passing out from sheer terror as opposed to a grand act. Opossums can, if they wish, hang from their tails, but they very rarely do this
Because they are scavengers, they can come into conflict with people and cause various problems. They'll steal garbage and pet food. They can distress pets, and if a dog corners one, it can get a nasty bite. They can spread fleas and other parasites. Most of all, they often like to live in human structures, such as under sheds or decks, and they very commonly live inside of attics. When an opossum lives in an attic, it makes the attic its personal toilet, and leave a lot of droppings. They can also cause destruction in houses and attics. In addition, possums very frequently die inside buildings, inside the attic or walls, and the smell of a rotting opossum body is horrible and last for many days, even weeks.
There is no registered or effective opossum repellent available. You can find some products on the market, such as mothball-based or urine-based repellents, but they do not work well. Go ahead and try them. And those high-pitch noisemakers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a warning against them, ultrasonic sound emitters do not work. There is no quick and easy fix when it comes to opossum control in New York. It's best to have a professional animal removal company like "Animal Removal" trap and remove the animals properly and provide the proper clean up.  Since most opossums are active at night, we offer a 24 hour emergency service in Nassau County New York to ensure we get the critter and take him away.
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