3 Incredible Benefits Of Opossums To The Environment

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The benefits of opossums to the environment will surprise you. Opossums, which some people think of as overgrown rats, are nocturnal marsupial mammals of North America. Aside from their long teeth and spooky appearance, opossums are friends. 

• They help in pest control by eating ticks, cockroaches, rats, mice, and even snakes

• Help in reducing the chances of diseases spreading to your yard 

• Opossums are nocturnal and solitary; they don’t stay in one area for long. 

However, did you know that opossums are not all that bad and can be beneficial to you? What are the benefits of having a opossum around? Keep reading to learn more about these creatures.

Is It Okay to Have Opossums Around?


If you have a strong dislike for rats and mice, you will likely find nothing attractive about the opossum. It’s a lonely and nocturnal animal that is almost as big as a domestic cat.

It features a blended mixture of white, silver, and gray guard hairs that protect the underlying layer of cottony white fur. In some cases, you might mistake it for a huge rat because of its hairless tail. 

The opossum’s snout is elongated and reveals crocodile-like teeth. When attacked, the animal fakes death, which is the source of the playing opossum idiom. The animal uses this defense mechanism to protect itself from harm.

It goes into freeze mode, curls inward, begins drooling, and imitates a sick or wounded animal by going limp. It also emits a foul odor from the anal glands to fool predators into thinking it’s an undesirable meal. All these reactions are involuntary and can last for up to 4 hours. 

Besides, if you walk upon an opossum, it will show you its teeth, grunt, and hiss. They will also salivate heavily, and you may feel at risk of contracting rabies. After all, most rabid animals tend to produce a lot of salivae. The best way to get rid of opossums from your compound is to use this product. It has worked wonders for people who don’t want an opossum as a pet.

Why would anyone think that having such an animal around the home is beneficial? Let’s find out. 

Opossums Help To Keep Pests Away


Since the age of dinosaurs, the opossum has been grooming the earth for pests and insects. The extraordinarily diverse diet of opossums makes them ideal for eating almost anything in the yard which includes cockroaches, lizards, grubs, snails, lizards, carrion, and sometimes snakes.  Opossums are known to feed on thousands of ticks each year.  

The opossums feed on rats and mice. If they find dead animals of any kind (carrion), they will consume them before they continue their search for the next meal. 

If you have over-ripe fruits or vegetables, you will appreciate the services of this amazing animal in your yard. Opossums also prey on snakes and are resistant to their venom. That means if you have opossums around, your chances of seeing snakes near home are greatly minimized.

Opossums Reduce The Spread Of Tick-Borne Diseases

Tick-Borne Diseases

Opossums have natural immunity against most diseases carried by ticks. Their low body temperature helps them resist Rocky Mountain spotted fever, rabies, botulism, and Lyme disease. So while they eat ticks that may have Lyme disease, their strong immunity keeps them from contracting the disease. 

The chances of opossums carrying a disease that can be contracted by humans are quite low. That said, they might still have fleas so you do not want to be too friendly with them. 

The scavenging habits of the opossum and their appetite for animal carcasses also help in keeping your yard cleaner and healthier.

Opossums Are Solitary And Nocturnal

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Adult opossums do not stay in one place for many days. They wander around and do not make nests. Opossums in most cases live in ready-made cavities and burrows. They can live on trees,  underground, and in any other place quiet. 

The benefit of this is that you do not have to worry about the opossum sponging off you, surfing your couch, or making a permanent stay. They are also solitary unless it is a mother carrying babies in her pouch. 

When opossums are threatened, they can hiss, and show you their teeth but not bite. They are graceful, slow, and unlikely to approach or attack you or your pets. Unless they are defending

themselves from an aggressive breed, opossums often play dead by flopping over and drooling.  This way, they trick predators into looking somewhere else for fresh meat. 

Do This Next Time You See A Opossum

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If you spot a possum in your yard, let it wander around, and let do its thing of cleaning carrion and eating pests. They might eat your pet food as a plus if not safely kept. Should you find an injured or visibly sick possum, never touch it. Instead, call your local wildlife rehabilitation department. Alternatively, if you don’t want an opossum around, you can repel it using this device.

Final Thoughts

You may never vote for opossums as the cutest animals in nature. However, if you’ve ever wondered “what are the benefits of having an opossum around,” you now know that they play a significant role in nature.

If you live in grassland areas, you will especially appreciate the fact that opossums help control the spread of Lyme disease. However, if you’d rather get rid of them, check out our blog post on how to set up an opossum trap