Toronto is home to all sorts of cute (and menacing) critters, like raccoons, squirrels, and opossums. It’s possible that you’ve been in the GTA for years without seeing these grey rodent-like animals. Opossums are stealthy, quiet, and solitary. They don’t want to be disturbed or to bother you.
Typically, opossums are harmless animals to have in the neighbourhood. They can even help with other pest problems since they eat insects. It’s when they carry diseases or cause damage to your home that you need to worry. You can always call for wildlife removal in Toronto to remove the opossums from your property. Here’s everything you need to know about these fascinating marsupials.
Are They Rodents?
Opossums are the only known marsupials in North America. These furry mammals, like kangaroos, carry their joeys in the pouch on their tummies. They can have up to 20 joeys in one litter, but it’s rare for all of them to survive. There are many different breeds of opossum worldwide, and some lineages have existed since the time of the dinosaurs.
Opossums are generally peaceful, good-natured animals. There are rarely instances of them biting or attacking humans. However, they will hiss and bare their teeth if cornered or threatened. If they feel in severe danger, their next move can only be described as “playing dead.” The stress of being scared is more than an opossum’s body can handle; it goes into an involuntary defence mechanism similar to fainting. Opossums can be in a fake-dead state for up to an hour. If you encounter an opossum playing dead on your property, the best thing to do is call wildlife removal services in Toronto.
Can Opossums Damage My House?
Opossums prefer to live in pre-existing dens in trees, logs, or even piles of leaves. Sometimes, they’ll make their home in your attic or backyard sheds. Their main requirements for a home are shelter from the elements, proximity to food, and protection from predators. Since they’re nocturnal, you likely won’t hear them during the day if they’re in your house. They sleep most of the day, then wake up at night to hunt. In Toronto especially, they like setting up shop near backyard gardens and compost bins which provide free meals. Opossums are omnivores, so they’ll eat fruit, veggies, plants, as well as smaller rodents and insects.
Opossums don’t collect materials to build a home or dig themselves one. As mentioned above, they’re very peaceful. They would instead prefer a turn-key home that doesn’t require any work (or damage). Although they are unlikely to chew on cords or dig through drywall, they do leave droppings. Opossums tend to leave their homes a mess with droppings and food scraps. Occasionally, they’ll rip apart insulation. The damage they cause is less impactful than a raccoon or squirrel, but you still don’t want them living in your attic.
Can They Hurt My Family Or Me?
Opossums are one of the few GTA wild critters that are unlikely to get rabies. They have well-developed immune systems that prevent them from getting sick or diseased—not to mention their naturally low body temperature.
However, they are susceptible to diseases like tuberculosis, leptospirosis, and Chagas disease. For these reasons, it’s important to keep your pets away from them. While generally peaceful, opossums have incredibly sharp teeth and will bite at smaller animals to defend themselves. Pet dogs and cats getting bitten by opossums who were defending themselves. Another potential avenue for disease transmissions is if your pet consumes or comes into contact with contaminated droppings.
For the most part, opossums don’t pose a threat to your human family members. Most residents who’ve lived near them only report how annoying they can be. They take vegetables from gardens, steal from compost bins, and rip open garbage bags. Residents outside the city with chicken coops have reported opossums sneaking in at night to take eggs, and even kidnap and eat baby chicks. The irritation of having one dine on your property is enough to make you want wildlife removal services to step in.
How Do I Prevent Opossums from Moving In?
Your first line of defence against opossums making your home theirs is making it less appealing to them. Opossums love bushes, yard debris, and clutter; these areas provide excellent hiding spots. With summer in full swing, you may want to spend a weekend landscaping your yard. Clean the area around your trash bins and ensure the lock on your green bin works. Rake any dead leaves away and mow the lawn. Trim bushes and don’t allow them to get overgrown. Remove weeds and unwanted plants from your gardens. Avoid piling garden compost openly in the yard; use a sealable compost bin. To stop them from entering your shed, attic, or crawlspace, block off the entry points. Some opossums have been known to get in through doggy doors; make sure yours is locked at night.
The next step is to remove food sources from your yard or protect them. Add a wire/mesh fence and roof to your garden to prevent the opossums from getting to your vegetables. Remember, they’re excellent climbers, so building walls and a roof is essential. Alternatively, you could angle the top couple feet of the fence away from the garden. When an opossum climbs up the wall, the top section won’t be able to hold their weight. Avoid leaving pet food outside at night, including bird feed.
You can prevent them from living on your property by making it unsuitable to nocturnal activities. Install motion-sensor lights around your house and in the attic. Use solar garden lights around the edges of your property. Place a radio or Bluetooth speaker in the attic or crawlspace, wherever they might gain access to. Set it to play music during the day when opossums want to sleep. Opossums hate the smell of certain things, like blood meal and mothballs. They’re also averse to the scent of dog urine because it signifies a threat. Either allow your pup to urinate anywhere in the yard or disperse the other items appropriately.
How Do I Get Rid Of Them?
Don’t attempt to remove opossums from your property by yourself. Although they’re small, their bite does pack a punch. You may be tempted to move them when they’ve fainted or are playing dead. This can sometimes work, but keep in mind that opossums are often sharing their fur with bugs and ticks. Your best option is to call a wildlife removal team in Toronto to come to handle them.
Once they’ve been removed from your property, it’s your job to prevent others from taking their place. Toronto has a high population of opossums; they won’t mind if your attic still smells like the previous resident. Follow the steps outlined above to make your home unattractive to these nocturnal marsupial visitors.
Liddle Rascals has been humanely and effectively providing wildlife removal in Toronto for 17 years. Our team of experienced technicians has the compassion and perseverance needed to keep your property free of harmful wildlife. If you need opossum or other wildlife removals in the GTA, send us a message or call us today at (416) 356-5886.