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Understanding the Opossum

The Virginia Opossum (Didelphis Virginiana) also known as the North American Opossum is a Texas native. They are also the only marsupial that is native to North America. The Opossum is typically a transitory animal that will move along without any prompting.

Often Misunderstood

The Opossum is a wild animals so nothing can be an absolute, but typically they are not aggressive. They will often open their mouths, drool, and hiss as a defensive display, but will rarely initiate offensive attacks. This does not mean that an Opossum is safe to handle, as they are still able to bite and do have a number of teeth. 

The Opossum is not considered a rabies vector species (does not actively transmit rabies) due to the extremely rare occurrences in the Opossum. This does not mean they are immune, but it is thought that due to their naturally low blood temperature they are highly resistant. 

Beneficial to the Environment

Opossums can be quite helpful for gardens and general pest control. They eat snails, slugs, insects, and sometimes even small rodents. They also clean up some spilled garage as well as fruit that may be on the ground. 

Recognizing a sick Opossum

Due to the often slow nature of the Opossum movements and their defensive “playing dead” it can be hard to tell if an Opossum is in need of help. Please do not pick up or attempt to handle the Opossum.

Although typically active during the night, they can be sometimes be active during the day as well. This is not necessarily the sign of a sick or injured Opossum. 

Contact us at 817-677-0312, either text or voice is acceptable, a picture of the Opossum if often helpful if possible. 

About Texas Wildlife Rehabilitators

Texas wildlife rehabilitation is regulated by the TPWD, all activities performed must adhere to their rules and guidelines. Wildlife rehabilitation is a volunteer based activity that is not funded by the state of Texas.