Are possums a threat to my girls?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by shastagoose, May 26, 2008.

  1. shastagoose

    shastagoose In the Brooder

    May 12, 2008
    Tonight as we were watching the tube, a possum came on the front porch and started munching on the cat food for our outside cat. It just stared at us like we weren't there. Didn't seem to mind us at all. Our girls our out back locked up good in an enclosed coop, never had any trouble there. This is the first possum I've seen in 10 years, at least on our front porch. Is there a threat for our girls if there is this non- fearful critter around? And what should we do if it keeps hanging out? Any suggestions? Steven and Cheryl Williams.
  2. chcknrs

    chcknrs Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Kelso, WA
    Possums are not only carriers of rabies, but of many other diseases. They will kill chickens and eat eggs. They are usually nocturnal, but will hunt during the day when they have babies. Rehoming is difficult, as they can travel up to 5 miles to return to their hunting grounds.

    Kill it, there are more of them and you will have major problems if you let them live.
  3. vspyder643

    vspyder643 Hatching

    May 26, 2008

    I'm new the the forum, glad to be here!

    I just wanted to point out a few things about opossums ( I know they aren't the most popular critters here, but nonetheless)...

    According to the University of Florida (IFAS Extension), "Opossums, like most other animals, are susceptible to infection by the rabies virus; however, very few rabid wild opossums have been documented. Extremely high doses of the virus have been required to experimentally infect opossums as they seem to be highly resistant to the disease."

    Please do a search on opossums and rabies, and you will see that there are VERY FEW documented cases of rabid opossums in the wild- they have a much lower body temperature than most mammals, which in part makes it difficult for the virus to survive and replicate. I realize opossums can and do cause problems for chicken lovers (myself included), BUT the rabies/opossum connection is a huge misconception that many people have about opossums.

    In addition, "They may be helpful in reducing venomous snakes and removing dead animals from human populated areas. Adult opossums are immune to the venom of copperheads, rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths" (University of Florida, IFAS Extension).

    So, if your chickens are locked up securely, I wouldn't worry about the opossum sharing your cats' food. Opossums actually get along quite well with cats. They also catch and eat rats, mice, slugs and snails, so double bonus. :)

  4. GopherBoyFarms

    GopherBoyFarms Songster

    Mar 18, 2008
    Vancouver WA
    hmmm tell my cat that they get along well....she is nursing her second bite from one of those over grown rats at the moment. And all she was doing was gaurding her home, her food, and our chickens.

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