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Old 09-30-2014, 01:12 PM   #1
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Default Reasons to love an opossum...

Ten Reasons to Love Opossums - Bites @ Animal Planet

Quote:
5. They Eat Garden Pests.
Opossums are great to have around the garden. They love eating slugs and other garden pests and can help keep populations of these critters down so your garden plants thrive.

3. They Are Immune to Rabies.
Unlike most other mammals, opossums don't contract or spread rabies. Their body temperature is slightly lower than that of other mammals, and the virus can't take hold.

2. Opossums Eat Venomous Snakes.
Snakes don't stand a chance if there are opossums around. Opossums eat snakes, including venomous ones. In fact, they are generally immune to the effects of snake venom.

1. Opossums Destroy Ticks.
Opossums are masters at destroying ticks. This is because they are very fastidious animals, constantly grooming themselves and removing (and eating) parasites like ticks. One opossum can take out around 5,000 ticks each year. That alone makes them worth having around!
This information should be making you think about adopting an opossum.
The tick thing alone is worth a smile when you see an opossum climbing your fence at night.

An Overview of Tick-Borne Diseases - Critical Needs and Gaps in Understanding Prevention, Amelioration, and Resolution of Lyme and Other Tick-Borne Diseases - NCBI Bookshelf

Not an exact quote but my approximation from link.

Quote:
50% of larval ticks that attemp a blood meal on white-footed mouse succeed

3.5 % of larval ticks attempings a blood meal succeed on opossum the rest are killed by opossum.

average mouse in wild about 25 larval ticks found
average gray squirrel 150 larval ticks found
average opossum in wild about 250 larval ticks found


Mouse grooms and kills an average of 50 larval ticks per week
The gray squirrel grooms off and kills an average of 843 larval ticks per week
The opossum groom off and kill approximately 5686 larval ticks per week


Mice and eastern chipmunks infect up to 90% of larval ticks that succeed in feeding on them
opossums, gray squirrels, and other hosts infect very few of the small numbers of larval ticks that are successful at blood feeding.

This reduces human exposure to Lyme disease thus host composition in any community for black-legged ticks in nature may determine risk for Lyme disease.
rabies
Understanding Rabies : The Humane Society of the United States


Quote:
Opossums are amazingly resistant to rabies. Hissing, drooling, and swaying are part of the opossum's bluff routine. It is intended to scare away potential predators, yet it looks just like rabies and is the reason people can be convinced they’re seeing “rabid opossums” when they’re not.
Eating snakes
Lots of information and links to affirm.

Denim and Tweed: Snake-eating opossums have evolved venom-resistant blood
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Old 09-30-2014, 05:58 PM   #2
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I love possums. One played possum in my barn last winter when i startled it. It really did look dead and was not there and when I came back later. A possum had babies in my barn once too. They were very cute.
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:40 PM   #3
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Great info. Thanks, Gloria.
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:20 PM   #4
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Here is a bit more back up for those numbers with graphs and further explanation.

Lyme Disease: The Ecology of a Complex System
By Richard Ostfeld

Page 128-

Lyme Disease: The Ecology of a Complex System - Richard Ostfeld - Google Books
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:54 AM   #5
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It's nice to know possums are so beneficial. I really like that they eat ticks.
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:31 PM   #6
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Yes, it is great that the opossum eat so many ticks. Not so many around here because ticks are not as much of an urban problem but I spend a lot of time walking areas that could be heavily infested with ticks. Nice to know that diversity in mammals makes a difference in the % of ticks that survive, actually being infected with Lyme Disease.
Opossum can look a bit scary if baring those numerous teeth. I have seen them captured and snarling. Old city survivors look awful but I'm not afraid, just keeping my distance...lol.
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:09 PM   #7
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Glad you don't see many ticks Gloria. I am not that lucky. I have had lyme disease and find ticks on me every spring. I used to see possums more when I was working full time and went to the barn at 4:30am. I would see them around the bird feeders eating the seed that spilled. They were never aggressive. It was more like we were both fascinated with each other.

Quote:
Opossum can look a bit scary if baring those numerous teeth.
Many times people have told me that wild animals are mean including possums. They will only be aggressive when they are cornered and afraid. I don't blame them.
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Old 10-05-2014, 10:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
Nice to know that diversity in mammals makes a difference in the % of ticks that survive, actually being infected with Lyme Disease.
Another great reason to promote biodiversity (on every level).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
Opossum can look a bit scary if baring those numerous teeth. I have seen them captured and snarling. Old city survivors look awful but I'm not afraid, just keeping my distance...lol.
Yes, I think the babies can be cute, but the adults have often looked rather "dirty" to me--nice to know that they are so fastidious.
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Old 10-05-2014, 01:05 PM   #9
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The link you shared about Opossums Gloria is also being shared on facebook. Glad to see that.
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Last edited by EllenW; 10-05-2014 at 01:05 PM. Reason: addition
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