Friday, July 8, 2011

Opossum, Oh My!

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Last night, I caught a baby opossum in my havahart trap. Despite it's strange tail and spiny teeth, it was actually pretty cute. I didn't quite know what to do with it. For some reason, it didn't feel right to drive it to the faraway woods where most of my garden pests end up. I've yet to see one in the garden and until I do, I'm willing to play nice. Also, part of me likes the fact that opossums also eat rodents and bugs. In the end, I decided to release it into the woods behind our property.

Has anyone ever had problems with opossums doing damage in the garden?

14 comments:

  1. Ive had them in my uncovered trash cans once or twice, but never in the garden just feet away...

    And they are very cute (when they close their mouths)

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  2. We have an opossum that lives near by. It has been seen in the trees, but never in the garden. I've never seen it eating anything either. But then they are nocturnal, so I'm usually asleep at the time. I seem to recall that they eat just about anything.

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  3. Hm....it looks too much like a rat. I wonder what you will catch next??

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  4. Pam from SeattleJuly 8, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    Opossum.org says, "They eat all types of insects, including cockroaches, crickets, beetles, etcetera. They catch and eat rats, roof rats, mice, and they consume dead animals of all types (carrion). They like over-ripe fruit, berries, and grapes. And they think snails and slugs are a delicacy! Nature's little Sanitation Engineers!!"

    Just the kind of critter a gardener might like to have around. They don't bother our vegetables nor unripe fruit, and aren't even particularly interested in ripe fruit. I'd much rather have them around than racoons--we have both in abundance in our urban neighborhood. Ugly? Yes? Bad? Definitely not.

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  5. Pam - thanks so much for the info! I suspected that was the case.

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  6. They can be kind of scarry looking and the adults can be viscious if cornered, but I have never known one to bother you if you don't bother it. The only time I was ever concerned about one was when one moved under my front porch and my daughter was very little. So, animal control trapped it and moved it to a rural home.

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  7. Oh that little opossum is a cutie! I have never had them bother the garden either. I did have one at the farm that would eat with the feral barn cats. No kidding, I would fill their bowls with dry food and the cats and the opposum would eat at the same time out of the same bowl!

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  8. Thanks for this post, Thomas, and all the information about 'possoms. :)

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  9. My dog went up against an opossum when I was a kid. It was bad. Bad, bad, bad. Keep the boy away from it to be sure.

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  10. You may want to leave it, they aren't known for destroying gardens, although we had a few when I lived in CA that would eat some fallen fruit on the ground, they never bothered my garden, they like mostly insects and stuff so they aren't bad to have around as long as there aren't too many of them!

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  11. We have them and are happy they are around. They are one of the few creatures in this world that will happily eat slugs!

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  12. I agree with you - more a help than a hindrance to your garden.

    We have not seen any opossums where we are just a few miles north of you. We abut a conservation area that is mostly field and wetlands, with trees along the back of that very large otherwise open tract. My guess is there are a few there, but we've never seen them.

    Good call, in my opinion... it may actually benefit you a lot!

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  13. I actually have had some problems with them in my garden before. Once they discover a food source, they will keep coming back night after night. After a lot of rain, I had a couple of watermelons split open and a possum discovered the split melons. Once he realized what was inside those melons, he started grabbing melons that hadn't split and tearing them open. I have also had a possum eat ripe tomatoes if they are too close to the ground. Don't feel bad about driving him somewhere, even if he is a baby. Possums live on their own and once they are away from their mothers, they are fine to survive by themselves. This one is definitely big enough to fend for himself.

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  14. I've had one eating out of my compost bucket a few nights now (the dogs have alerted me). So far, no problems.

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