ON MY SOAPBOX…Oh me, Oh my, Opossum


WRITTEN BY: SHEILA TOLLEY

 

One night, about a month ago, I noticed an Opossum in my yard. My first task the next morning was to search ways to get rid of it. The more I read, the more ashamed I became of myself for seeking ways to eliminate the Opossum.

My final opinion is that Opossums get a bad rap.

Nearly 60,000 cases of Lyme disease were confirmed in the United States in 2019.

With the return of warm weather, there is one unsung hero of the animal kingdom that helps keep the environmental tick levels down. America’s only marsupial, the humble  Opossum. They kill nearly 95% of ticks that cross their path. It is estimated that a single Opossum is capable of eating an estimated 5,000 ticks every season!

Along with helping keep tick populations under control, the Opossum provides numerous benefits to the environment that might be overlooked by the general public. Opossums help keep your neighborhood clear of unwanted pests. Opossums frequently eat pests like cockroaches, rats, and mice that can also be carriers of infectious disease.

In addition to eating common household pests, Opossums also eat snails and slugs that can wreak havoc on your backyard garden. They also can help clean up any overripe fruits or berries that may have fallen to the wayside.

The Opossum is resistant to snake venom, they make venomous animals a food source. The Copperhead and Rattlesnake are two of its favorite meals.

Out of the many wildlife species in your backyard, the Opossum has  the lowest risks for developing and spreading rabies. This is due to their naturally low body temperature that makes it difficult for the rabies virus to replicate within the Opossum’s body.

It is almost like God made Opossums last, out of left-over or defective parts. Their noses are long. Their feet look reptilian. Their tail is weird looking so they can use it for assistance in climbing trees. Their legs are short. Their fur looks nappy. They walk as if they have severe arthritis. They are easily frightened and Play Dead rather than fight. They are practically blind and deaf. Most people would simply call them ugly. Maybe that is why God was gracious enough to make them nocturnal …so during daylight…people cannot see them, hurt them and make fun of them.

I have a new  respect for my Opossum now.  I will never invite him inside for supper, but I will continue to place my table scraps in that little spot outside my window so I can watch him eat on his nightly visits. He has never missed a night since I started reserving him a place in my backyard Opossum Cafe.

I am being very serious. He looks like a little vacuum cleaner as he cleans my yard each night. Then he comes to his little special place, outside my window, for his reward.

In fact, I have a lot of respect for my new Opossum friend. As you will notice, I capitalized every use of the word Opossum in this post…..but

you have never and will never see me capitalize the word obama!

 

Mammals of North Carolina

3 thoughts on “ON MY SOAPBOX…Oh me, Oh my, Opossum

    • On second thought….maybe the Opossum was next to the last creature that God made because he/she sure looks better than moochelle.

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