Opossums are Iowa’s only marsupial, meaning they carry their young in a pouch. Opossums are gray or cream-colored, with a long bare tail that is very flexible. They weigh between 4 to 12 pounds. They are shy and secretive and mostly nocturnal. They are not aggressive and will try to climb trees to escape, and occasionally they will act dead. This is where the term “playing opossum”, originates from
Opossums do most of their breeding in February and March, with a secondary season in late May and June after the first litter is weaned. They have between 5 to 13 young, with an average of 9 per litter
Opossums, like raccoons, are omnivores and will eat just about anything.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Opossums will commonly nest under exposed decks and sheds. Look for distinctive tracks, easily identifiable by the widely angled opposable toe on the hindfoot. Gray fur snagged on deck supports, building edges. Droppings are not very distinctive and vary depending on the current diet.
Removing the opossum and excluding exposed decks and storage sheds is the only effective method of preventing opossum problems.
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