Opossums seen in Clovis neighborhoods are ‘nature’s pest control’


If you’ve noticed an unwanted four legged creature in your backyard, it could be an opossum.

Clovis Police Animal Services says they’ve received a number of calls of opossum sightings. Over the weekend, they posted some information about them.

They say if you see one or more to just leave them be.

“Wherever the opossums come from, they travel through the neighborhood along the fence,” Clovis resident Scott MacDougall said.

Clovis Police Animal Services say they often receive calls of opossum sightings. They say it’s usually because cat or dog food is left out.

Last Friday, the Police Department shared information on Facebook telling residents to leave them be.

“They are more so going to be a help then actually hurt,” said Eli Harvey, and officer with animal control.

Animal expert, Lyn Myers, with the Fresno Chaffee Zoo says Virginia opossums act as nature’s pest control.

“They eat insects and crickets and spiders – you name it,” Myers said.

Myers says they will eat anything. They even prey on snakes and are immune to most venomous bites. She says they’re the only marsupial found in the United States and Canada.

“No other animal has a pouch in the United States,” Myers said.

Virginia Opossums are often mistaken for – well, possums – which are only found in Australia.

But Myers says while they’re both marsupial, they’re not related.

“When they give birth, the babies are so tiny that 20 of them can fit in a teaspoon,” Myers said.

But she says only the first 13 that make it into mom’s pouch survive.

Myers says while they have about 50 teeth.

They rarely ever carry rabies because of their low body temperature.

“They absolutely pose no harm to you or your pets,” Myers said. She says their main defense is playing dead which can last from 10 minutes to four hours.

“When they play dead, they go into a semi-unconscious state and admit a foul order,” Myers said.

Opossum Awareness & Advocacy, a nonprofit based in Vermont, said that one opossum can consume up to 5,000 ticks in a season. But said they don’t carry Lyme Disease.

Either way, while most folks say that they’re ugly, Myers says “Cuteness is in the eye of the beholder.”

Now if you do have questions or concerns about opossums, you can call Clovis Police Animal Services at 559-324-2450.

For more information on Opossums visit: www.opossumpower.org

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