Hey, South Jersey: Hope You’re Thankful For Opossums In Your Yard
They may seem scary, but they're actually kind of cute. I, myself, didn't even realize that until I came across a Facebook post that revealed the truth about some of Jersey's most feared "pests": opossums.
More often than not, people are terrified when spotting them in their yards because they're afraid of the giant rat-looking thing carrying rabies. I've actually come to find out that it's rare for opossums here in America to carry the disease. That completely contradicts anything I've ever thought about them, but even the Center for Disease Control confirms that fact.
Apparently, it's believed the reason for rabies being uncommon in opossums is because their body temperature tends to run really low. As a result, the infection can't really thrive. The more you know, right?
As it turns out, Jersey, they're not very aggressive mammals, either. They usually "play dead" in the midst of an encounter and will rarely attack anything or anyone. You don't have much to worry about all if you have outdoor cats. If your dog, on the other hand, gives makes them feel like they have no choice but to defend themselves, that might be when you'd see them lash out. However, multiple animal control professionals even confirm that response happens very few and far between.
All in all, opossums are actually great pest controllers. They eat insects and mice and everything that can get annoying to deal with around the house, depending on the month of year. You do, however, need to be careful of opossums if you have chickens. They do love them some chicken.
Other than that, there's no need to freak out if you see an opossum in your yard, NJ peeps! Don't worry, they don't have rabies.
Sources: CDC.gov, aaanimalcontrol.com, Facebook