They carry EPM disease that causes neurologic disorders in horses. All it takes is them crapping in the hay the horses eat. Further possums carry diseases such as leptospirosis, tuberculosis, relapsing fever, tularemia, spotted fever, toxoplasmosis, coccidiosis, trichomoniasis, and Chagas disease. They may also be infested with fleas, ticks, mites, and lice. possums are hosts for cat and dog fleas, especially in urban environments. They are shoot on sight here.
What a buzzkill.
MikeK – they are WILDLIFE, not house pets! If left alone outdoors to do what Nature intended, then they will serve you well by obliterating tick populations, rats, mice, snakes and other pests that are even more likely to harm you. (By the way, they are rarely, if ever, “infested with ticks” as you say. Possums spend most of their time grooming themselves and since ticks are their favorite food, ticks don’t survive long on their bodies.) I agree, the idea of them leaving droppings in the hay is frightening for the sake of the horses, but a majority of possums don’t shed that parasite, and of horses who are exposed, few develop the disorder.
Besides, if you kill a possum, you are simply opening up a spot for another possum to move in. You might be better off discouraging the possums you have, than constantly having to dispense with more and more possums. You need to remove whatever is attracting them, such as cat or dog food, fallen fruit, open bins of horse food and wood piles. There is also little chance of contracting any of the other illnesses you mention unless you are petting the possums or drinking water from puddles.
By killing the possums, you are actually doing yourself and your family a disservice. Through being present, the possums offer you many more benefits than potential harm by removing ticks (Lyme & Spotted Fever), mice (the Plague, Hantavirus), rats (Lassa Fever), venomous snakes and carrion (Rabies, Rabbit Fever) and so on.
In case you never checked, cats and dogs also can be “infested with ticks, mites, lice, and fleas”, and can carry diseases such as many that you mentioned. If you allow an animal in your home, ensure that it’s healthy, if it’s outside, leave it alone. Appreciate the bonuses that Nature offers you. Don’t kill it.
On St. Patty’s Day, they’re referred to as O’possum.
I agree with you DJ…
They sure are noisy if they decide to live under you house. I’ve relocated a couple of them. I think they’d be more at home at the lake, so I trap them and release them there.
Relocated? I think the term you were looking for was “reaccomodate”, ala United Airlines. 🙂