If you have lived in or around Charlotte, NC for an extended period of time, chances are you have encountered one or more opossums. They often trudge along like oversize rats, avoiding humans as a rule and seldom causing major complications. However, sometimes these critters get a bit bold and rowdy.
They have been guilty of:
• Overturning trash containers
• Invading home crawl spaces
• Damaging attics
• Digging in lawns and gardens
• Taking out your chickens and their eggs
• Bringing in fleas or ticks and other pests
• Sometimes dying under the house or in the attic
• Coming up on porches and scaring the mud out of family members
• AND generally causing unwanted living complications.
Opossums In Mecklenburg – Considering The Threat Of Rabies
Although the Mecklenburg County NC health department defines rabies and other animal-borne infections as a serious local health threat, don’t get carried away with concern. Opossums do occasionally get infected, but not nearly to the extent of some other critters. In point of fact, opossums are naturally resistant to various diseases, including rabies.
First and foremost, the Mecklenburg County Health Ordinance Rules Governing the Control of Rabies and Other Zoonoses” seeks to protect the health of residents within the county via control and elimination of diseases with zoonotic potential (1). However, one aspect of effectively meeting this goal involves promoting better overall animal health and well-being. This helps ensure that each species constitutes no health threat to citizens within Mecklenburg County.
Opossums In Mecklenburg – An Unexpected North Carolina Ally Against Ticks And Tick-borne Diseases
By nature, opossums tend to stay to themselves. They are rarely aggressive and can even help you reduce the neighborhood tick population. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the current increase in Lyme disease can be directly linked to reduced biodiversity (2). The primary culprit: destruction and habitat fragmentation of host species for ticks.
Enter opossums; a critter that typically causes few problems while also making ticks a routine component of their daily diet. What makes them so effective in reducing local tick populations?
• Ticks are drawn to warm-blooded mammals
• Like cats, opossums tend to spend much time on grooming
• Opossums are quick to notice ticks on their body
• Opossums are also quick to ingest the tick
• It’s a process that tends to keep regional tick populations firmly in check.
Opossums are actually resistant to rabies, Lyme disease and various other transmittable diseases. Even if bitten by an infected tick, opossums are not likely to develop, transmit or act as a carrier for the disease. So pay homage. Permit the opossum a bit of picking from your garden. It will help reduce the presence of other Charlotte home pests troubles.
Opossums In Mecklenburg – What Attracts Opossums To Your Charlotte Home
Opossums eat slugs, small rodents and ticks. They also favor meaty treats. They seldom cause problems themselves. Yet much of the natural habitat for opossums has been robbed away by agriculture and development.
If you do not want to attract opossums to your Carolina home, eliminate the following opossum attractions:
• Ready access to meaty treats, including fruits and vegetables
• Outdoors dumping of scrap human food
• Organic gardening
• Planting a dense variety of plants
• Any external boxes or stumps that can make a nice opossum dwelling place
• Covered trenches or other areas for possible safety and refuge
• Free running outdoors pets, especially dogs.
But if you don’t mind have an opossum taking up nearby residence, do all of the above but include the following measures for home defense:
• Close and seal trash storage containers
• Locate and seal any pathways that provide access to your attic, crawlspace or basement
• Keep the area beneath an unsealed porch clear of an debris
• AND do the feeding a fair distance from your home.
Opossums In Mecklenburg – Carolina Pest Control Solutions
Although often beneficial, opossums are sometimes troublesome and need professional removal. Family-owned Carolina Pest Management is here to help. We provide 100% natural pest control solutions, including humane wildlife removal. Need opossum removal services in Charlotte? Contact Carolina Pest, servicing regional Charlotte since 1939.