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Other names: Possum
Color: Grayish white
Other distinguishing features: Bare ears and long scaly tail
Size: 15 to 20 inches long, 4-13 pounds
Diet: Omnivore with a diet that includes insects, small rodents, birds
Predators: Dogs, cats, foxes, bobcats, coyotes, owls
Hazard: Not known to attack people
Interesting Fact: Although opossums are often shown hanging by their tails from a tree branch, their tails are actually not strong enough to support their weight for more than a few minutes.

Why Opossums Aren’t Possums

Virginia opossums are the only marsupial animal native to North America. Their name comes from the Powhatan Indian word for white dog or white beast.

Although opossums are often referred to as possums, the only true possums live in Australia, and they aren’t closely related to the North American opossum. The American possum is a closer cousin to another Australian marsupial, the kangaroo.

Opossums are shy creatures that prefer to rest in dark and secure places. Look for:

  • Grayish white color, except for bare ears and tail
  • 15 to 20 inches long with a 9 to 20 inch tail
  • 4 to 13 pounds in weight
  • A long snout with a jaw containing 50 pointy teeth
  • Opposable thumbs on its rear feet

The opossum’s uses its prehensile tail to grasp or hold on to different objects.

Playing Possum

Opossums are solitary animals that rarely remain in one place very long. They make their temporary homes in hollow trees, brush piles, burrows abandoned by other animals and under porches. They can be found in the rural, urban and suburban areas of Baltimore, MD.

Baby opossums are only the size of a honeybee when they make their way into their mother’s pouch, where they live for two months. After they’re born the mother will often carry them on her back.

Although opossums may hiss or growl when threatened, their preferred method of avoiding predators is “playing possum.” They will freeze in place or try to look sick by drawing back their lips, drooling, closing their eyes half way and emitting a bad odor.

Opossums generally avoid humans but occasionally one seeking food will get into a home or a garage through a pet door or open door. They can often be lured outdoors again using a trail of food leading out a door.

To discourage opossums from wandering into your home or yard:

  • Remove food and water sources; don’t keep pet foods outdoors
  • Don’t let fruit from trees rot on the ground
  • Cover pools (opossums are attracted to water)
  • Keep doors and pet doors closed
  • Trim tree branches so opossums don’t use them to reach the house from the roof

Brody Brothers in Baltimore, MD can check your premises and recommend other solutions for keeping opossums outside where they belong.


Are other wildlife critters visiting your home or business? Check out our Wildlife Pest Control page to see other animals we can safely remove from your property.

What Our Clients Are Saying
Over 300 verified Contact Us Online Reviews

“I have been with Brody Brothers for 5.5 years. Ari has been coming to my home for all this time. He does a great job. I hardly ever have an issue. He keeps us pest free which isn't easy living in the woods.”

Jessica Lubek
Owings Mills, MD

“Over 10 year. Service is always top notch. They are always on time and take care of any problems.”

Larry Goldberg
Reisterstown, MD

“We have been using Brody Pest control for about 40 years! We were always very satisfied by their service,alrays on time and very pleasant and knowledgeable.”

Morris & Greta Lasson
Baltimore, MD

“We have been using Brody Brothers for around 5 years and we love that they are personal and they will keep coming back until a problem is resolved.”

Michal Kovacs
Pikesville, MD