Opossum Information

Opossum Information

By Josie Borlongan, Garden Guides Contributor

About Oppossums

Opossums (Didelphis virginiana) are a member of the order Marsupialia, a primitive group of mammals which includes kangaroos, koalas, and wombats, found most commonly in Australia.

An American adult opossum is 2 to 3 ft long and weighs between 4 to 6 lb (2.3 to 2.7 kg). It has an elongated snout, a pink nose, black eyes and prominent, naked, black ears. Its head is usually white, and its coarse body fur is mostly grayish white but tends to be darker on its legs. An opossum is well adapted for climbing. The opossum's skull has 50 teeth, the highest number found in any mammal.

Prevention and Control

To keep the opossums away, protect individual plants with wire cages or surround the entire garden with wire mesh or an electrified fence. Keep garbage cans tightly covered.

Affected Plants

Corn and other grain crops
Tomatoes and other vegetables
Berries and other orchard fruits


Opossums damage plants by eating crops and fruits grown in the garden. They can damage plants by trampling on them, which can cause stress to some plants thereby causing them to die.

Other Methods of Control

Use a large garbage can and place a bait of sweets on an upside-down lid that flips like a trap door under the opossum's weight. Check your local regulations before doing any trapping and releasing. Be careful when handling trapped opossums; use heavy gloves to protect from bites.

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