Opossums are nocturnal marsupial species that mostly dwell in North America. Being related to kangaroos, opossums behave like them since they have an outside porch for developing young ones.
These animals are omnivores and therefore, feed on almost everything edible. However, they can be so hectic in neighborhoods because they like foraging through trash cans.
Regardless of their adaptability, these animals are slow runners and have poor eyesight. While active, possums can cause a lot of disturbance to pets and make a lot of noise while foraging through garbage cans. But, what attracts them to a yard?
They are attracted to your yard whenever food is plentiful, so leaving food scraps in your garbage will definitely keep them around. In most cases, these animals get attracted by odorous and overflowing garbage cans, any containers left outdoors, or uncovered compost heaps. Since opossums are scavengers, they can feed on anything they find.
They like moist areas, that is why they prefer inhabiting near water areas. Yards near a sewer, a drainage ditch, or a pond are likely to attract even more of these animals.
What Kinds of Food Attract Opossums?
Opossums are opportunists and they want mainly what is easy to find and eat. Since they have a lot of teeth, they are able to feed on various food sources, including fish, insects, birds, vegetables, garbage, crustaceans, rodents, dead animals, snakes, mushrooms, eggs with shells, grass, and all kinds of fruit.
The primary substance source of food includes rodents, worms, frogs, snails, and slugs. Additionally, these animals will feed on birdseed, nuts, berries, and even dry and canned cat and food.
Which Foods Do Opossums Like to Eat in Particular?
As opossums are not choosy, they like to feed on almost anything, even carrion. They will not turn their nose up at various plants, vegetables, tree fruits, meat and bone scraps exclusively.
However, possums need high amounts of calcium in their diet and this explains why they love eating skeletal remains of road kills and rodents. Also, if sweet potatoes and yams, which are rich in nutrients, are available, opossums will love eating them.
Moreover, possums enjoy feeding on sweet things, and particularly on marshmallows and peanut butter.
What Smells Attract Possums?
There are some smells that opossums find very inviting. They often get attracted to cinnamon scents, so if you have such scents lingering in your yard, be ready to receive these animals to your property. This explains why most people who wish to eliminate them from their yards use these scents to lure possums to baits.
Is It Bad to Have Possums in Your Yard?
Most people believe that opossums are nasty and dirty animals, which might pose a dangerous risk to their lives. In fact, it is not true.
Opossums are gentle and clean animals. They prefer not to fight, they may growl, hit, or even in some rare cases, bite, but they are peaceful animals. Opossums can choose to play dead or faint if you confront them, thus, they might not harm you. Therefore possums are beneficial animals that provide much value.
As already mentioned, opossums will feed on almost everything they can find on your property, they forage through garbage, eat the waste, dead carcasses, and even pests. Due to this, they help clean the yard and keep it free from dangerous pests and subsequent problems.
However, some people believe that these creatures are unclean and cause disease, which is somehow contrary.
Opossums are scavengers who help balance the ecosystem by cleaning up the area as they feed on a variety of pests that are found in yards, such as small rodents, beetles, snakes, cockroaches, snails, or slugs. Thus, they are a natural pest control method.
Opossums help fight against Lyme disease in your household. Even though they can also get bitten by ticks and get infected with Lyme disease, these animals are exceptional at finding and eliminating ticks. Scientists claim that opossums are natural vacuum cleaners for ticks as they are able to consume 5,000 ticks in a season and even more if ticks are plentiful.
Besides killing ticks, opossums can help cure snake bites. These animals feed on snakes, including the poisonous species, and have become immune to the snake poison. Scientists use the peptide found in possums, thus providing cheap snake antivenom treatments.
Opossums are North American natives who live and roam through the garbage in both urban and suburban settings. They feed on a variety of unpleasant things such as debris, vegetables, birds, and more. Since they eat vegetables and fruits, they might destroy fruit and vegetable gardens.
If you are in need of eliminating a possum from your yard, contact Westchester Wildlife today. We will humanely trap and remove the opossum from your property, and then relocate it to a safe place where it is able to thrive.
However, despite being such a nuisance, the animals come along with a lot of benefits. So don’t forget about the environmental benefits they bring before you send them away.
Urban raccoons are on the rise and currently, they are forced to coexist with humans. You might view raccoons as adorable animals with small cute faces but don’t be fooled by their appearance. When they are hungry, they can rummage through the trash in your yard and leave a mess in your garbage bins.
So, do you wonder why raccoons raid your trash cans and scavenge through your garbage? This article will answer that.
Do Raccoons Eat Garbage and Why?
When not in the wild, raccoons will eat garbage that humans leave outside. But why do they eat trash? The simplest answer to this is because they have no choice. In an urban setting, your trash can is the easiest place they can get food.
Raccoons are also lazy, there is no doubt about it and the closer and more accessible food is to them, the better. Now that garbage bins and trash cans are available in abundance, especially in urban places, they make their lives so much easier.
Can Raccoons Get into Garbage Cans?
Raccoons are agile and can open garbage cans and bins easily and quickly scavenge the food in there. What’s more, they are also known as the expert garbage divers, they can climb, or jump up, and they will do anything to access food in a bin or can.
If they are unable to jump in, they can even knock over garbage cans for food. When they finally make it into your garbage can, they will dig through the items in there in search of food scraps. Garbage cans are also the unconventional places where they can get a wide variety of foods.
What Do Raccoons Like to Eat the Most in the Trash?
Raccoons are opportunistic eaters and will scavenge on pretty any kind of food found in your trash. They are omnivores and love eating meat scraps and freshly disposed of veggies. They are particularly fond of eating grapes. In addition, these wild animals have also been spotted eating a wide variety of fruits like melons or berries, sweetcorn, bread, and eggs.
Despite their scavenging nature, raccoons will try to avoid rotten food unless they have no other place to get food. Since getting the same garbage can food is hard in the world, they would rather spend the whole day knocking over garbage cans or jumping from your garbage can to your neighbor’s.
Why Don’t Raccoons Easily Get Sick on Eating Garbage?
It’s hard for a raccoon to get sick because of eating garbage foods, and there are reasons for that.
First, they have long intestinal tracts. This means that they are able to get rid of most of the toxins in the garbage food during the digestion process. Secondly, their stomach is highly acidic and will kill most of the harmful bacteria before they have a chance to work on them.
Lastly, most raccoons have evolved to know what foods can be harmful to them. They will avoid such foods in most cases and with this, they will hardly get sick.
What Foods in the Trash Are Toxic to Raccoons?
Even with these evolutions and resistance, there are some foods containing bacteria that are toxic to raccoons and can make them sick. Most of these bacteria will be present in rotten foods that they try as much to avoid.
Common toxic food to raccoons include nuts like macadamia, chocolate, and raisins. Onions and garlic are also known to cause anemia in raccoons. Thus, you should be careful what you are tossing in the trash as some items might be toxic to this wildlife. Luckily, there is no toxic agent that will wipe out the entire raccoon population.
Do Raccoons Carry Diseases?
Raccoons can carry and transmit a few illnesses to humans, the common one being a virulent strain of rabies. Their furry body can also carry infected ticks, lice, and fleas. Due to this, you should avoid engaging and cornering them but instead make loud noises from afar; this is often enough to scare them off.
However, if raccoons are a nuisance on your property, you can always reach out to a local wildlife control specialist for further guidance on how to deal with them.
Hopefully, now you understand why garbage food is so desirable to raccoons and why they are a common sight in areas with trashed food matter. In case you don’t want them making a mess in your garbage cans, you can always secure them with rubber bungee cords.
Also, it is best to contact our Westchester Wildlife team in your area for help on the humane removal of raccoons from your home if they make it their favorable eating spot.