Wildlife Pests – Opossums & What You Should Know About Them


You can find over 60 different opossum species around the world. The most common opossum species and only native marsupial in Canada is the Virginia opossum or common opossum. At The Pest Detective in Surrey, we provide some quick facts on opossums including their habitats, diet, and behaviour. If you have an opossum problem, give The Pest Detective a call for pest control solutions. Our exterminators serve areas in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Surrey, Victoria, Whistler, and the Tri-Cities.


Opossums usually live for about one to two years.

Physical Description

An opossum has a sort of rat-like appearance, with a pointed face. However, the opossum is not a rodent, but a marsupial with a pouch. Opossums range in colour from gray to white to black. Their tails are hairless and used to grasp branches, provide balance, and carry nesting materials. Opossums also have opposable thumbs on their hind feet to help them climb.


Opossums are built for climbing with their prehensile tail, claws, and opposable thumbs on their hind feet. You can find opossums in trees and other lofty places. They nest in tree holes or in dens made by other animals.


Scavengers by nature, opossums raid garbage and dumpsters near homes or settlements. They eat a varied diet of grass, nuts, and fruit as well as mice, birds, insects, worms, small snakes, and even chickens. Opossums are also carrion animals and will eat roadkill.


Opossums are famous for “playing possum” or playing dead. When threatened by predatory creatures like foxes or bobcats, an opossum will flop over onto its side and lie still. They may close their eyes or stare straight ahead to create the illusion that they are dead. This ploy often puts a predator off its guard giving the opossum enough time to get away.


After only an 11 to 13 day gestation period, an opossum will give birth. Opossums are very small when they are born, some no bigger than a honeybee. About 20 babies will be born in a litter, but fewer than half survive. The mother opossum carries them around in her pouch.

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