Do You Know How Many Ticks a Possum Can Eat?!?!

Four thousand ticks, gone in a week!!! How’s that for tick control? That’s pretty amazing! Sure… possums, or opossums officially, are kind of gross, but they are pretty interesting creatures. First, they are the only marsupial in the United States. Marsupials carry their young in a pouch. The possum will give birth to about 20 Joeys that will crawl on their own out of the mother and into her pouch. The ones that survive that journey will stay there to nurse for 100 days. Next, they begin to venture out often riding on Mom’s back while she hunts.

Possums are Super Resilient

The next cool thing about possums… they can eat anything. Ok, it’s cool and it’s gross all at the same time. Possums are immune to botulism. That’s why they can rifle through the trash and eat whatever they find. Maybe it’s a nuisance to you, but it’s a nice tool for the sake of survival. They can even eat roadkill. However, they also sometimes become the roadkill due to their defense mechanism of playing dead, which is unfortunate. They will eat mice, birds, insects… truly anything. They are also immune to scorpion bites, rattlesnake bites, and bee stings. So “playing possum” is more deadly to a possum than most of the things that are deadly to a human.

Possums Devour Ticks

Ticks love to try to feed on Possums, but the joke is on the tick because only about 3.5% are going to survive.The average possum walking through the woods will have about 200 ticks on it at any given time. Possums will very efficiently groom themselves, eating ticks as they find them, which basically results in possums just wandering around the forest “hoovering up ticks right and left”.

So now we are back at the 4,000 ticks a week. This includes the ticks that carry Lyme disease. A possum that knocks over your trash, makes a little bit of a mess, and disappears into the night could be what saves you from a disease that is known to stay with some people for years. When you think of it, it’s not a terrible trade-off.

Keep the Possums Safe

Now that you know how beneficial they can be, maybe you’ll try to avoid the possum that’s faking its death in the middle of the road. They tend to live short lives anyway due to this less than useful defense mechanism and the existence of natural predators such as coyotes. So when you find them in your trash, be the good guy and give them a break, his days are numbered anyway and remember how many ticks he might eat tomorrow. As for the ticks that he leaves behind, leave those to us at Mosquito Squad of the Twin Cities.

Our tick barrier treatment will eliminate 90% of adult ticks in your yard, and with the addition of our tick tube system, will continue to eliminate the entire population year round. Call us today and don’t forget to swerve for the possum. 

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