Look Who Came to Breakfast!

— Written By
Opossum in persimmon tree

Opossum in a persimmon tree Image by Lucy Bradley CC-BY-NC

I woke up to find this guy in the front yard gorging on persimmons. Cute though he is, I was discouraged to see he had already eaten several persimmons and taken bites out of a bunch more. He is an opossum. Usually light gray, and at maturity around 15 lbs, opossums are about two feet long with a foot long, rat-like, prehensile tail. Females have a pouch for carrying young. Opossums are omnivorous; particularly destructive to poultry. They can be found statewide but prefer to live in hollow logs and crevices by streams or swamps in wooded areas. They are frequently found in towns and cities.

Integrated Pest Management Strategies

Habitat modification—changes in habitat to make it less appealing, including removal of food or shelter
(in this case – harvest the persimmons to remove the attraction)

Opossum on a Persimmon tree  Image by Lucy Bradley  CC-BY-NC

Opossum on a Persimmon tree Image by Lucy Bradley CC-BY-NC

Exclusion—creating physical barriers to wildlife
(not a viable option in this case)

Repellents—frightening, sound, taste, odor, or tactile sensation
(The leaf truck loudly sucking leaves off the street near by is what finally scared him away)

Trapping—capturing the animal and moving it to another location or eating it, there are lots of great recipes for opossum including Opossum with Sweetpotatoes.
(Opossum can easily be caught in a box-style live trap.)

Opossum in a Persimmon tree - image by Lucy Bradley  CC-BY-NC

Opossum in a Persimmon tree – image by Lucy Bradley CC-BY-NC

Toxicants—chemicals and poisons
(not recommended)

Lethal control—killing the animal
(follow local, state, and federal laws)

NC State Animal Damage Control recommendations.

Find additional information on co-existing with wildlife in the Extension Gardener Handbook.