June 13, 2015. It turns out that the opossums, because of their fastidious grooming habits, were the best at removing the ticks, and that they ingested (ate/removed) 90-95% of the ticks they were exposed to. “Trail cam snaps photo of an opossum eating ticks off of a willing deer’s head! 1. The National Opossum Society is an all-volunteer not-for-profit, tax-exempt charity, founded December 5, 1986. As a matter of fact, opossums are known to kill off about 90% of ticks on their body. those who tout the virtues of opossums, claim that opossums are tick… Just one reason not to fear if you see an opossum around. Possums can carry parasites like fleas and ticks, although these are the same creatures that also live on cats and dogs. Various sources have advised to feed what is known as the Modified Jurgelski Diet (90% kitten chow and 10% raw beef liver) to juvenile opossums. Because of their varied diet, adaptability, and warm winter climates, the animals have successfully integrated into urban environments. – Diet: Omnivore. Cheers to the guy who got that job! Opossums are the super effective tick-killers! Opossum feces, however, sometimes carry the eggs of a parasite that may cause illness in horses if the feces contaminate food and water. This Web Site is for the group most recently led by the late Dr. Henness, the National Opossum Society. ... Well, even though these stinky beings have quite a varied diet consisting of fruits, berries, and bugs, larvae, and various other “dishes”, they are not known for consuming these bloodsuckers in particular. They Serve A Purpose Opossums eat ticks and on average they will eat around 5,000 ticks each season. Opossums have been known to raid farm outbuildings at night to steal chickens, according to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. This takes care of more than 90% of the ticks that attempt to draw their blood meal from an opossum. The tick will come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball. Squirrels and chipmunks are also great traps for ticks, eating most of the ticks that try to feed on them. So now we are back at the 4,000 ticks a week. Because of this, possums may contribute to preventing the spread of Lyme disease . Ticks that carry the Lyme Disease bacteria are found on mice, shrews, squirrels, and chipmunks, but not so with the opossum. Opossum Facts. That means the more possums that are in your area, the fewer ticks … 2. Ducks and turkeys are also at risk; owners should enclose these animals in secure pens to keep opossums from reaching them. Media Coverage Give opossums a break. Just visit the Facebook page, Opossum Awareness & Advocacy for examples. ANSWER: The study notes opossums are particularly good at grooming themselves, which leads them to swallow most of the ticks that attach themselves. However, the opossums lick the ticks off their fur and eat them, with around 90% of the ticks they do pick up ending up being eaten, killed, and excreted in their faeces. Now don't get the wrong idea, opossums eat ticks mostly through grooming. Edit: PHOTO by Greg Swann, who told VWC that indeed the opossum was nibbling ticks! According to one forest ecologist, opossums are net destroyers of ticks. Additionally, opossums forage for carrion, garbage, and pet food left outdoors when … The opossum’s diet is varied and can include corn and poultry. Just like cats, opossums groom themselves and eat all ticks found on their bodies. They are omnivores and eat a variety of plant matter, fruits, seeds, grains, insects, earthworms, birds, and frogs. A trail camera in Vermont captured a photo of an opossum eating ticks straight from a “willing” deer’s head. Opossums are crazy, fastidious, grooming animals like cats, and when they find a tick, it's right down the hatch. If you have opossums living near your home, below are a few actions you can take to encourage them to move. Now, most animals do groom themselves however, only a few (if any) are ever as effective as opossums when grooming. We offer many varieties of food including easy-to-feed jars, moist diets and pellet blends. Media Coverage Opossums: Where Lyme disease goes to die. Opossum Diet. Opossums are the only marsupial native to North America and the most common type is the Virginia Opossum, which has adapted to the severe New England winters. Young opossums will stay in their mother’s pouch for around 80 days before they are mature enough to scavenge on their own. Our popular new Opossum diet is Premium Insectivore! Night Moves. Use wild opossums to rid your property of ticks. Feature 4 facts about tick-borne illness. Opossum Pest Prevention. Scientists have discovered that a single opossum can consume as many as 5,000 ticks in a season! March 16, 2015. Opossums aren’t the only ecological trap for ticks identified in that Ostfeld study. ), snails, mice, rats. Researchers found many digested ticks in the feces of cooperative opossums. According to the National Wildlife Federation, a single possum consumes 5000 of the parasites per tick season. 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”. – Source 2. It is estimated that a single opossum can eat 5,000 ticks in a year, thus protecting other animals (and humans) from tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease. Opossums roam around at night in search of all types of bugs and insects (even cockroaches! March 30, 2015. Opossums can eat up to 5000 ticks in a 2-3 month period, and are resistant to rabies due to their low body temperature. Opossums are great at reducing the tick population in a given area. Follow Facebook for any length of time and you will likely see a meme about opossums and ticks. Opossums are opportunistic omnivores that eat a wide variety of animal and plant matter. An opossum may swallow a flea while self-grooming. Opossums are opportunistic feeders whose diets change depending on the season. Some of opossums' favorite foods include: “Opossums not only eat a lot of dead things, but they really love to eat ticks,” says Kathy Uhler, director of the center.“One of these opossums can eat up to 5,000 ticks a year. Sometimes, opossums even eat ticks directly off of other animals. Opossum's are far more interesting than most people give them credit for. The Modified Jurgelski- Don't Do It. Scientists estimate that a single opossum can kill about 5,000 ticks in a single season. Out of all the animals on the planet, opossums can clean up the most ticks in one area. Tape Worm: These are acquired by swallowing a flea infected with a tapeworm larvae. Opossums (Didelphis virginiana) are the only native marsupial in North America. How Opossums Feed (get Rid) on Ticks; Opossums are known to be thorough groomers. Opossum Food. Research by scientists at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York found that opossums eat over 95 percent of the ticks that land on them during their meanderings. Opossums are resistant to rabies and rarely carry the disease. Exotic Nutrition foods contain a blend of vitamins, minerals and nutrient-dense pellets. While they're mainly scavengers - feeding on dead animals and plant matter - they also love insects and occasionally hunt small animals like chicks and snakes. Opossums are the only marsupial native to North America and the most common type is the Virginia Opossum, which has adapted to the severe New England winters. The National Opossum Society and the Opossum Society of the United States, while both founded by Dr. Henness, are separate groups. Feed your opossum a quality food made with wholesome grains, high quality proteins and real insects. Opossums don’t actually “play dead”, but under intense fear, they will pass out involuntarily and will start reeking of death.– Source 3. July 23, 2014. On the positive side, because rodents, cockroaches , snails and slugs are included in the possum’s diet, they can decrease the number of these pests. It’s estimated that a single opossum eliminates over 5,000 ticks from the environment each year. The Vermont Wildlife Coalition shared the photo on Facebook, writing: “Opossums can eat up to 5000 ticks in a 2-3 month period, and are resistant to rabies due to their low body temperature. 1. Possums actually eat most of the tick that land on them. Based on a study conducted by the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, researchers estimated opossums can kill about 5,000 ticks in one season. I have listed my Top 7 Opossum facts about these amazing creatures! Ecologists have recently learned something new about opossums. The key is that opossums are fastidious groomers, and whenever they find a tick, they lick it off and swallow it. Ostfeld said that one opossum can kill and eat some 5,000 ticks … Just like cats, opossums groom themselves and eat all ticks found on their bodies. Several years ago, biologists from the Cary Institute put opossums and other species, like chipmunks, squirrels, mice, and catbirds to the test, giving each animal 100 ticks to eat. With global warming, ticks and tick-borne diseases are on the rise. Ticks, particularly the black-legged ticks like deer ticks that are responsible for the spread of Lyme disease, appear to be a top item on the opossum’s menu. The opossum as a biological organism is not forgiving of a poor diet- they WILL get sick, lose mobility, or die if they are fed inappropriately. In fact, they typically eat the ticks before they have a chance to infect them. 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