Sunday, April 17, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. – Present in southern Quebec for at least two decades, the Virginia opossum is getting closer and closer to the metropolis.
Have your trash cans suffered from a night visitor? Raccoons may not be the culprit this time around…
Indeed, a growing number of residents of the South Shore of Montreal have reported seeing Virginia opossums, also called North American opossums, on their property this spring.
A northward expansion
Initially, these marsupials were found mainly among our neighbors to the south, in the United States as well as in Mexico and Central America. However, since the year 2000, they have begun to settle in southern Quebec.
Milder winters gave them the opportunity to continue their expansion in subsequent years. This year, several of these specimens were seen in the Montérégie region.
Should we fear it?
The Virginia opossum is not known to be very aggressive. However, like many animals, it can bite if it feels threatened. Moreover, being an animal considered semi-nomadic, it does not tend to cause significant damage to crops since it moves regularly.
Some people might be tempted to coax and approach him. However, it is not recommended to do so, because the opossum can carry several parasites. Also, even though this marsupial eats the ticks it finds in its fur, the rumor that its presence helps control Lyme disease has been proven false. The Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks of Quebec has also published a press release on this subject, in 2021.
If you don’t want your home to be a haven for opossums, here are some tips for keeping them away:
- Make sure your trash cans are tightly closed.
- Inspect and plug any place that could serve as a shelter. For example: garage attic, under shed, etc.
- Avoid leaving food intended for your pets outside.
- Leave an outdoor light on at night.
If you ever find an injured or dead opossum, the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec asks you to report it to SOS Poaching at the toll-free number 1 800 463-2191 or by email at [email protected] qc.ca.
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