Sunday, April 17, 2022 at 12:00 – The Virginia opossum, which has had a presence in southern Quebec for at least two decades, is closing in on the metropolis.
Have your bins suffered from a late-night visitor? Raccoons might not be the culprit this time…
In fact, a growing number of residents of Montreal’s South Shore have reported seeing Virginia possums, also known as North American possums, on their property this spring.
An extension to the north
Initially, these marsupials were mainly found in our southern neighbors, in the United States, as well as in Mexico and Central America. However, since 2000, they have begun to settle in southern Quebec.
Milder winters gave them the opportunity to continue their expansion in subsequent years. Several of these specimens were spotted in the Montérégie region this year.
Should we be afraid of this?
The Virginia opossum is not known to be very aggressive. However, like many animals, it can bite if threatened. In addition, being a semi-nomadic animal, it tends not to cause significant damage to crops as it moves regularly.
Some people might be tempted to persuade and approach him. However, this is discouraged as the possum can transmit multiple parasites. Even though this marsupial eats the ticks it finds on its fur, the rumor that its presence helps control Lyme disease has been proven wrong. The Quebec Department of Forests, Wildlife and Parks also issued a press release on the subject in 2021.
If you don’t want your home to be a haven for possums, here are some tips on how to keep them away:
- Make sure your trash cans are closed tightly.
- Inspect and connect any location that could serve as a shelter. For example: garage attic, under shed, etc.
- Avoid leaving food intended for your pets outside.
- Leave an outside 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 this to SOS Poaching on toll-free 1 800 463-2191 or email centralesos@mffp. gouv.qc.ca
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