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Ticks and opossums

May 17. 2018 9:24PM

To the Editor: With ticks on the rise, there is one animal that can be a hero in the battle against them, the opossum. An often misunderstood creature, opossums will hiss and drool when frightened, however that is just a defense and they are not rabid. In fact, opossums are resistant to rabies and other diseases that ticks carry as well. These marsupials waddle through your yard at night scavenging for insects, while doing this they pick up ticks. Opossums are fastidious groomers and consume almost all of the ticks that hitch a ride on them. In one study, it is reported that one opossum will take out 5,000 ticks per season. So a tick that could have given your child Lyme disease is picked up by an opossum and killed instead.

Unfortunately, New Hampshire Fish & Game allows a hunting and trapping season on opossums. Considering opossums are no threat to people or pets, do not dig burrows, and are mostly nocturnal, there is no reason for them to be targeted by hunters and trappers. There was a blog written by a prominent New Hampshire trapper encouraging his peers to trap more opossums. That is the opposite of what Fish & Game should be promoting. Let’s embrace opossums and be thankful for the work they do in taking out ticks. I know if I see an opossum in my yard at night, I say thank you and watch him at work. Plus, I think they are cute too!



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