How to Avoid Possum Health Hazards


With their small beady eyes, elongated snout and small ears, possums are actually considered “cute” by some people. However, for others, they are nothing but a nuisance and a pest.

Possums are small, rodent-like creatures normally found in New Zealand, Australia and Sulawesi. Considered as partly arboreal, they are nocturnal beings who love to inhabit places with lush vegetation. However, with expanded urbanization, they have also taken quite a liking to urban areas like subdivisions and homes.


The Possum Dilemma

Possums are just like rodents, only bigger and with more spunk. Once they find a particular area they like, they invade it and make it their own.

These furry creatures like to gnaw and chew on things whether it’s electrical wire, cables, food, walls and various other items. They are experts when it comes to squeezing themselves in tight, dark corners so if they chew on wirings there; it’ll be quite hard to notice until it is too late.

Apart from their dangerous chewing and gnawing habits, possums are also possible carriers of diseases. In fact, this is one of their most dangerous traits. They can easily bring harmful health hazards to a home.


One of the most dangerous diseases a possum can bring, leptospirosis is a caused by the bacterium Leptospira interrrogans. Known for its spiral shape, it is normally referred to as a spirochete. This type of disease is not only dangerous to humans but also to livestock including pets.

Just like rats, possums can easily contaminate the water or food supply with their urine. Although most of the time, it’s the pets or livestock that suffer the most serious problems; humans can become infected with this as well.

Some of the symptoms of leptospirosis include severe nausea, muscle pain, neck stiffness, chills and vomiting.  If left untreated, it could escalate into second stage and cause aseptic meningitis which causes yellowish eyes with blurred vision.

Ticks and Fleas

Ticks can be transferred from possums to house pets. They can easily jump on the brush and then leap onto the pet. Older dogs can build a resistance against these harmful creatures but smaller pets can be susceptible to the damage they bring.

E.coli and Salmonella

Another problematic issue possums can bring are E.coli and Salmonella. These have been found on their droppings and can easily cause stomach problems. If possums have made a home on a rooftop, these bacteria could infect the rainwater from the roof which in turn, could find its way to a human host.

Tetanus Infection

Quite rare but nonetheless possible, possums can cause tetanus infections through their bite and scratches. Similar to rodent control, there are homeowners who like to handle their possum problem on their own. However, it’s best to consult professionals in this case.

As mentioned, taking care of possums is similar to rat control; it is a job best meant for professionals. With the amount of damage and health hazards a possum can bring, it is advisable to take care of the problem as soon as possible.

Once the possums are gone, look into options about “possum-proofing” the home, particularly the roof area. These will prevent the possums from invading the same area again. This will also save homeowners plenty of grief in the long run.

This article is intended for your general knowledge only, Learn More.


  1. 1. Possums are NOT rodents, they’re marsupials.

    2. There is no evidence that possum droppings contain anything different nor more harmful than any other type of animal dropping, or even human feces.

    3. The only danger they bring is they may carry fleas, and those fleas may be carrying disease, but this is something that can also be said of a family dog or cat. In fact dogs and cats are more likely to carry disease, because possums have a low body temperature making their bodies inhabitable for a number of viruses found in mammals (including rabies).

    4. Possums activity in your backyard is actually beneficial to you, as they eat rodent pests like rats (which DO carry harmful illnesses) and they keep your garden free of snails and other insects that would eat your plants.

    Please do your research before you write an article about any animal species in respect to the danger it poses to humans. Basically nothing in this article is correct. The mere fact that you can’t even identify what family the species belongs to is a red flag that you have no idea what you’re talking about.
    Possums are peaceful little creatures and as long as you aren’t going around petting them or trying to pick them up (or any wild animal you see, duh) then they aren’t going to cause any problems for you or your pets. They are one of the most misunderstood species in the wild primarily based on misinformation like this, which leads to unnecessary killings by their their most dangerous predator: humans.

    • I’m an activist and I always look for animals in/around the road. I won’t hesitate to stop and help – I either move animals off the road or if they’re still alive I will do my best to get the animal off the road and try to get help. I have encountered many opossums over the years – most dead but some still alive – and my only thought is to get them help and end their pain and suffering. As for homes, number one rule is to inspect it and make sure it is animal proofed so you don’t have any uninvited critters causing a stir. I’m not aware of opossum being carriers of disease, I think most of think of rats but they definitely are undeserving of the reputation. People are to blame no doubt. Rats only hang out where there is a food source so this means litter and scraps, trash everywhere which translates to diseased environment and filth due to a people problem. And so we kill these poor babies because we are unclean and due to our wrong doing. We make them pay with their lives for our problems. Think about that. Also if you aren’t a fan of rats, whatever you do please don’t buy glue traps. These monstrous contraptions need to be banned across the board. They are inhumane and do not discriminate. Here is supposedly the most humane option for dealing with rats:


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