Actual Size: Up to 3 feet long when mature

Characteristics: Has a white face and a fur-covered body. Their prehensile tails allow them to hang upside-down.

Habitat: Lives in abandoned animal burrows. Can also enter homes through attics, walls, and crawl spaces.


  • Known for their strong and foul odor.
  • Beneficial to the environment by controlling insect and snake populations.
  • Capable of transmitting diseases and parasites to humans or pets.

Opossums in Memphis TN Metro Area

Opossums encompass a diverse group of animals, with at least 103 different species identified. However, the Virginia opossum is the sole species found in the United States. Sized similar to a large house cat, opossums are considered beneficial mammals due to their diet, which includes a wide range of insects and snakes. This fact leads many property owners to view them as advantageous. Opossums are nomadic creatures, rarely settling in one location for an extended period, often utilizing abandoned burrows or crawl spaces as temporary shelters. While foraging for sustenance and seeking shelter, opossums may occasionally become a nuisance to homeowners.

Opossum Habitat

Possums do not typically create their own dens or burrows underground. Instead, they rely on existing abandoned dens or burrows left by other animals. They have a peculiar habit of waiting for another creature to vacate its dwelling before taking up residence. Possums actually prefer to inhabit trees due to the protection they offer. However, if given access, they may enter attics, walls, and crawl spaces of homes. If you detect an unusual and unpleasant odor within your home, it could be an indication that a possum has taken up residence in your walls.

Opossum Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Opossums generally do not pose a significant threat to humans or pets, outside of the diseases they are capable of transmitting. Their teeth are not designed for attacking or hunting, but rather for chewing and grasping. Opossums are not aggressive towards humans and have a unique defense mechanism of playing “dead” when they sense danger. They do not engage in hole-digging, garden destruction, biting, or stinging. Opossums are nomadic creatures and do not tend to stay in one location for extended periods of time. However, it’s important to note that opossums can carry various parasites and diseases. They are not known for being the cleanest animals and can emit a strong odor if they gain access to attics and crawl spaces in homes. If opossums are an issue, it’s best to have them removed humanely by a professional wildlife control company.