An extreme closeup of a Common Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) snarling and drooling saliva on a winter day.

Do Possums Have Rabies?

Did you know that opossums, commonly known as possums, are practically immune to rabies? That’s right – these furry marsupials have developed a strong resistance against the deadly virus due to their low body temperature and exceptional immunity capabilities.

However, it is still important for humans and pets to steer clear of these animals since they can carry other viruses and parasites.

Let’s look deeper at how opossums respond to rabies and how to protect ourselves should we encounter one.

Key Pest Points:

•  Possums don’t typically transmit rabies due to their low body temperature.

•  Ensure your furry friends are vaccinated against rabies, and do not let them wander freely outdoors.

•  Animals common to contract rabies are raccoons, bats, and foxes.

How Can Opossums Get Rabies?

Possums lead a dangerous life in cities. They might run into wild cats or dogs who’ve contracted nasty diseases. To make matters worse, their scavenging habits make them vulnerable. They could easily stumble upon already-infected critters without even knowing it.

Knowing other animals that can transmit this infection is essential to protect yourself and your pets from getting infected. Here is the list of common wildlife and if they are at high risk of carrying rabies: 

Animals Risk of contracting rabies?
Chipmunks Low 
Squirrels Low 

Keeping your pets vaccinated and maintaining a safe distance from wildlife are key steps to ensure safety. These preventative measures can go a long way in keeping both you and these adorable critters healthy.

What Are the Symptoms of Rabies in Possums and Opossums?

Rabies is a virus that can be dangerous and even deadly for mammals. But not many people are aware of the warning signs.

To protect yourself from infection, watch for animals displaying odd behavior, such as aggression or friendliness towards humans, when they usually wouldn’t. Early symptoms to look out for include: 

  • Disorientation
  • Fatigue
  • Feverishness
  • Higher-than-usual salivation levels
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis 

All of these immediately require medical attention if you witness them in wild or domesticated creatures!

A Common Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) looks straight into the camera on a winter day.  It is snowing slightly, there is some snow in the background, and some snow on the Opossum’s fur.

Do Possums Carry Other Diseases?

Possums can seriously threaten human and animal health due to their potential to spread dangerous diseases. These include:

  • Leptospirosis
  • Salmonella
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Coccidiosis

These nocturnal animals also carry ticks, fleas, mites, and lice, so be careful when dealing with possums. 

Taking the necessary steps is essential when dealing with wild animals like possums. Whether that means steering clear of their living spaces or wearing protective gear. Remember to clean up by giving your hands a good wash afterward!

Do Possums Bite?

Although they are usually docile creatures, possum bites can cause severe infections and physical harm if provoked. That’s why we always recommend keeping a safe distance from these animals. If it appears sick or distressed in any way, shape, or form – steer clear and call a professional for help. 

How Can I Protect Myself and Others Against Rabies?

Having a safe and rabies-free environment starts with you. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

• Vaccinate your pets regularly. This is the best way to prevent spreading rabies.

• Avoid contact with wild animals, especially if they appear sick or agitated.

• If you see a wild animal exhibiting strange behavior, contact local animal control or wildlife experts.

• If an animal bites you, get medical attention immediately and report the incident.

• Practice good hygiene to avoid infections. Always wash your hands after coming in contact with any animals, and clean up after yourself regularly.

Following these simple steps can help protect yourself and others against the spread of rabies and other diseases.

An Opossum in a tree, with its mouth open, showing its teeth.

How to Prevent Opossums from Entering Your Home

If you want to keep possums away from your house, there are a few easy steps you can take. Here’s what to do:

• Ensure your windows, doors, and vents are properly closed. Also, install a chimney cap to prevent critters from entering your home. They are the most common entry points for animals.

• Trim trees and shrubs near your house to limit the potential for possums to climb in.

• Install motion-activated lights or scare devices near entry points as a deterrent.

• Make sure all trash bins are securely closed at night and keep pet food inside.

• Set a humane possum trap if necessary, but release the animal far away from your home.

Keeping yourself and your pets safe from rabies is a serious business. That’s why it’s essential to understand the signs and symptoms associated with the virus to prevent its spread.


How likely is it to get rabies from a possum?

It’s not common to contract rabies from possums, but it is still important to be careful around them. Possum bites can cause severe infections and physical harm if disturbed or provoked. So when you see one in the wild, appreciating its cuteness from afar is your best bet!

Why can’t opossums get rabies?

Possums have a lower body temperature that can help deter the rabies virus. Even if they get infected, possums’ powerful immune systems give them an impressive fighting chance against this serious illness.

What happens if a possum bites you?

If you ever find yourself in a situation where an unfortunate possum has gotten its jaws onto your skin, it’s time to get medical attention right away. Wash the wound with soap and water immediately. Then, call local animal control or wildlife experts for help. And remember that keeping your fur babies vaccinated against rabies is super-important too.

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