Opossums are the only marsupials that are native to North America. A marsupial is an animal that has a pouch to carry its young in. Opossums are known for their ability to "play possum" or pretend to be dead to ward off danger. They are gypsylike, never staying very long in one place. Most people consider opossums annoying to have around as the animals will dig in your trash cans and eat discarded food. However, the small town of Wasua, Florida celebrates the opossum every year with its Possum Festival.
Opossums are nocturnal creatures. If you see one during the daytime it might be sick or injured, or it might be a mother opossum hunting for food for her babies. Opossums will go where the food is. If you have a bowl of cat or dog food sitting out, you can expect to see a opossum helping itself day or night.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rules allow for trapping and catching of opossums although conservations will recommend against it. Because they are such transient creatures, it would almost be a waste of time to try and set up a trap. Also, you can never be sure if a opossum has young babies to care for that would be left behind.
Co-existing with Opossums
Opossums don't carry rabies, nor are they an attack animal. Opossums are more afraid of you, than you are of them. Keep any food inside the house, and keep any trash inside the trash bins. If there is no food to draw a opossum, then they will stay well hidden and you won't even know they are in your yard. Chances are, within a week, they will have moved on to their next home.
Killing a Opossum
Pursuant to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Rule 68A-9.010, it is legal to kill a opossum on your own land. This statute states you may kill, as long as you do so humanely. Do not make the opossum suffer and do not prolong its death.