I have been invaded by a possum! Of course, my hay/feed barn looked like a cozy den for him and he tried to take up residence there. I kicked him out Monday and blocked the cat hole, but he was in there yesterday curled up by my round bale!!! YIKES!!! Of course I am an over-reactor, so I now think all my horses will get EPM. I cleaned up all the hay on the ground, where he slept and peeled off the outer layer of the bale. I did not see any evidence of fecal matter but I am still a bit freaked out.
Since he was playing "possum" I was able to scoop him up in a large shovel and deposit him on my neighbors property (heavily wooded). What are the chances he comes back?
He may come back. If he does I would take him much further away to a nice spot that isn't near any other farms for him to move into.
I totally understand the EPM scare and agree that it isn't OK for him to be hanging around your feed. With that said, I love possums :-D
They're certainly the easiest of the wild animals to trap and move!
As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.
Well crap!!! I was hoping he would want to stay in the woods. My neighbor won't mind because it is just raw land with a small partial house. I was wondering if he woyuld return I read they move on after 2-3 days, is that true? If I find him again and he is playing possum, I will relocate him to a timber area 10 miles down the road.
Kill it and leave it's carcass for the buzzards. Well away from your house. Carrion eaters need food too.
Screwing around with a live one will eventually get you hurt. Set a trap and execute it or shoot it on sight.
Possums love cat food. They are slow and will usually just sit and stare at you while you shoot them. Head shots work better than body shots, it's tough to kill a possum with a body shot, but a head shot just makes them fall over.
make sure before you aim you are aware of what is behind your target.
I read they move on after 2-3 days, is that true? If I find him again and he is playing possum, I will relocate him to a timber area 10 miles down the road.
I believe this is true; that they tend not to stay in any one area but continually move.
Which is why I don't bother to shoot them or freak out; I'm sure there are possums that cross my pastures on their way elsewhere that I don't see. I certainly don't encourage them to stay here, but I don't really see any reason to kill them on sight. While they are not good to have around horses, they have good qualities in the food chain - such as eating slugs and insects that can invade gardens, etc.
I don't want to totally be a debbie downer here- and the info I have is really old- like from way back in the 1990s when the whole EPM scare was catching on and gaining public awareness...
but I thought that the protozoa which the possums carry which makes horses sick- can be in their poop- and it can be in your hay from out in the hayfield (you don't need a possum in your hayloft to have infected hay) and that if carrion birds eat dead possums (read: ROADKILL GALORE) that the disease is then carried and spread from the poop of the bird- so leaving a dead possum out just widens the food chain spread across the pastures and hayfields.
So my understanding from back then was that killing possums without disposing of them just worsens the problem - maybe this has been disproven since then- I'd love to know if it has.
I agree with others - kill it and bury the carcass. We have a stray dog (can I still call him that after 7 months?) that has delivered 3 dead possums to the back door in the last month. He's well on the way to achieving permanent residency.
If you believe everything you read, better not read. -- Japanese Proverb
Thanks for everyone's input. I went to the spot where I deposited the possum and found that he was not playing possum at all but had passed away. So, I guess he is really gone for good! I raked up all the loose hay he was laying in and inspect all my bales (thankfully, I need to get hay this weekend so there was not much) and did not find anywhere he went to the restroom. While I am sure I have possums on my property, I have not had one visable before. I am going to dispose of the raked hay well away from the horses so there will not be any risk.
For those of you that had horses with EPM, did they all recover?