Possums & Raccoons
There are 70 species of possum (or opossum). The species that is native to the Puget Sound / Seattle Metro area is the Virginia Possum.
Possums are the only marsupials (animals that have pouches to carry their young) located in North America. The gestation period for possums are the shortest of any mammal in the Pacific Northwest (only 2 weeks, at which point they enter their mother's pouch).
The Virginia Possum is nocturnal and reclusive. It is approximately the size of a house cat, has a long snout with pink nose, a long hairless prehensile tail, and weighs between 6 to 14 pounds. The Virginia Possum is gray in color, has a white face, and hairless ears.
Possums exhibit unusual behavior when they feel threatened; they pretend to be dead. This is where the expression "playing possum" comes from. If further threatened, these animals will let out horrific screeches and bear their teeth.
Great care should be taken in extracting possums from a homeowner's property, as these pests are known to
Raccoons are a medium-sized mammal that is indigenous to North America, and has become an abundant urban pest problem in the Pacific Northwest.
Raccoons are highly intelligent animals that are often found in family packs. They have adapted well to urban environments and because they have few predators and an abundance of food sources, their populations have grown to unhealthy proportions. In a recent Time magazine cover story, raccoons were identified as one of many wildlife that is in need of population reduction.
Raccoons are gray in color, have rounded ears with white colored borders, and their most recognizable characteristics is their white faces with black "masks", and ringed tails. They are 1' to 2 1/2' in length, weigh between 10 to 20 pounds, and have five-fingered dexterous paws. Raccoons can travel between 10 to 15 mph and can stand on their hind legs.
Care should be taken in the process of raccoon extraction. They can become extremely vicious when they feel threatened and they carry a number of diseases such as rabies. Also, when cleaning up after Raccoons, it is advisable to wear breathing protection, as their feces can be ingested through air born particles that harbor ringworm bacteria. For additional information see Possums & Raccoons.
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