Goats and Opossum

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by liz, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    This is sorta funny but a little concerning to me as well..... I have 2 kitties that stay with my goats and so they get fed in the barn, they've done great with keeping critters away but for a week now I've acquired a new barn inhabitant.
    A young possum has been visiting the kitty food every night around 8:30... I sit with my goats and wait to see it and like clockwork, it will come from under the shed, cautiously and go right into the girls' door and to the feed dish. I've been "making friends" and will stand with a flashlight and talk to it as it eats, it's been accustomed to my presence and doesn't take off, eats it's fill then will root around in the loose hay away from the goats.
    I figure that it's denned itself under the barn...I don't mind because if it's there...I won't have snakes.
    I do know that they are naturally resistant to rabies and aren't viscious..... ugly as sin but are pretty much a docile critter.

    Any reason to try and get rid of it? I don't want to endanger my goats.
  2. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    Not sure if there is a concern. I don't know about opossum's, wish I had more incite on it. :wink:

  3. ThreeHavens

    ThreeHavens 7 does - 2 bucks - 1 wether

    Oct 20, 2011
    New Jersey
    Only concern would be for the baby goats, I know possums are omnivores and will eat fruits, and carcasses, but they go after small mammals as well, and that's concerning for miniature baby goats. It could also get into a fight with your cat and hurt it. You could, if you wanted, put the dish in a little cage and re-home the little guy someplace it would do well.
  4. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Yep...I know they are omnivores and I did some thinking on the fact that there will be babies here come February...and that is a concern. A box trap will be in order soon enough as I definately don't want to see any issues come about when kids arrive
  5. KW Farms

    KW Farms Moderator Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2008
    Wapato, WA
    Yeah, I think kids would be my main concern...not sure what other threat it would pose...other then maybe tracking in germs or diseases? :shrug:
  6. Steph

    Steph Senior Member

    May 7, 2009
    I would be concerned about rabies and the danger to your kitties.
  7. Shellshocker66

    Shellshocker66 Wrapped around a hoof!

    Mar 19, 2012
    Southern Oregon
    While I still lived down in the suburbs, I acquired a opossum buddy.. Well I should say my outdoor kitty invited said opossum to the house and they were buddies. One night I heard my cat eating at the backdoor, I opened the door and looked down and nearly had a heart attack when I saw what was eating right next to my cat! Well they were friends for years! Slept together, eat together, and it was a very strange and unnerving companionship. The opossum used the cat door to get into the garage just like the cat.

    Well not long before I moved, I was working outside late in the afternoon when I noticed the possum coming down the road dragging it's back end. I knew it had been hit by a car and tried to catch it before it got in my backyard. Didn't make it and it dragged itself under my shed... The cat wailed for days until I could get something long enough to drag her buddy out from under the shed and give it a proper burial.

    So while I seemed to have a strange duo of friends, I never saw the cat and possum fight, and the neighbor had a wonderful gopher problem, that seems my worthless gang never did cure for her. I just don't know if a opossum would go for something as big as a goat kid?
  8. Devin

    Devin New Member

    Feb 6, 2011
    I would be concerned about it peeing and deficating in the hay more than anything. Its a rodent that can carry more deseases than just rabies.
  9. Tayet

    Tayet Senior Member

    Feb 9, 2012
    Wisconsin, USA
    Opossum's are icky animals. If you have any poultry they will eat and kill all of your birds. I would recommend shooting at it with a BB gun or trying to catch it in a live trap and relocating it FAR AWAY.
  10. audrey

    audrey New Member

    Jul 17, 2012
    Lebanon, Oregon
    Possums carry a protozoan that gives horses a neurological disease. I don't know if goats are affected by it or not, but possums are nasty little critters and I would def. not want one hanging in my barn! I would not shoot it with a BB though, that will just injure the dumb thing and make it suffer. If you do shoot it with something, its best to use a shot gun, as they have tiny, pencil eraser sized brains that is IMPOSSIBLE to hit. I had one in my hay pile and my stepdad shot it with our 22. He unloaded a full clip into it, and then had to reload and put another half a clip into the poor thing before it died. It was a pretty sad and brutal experience!
  11. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    They are not rodents...not even related to a rodent. They have a natural resistance to rabies and yes, they will go after chickens and eggs...they also don't potty in unprotected areas, I don't keep my hay in my shed so I'm not concerned about that. Also... hubby is against relocating, I'd hate to have to shoot it because it's really not hurting anything and the kitties just watch as it eats their leftovers. From what I've read about them, they simply won't attack or bite critters...birds and mice yes, carrion, bugs, fruit etc.

    I'd hate to have to shoot it but will if thats the only way to keep things peaceful here.
  12. Dayna

    Dayna Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2012
    Pahoa Hawaii
    If it were me? I know I might sound crazy but I'd keep it around and see how it goes. I love that it will help keep away snakes!
  13. TheMixedBag

    TheMixedBag The Hoofcare and Repro specialist

    Oct 16, 2010
    Glencoe, OK
    I would have mixed feelings about one. Them again, our cats don't like them and neither do the goats. I much prefer snakes, the only venomous ones around here are copperheads.and water moccasins, and neither are a problem. They keep pest levels down and the goats don't mind them.

    On that note, possums are marsupials. They carry their young in a pouch and would rather play dead than bite. Also, like most rodents, they are relatively disease free, clean and fairly intelligent (it's a common misconception that rats are filthy disease ridden flesh bags. They're not). I'd be more worried about a raccoon than a possum. I've had birds killed for the fun of it by them, and never lost one to a possum.
  14. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    I'm glad it's a 'possum and not a coon...Coons are more vicious and destructive.

    So far, I've done enough reading about North America's only marsupial that I'm more comfortable having 1 possum in the barn than I am 2 cats!
    If I had birds here I'd be wanting it gone but until theres an issue, I'll see how it goes....it's body is about as big as the older kitty here so it's just a young one.
  15. LuvmyGoaties

    LuvmyGoaties Member

    Mar 8, 2010
    As someone already stated, Opossums carry a nasty disease that horses get called EPM. this is from the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Defense's web site:
    12. EPM (Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis or the
    “Opossum Disease”): Horses become infected with this
    zoonotic disease by eating opossum “poop” or feces on or
    in the grain, hay, or grass. Infected horses often have a
    lack of limb coordination or hind limb lameness. Infected
    horses may die. Prevention: Trap and remove all opossums
    and place barriers around stored grain and hay. Be
    sure that opossums have not touched the horse’s hay,
    grain, water, or feeding equipment. Do not use feed or
    hay that has “poop” or feces on it.

    This is what Maggie's beautiful Mule Sarah suffered from until they had to euthanize her from it's effects :( . I can not find any info on it affecting goats so if you don't have horses you might be safe but it is not something I would want to mess around with.
    Crazy Little Goat likes this.
  16. Zarafia

    Zarafia Senior Member

    Mar 25, 2012
    Archer, FL
    Yeah. opposums can carry and transmit sarcocystis (sp) as can armadillos. The rest of the disease vectors are roaches, I think.
    My old horse vet was formerly a biologist specializing in sarcocystis at UF. She managed to completely confuse me on the subject LOL. I was formerly under the impression that sarcocystis would kill old world parrots within a day of infection. New world parrots have been known to survive it.
    But supposedly it was the same thing that causes EPM in horses. My old vet says it wasn't exactly sarcocystis that was killing parrots. And she is recognised as being the person who discovered that armadillos can carry sarcocystis.
    So I'd try to find out if goats can become sick from sarcocystis or EPM. If they can't then I'd let the little guy be your friend. Opposums are really benign critters IMO. They don't live a very long time, but they aren't often nasty.
  17. Squires

    Squires New Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    Possums in urban areas can get pretty tame and tolerant of people and domestic animals, so may come very close without having rabies, BUT they CAN catch rabies and spread it!

    Sometimes they also spread "sarcosis" and a few other diseases. They are more of a problem with poultry. I would ask my vet or the State USDA vet office or an agricultural extension agent about it -- sometimes they know if there are problems locally or epidemics of these diseases in the wild -- which is when you want to avoid all wildlife. For instance, a few years ago we had an epidemic of rabies in wildlife in NY State and all animals were suspect.

    If it seems healthy, if there are no current problems in your area with diseases carried by wildlife, and it doesn't bother you or your animals, then I guess it is harmless enough. I knew someone in NYC whose tenant adopted a possum and then left it behind in the house when they left! The landlady become quite fond of it and it would wander into the house and eat cat food she left out for it, but it had to go before she could rent out the house to new tenants. LOL!
  18. RowdyKidz

    RowdyKidz Senior Member

    Apr 2, 2009
    NW Ohio
    I loved reading all these responses... Don't have much to add because with our German Shepherd, wild animals never get close to the barn. Except the other day there was a dead oppossum outside my barn! :shocked:
  19. keren

    keren owned by goats

    Oct 26, 2008
    ive got a bandicoot who comes and snacks of goat food every evening ....much like your guy i tend to chat with it a.d it just sits beside me and the goats while i.milk.

    i dont.know about your american opossums but i.kbow.our possums and pretty.much all.our masupials are.harmless enouvh ... wombats and kangaroos cause a bit of damage to fences but thats about it unless you get them in.plague.proportio.s.

    for.me, as long.as my giats arent at risk and i dont.believe they are either from.atyack or infection, i enjoy having wildlide around. i will.be sad to say goodbye to the bandicoot when we.move in.a few weeks.
  20. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Well...the possum must have decided that it didn't like me interupting it's thievery of the kitty food because I haven't seen it in a few days now and the kitty food has not been stolen.:( Oh well...it was pretty neat having a docile visitor