A Lancaster Man Burns Down His Home In An Effort To Scare Opossums Off Of His Property
Marsupials are a group of animals that belong to the Marsupilia infraclass of mammals. Some of the most recognizable animals belonging to this unique animal group include kangaroos, koalas and wombats. Most marsupial species inhabit Australia, but South America is also home to numerous species. Only one marsupial species, Didelphis virginiana, can be found in the United States. This species is better known as the “Virginia opossum,” and unlike their kangaroo relatives, Virginia opossums are not widely considered beloved animals; instead, the Virginia opossum is frequently considered to be a pest in urban and suburban areas due to the animals’ habit of seeking human food sources within residential trash bins and urban dumpsters.
Opossums rarely inflict damage to structures, but the critters have been known to make persistent attempts to gain access to garages and sheds in order to feast on stored pet food. Opossums are generally considered a nuisance in residential neighborhoods largely because of their tendency to spread trash across residential lawns while scavenging during the late night and early morning hours. Also, opossums can contract and spread rabies to humans, but compared to many other animals, like skunks and raccoons, opossums are highly resistant to rabies infection, making them responsible for a very small proportion of human rabies cases.
Many residents become annoyed when opossums become abundant around homes, and opossums have been known to establish shelter in crawl spaces, beneath patios, and inside sheds and garages. Finding nesting opossums on residential properties becomes common during the winter months when the animals struggle to stay warm and locate food sources. Pest and wildlife control professionals in Pennsylvania address opossum issues on residential properties frequently, but some residents decide to rid their property of opossums without professional assistance. This can become a difficult task when opossums establish a large population around homes. For example, back in 2017 a Lancaster resident set fire to a pile of leaves in his backyard hoping that the smoke would repel several opossums that had been causing a nuisance around his home for several weeks. Unfortunately, this man’s plan did not turn out well, as the fire spread to his home, resulting in 50,000 dollars worth of damage. While fighting the blaze, one firefighter became injured and was later hospitalized, and the fire completely destroyed the house, which was quickly condemned by local authorities. The fire displaced the man, as well as his wife and son, and perhaps worst of all, the home was a rental.
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