Opossums for Tick Control?

PAccording to a recent article in the Montclair Local (NJ), opossums may be a mighty tool in the fight against Lyme disease. Opossums can eat up to 5,000 ticks per season. Primarily an animal of the southern states, they had a slowly expanding range upward to New Jersey likely in the 16th century. Distribution has accelerated in recent decades north to Vermont, Michigan’s upper Peninsula, and even southern Ontario, all regions that are endemic to Lyme carrying ticks. 

In another article published by Inquisitr, Richard S. Otsfeld, PhD, Cary Institute, explained opossums are actually the “unsung heroes in the Lyme Disease epidemic. Because many ticks try to feed on opossums and few of them survive the experience.” He further states, “Opossums are extraordinarily good groomers, it turns out – we never would have thought that ahead of time – but they kill the vast majority – more than 95% percent of the ticks that try to feed on them. So these opossums are walking around the forest floor, hoovering up ticks right and left, killing over 90% of these things, and so they are really protecting our health.”

Read the Montclair Local article here

Read the Inquistr article here

Watch a video by Drs. Rick Otsfeld & Joshua Ginsberg, “Of Mice & Ticks: Using Ecology to Prevent Lyme Disease” here

Read more LDA article on tick control here