Opossum tracks are often followed by drag marks left by their thick, naked tail. Their footprints are found close together and may overlap because they move in a shuffling motion. Possums put their back feet in the tracks of their front feet or right behind the front feet.
Opossums, sometimes called possums, are mammals that walk on all fours. Each footprint from a possum has five visible toes. The thumb on the hind feet does not have claws.
An opossum’s finger pads are visibly connected to their palms which causes their toes to look similar to fingers in their prints. Their prints are about two inches in diameter, and their hind feet are slightly larger.
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What do opossum prints look like?
Opossum tracks have often been compared to the shape of a star. This is because of the toes that splay out from the center. Their paw prints also look similar to a human child’s handprints.
Opossums have opposable thumbs, which look like human thumbs. A possum’s front feet have five toes with a nail on each toe. Their hind feet also have five toes, but only four of the toes have nails.
Their hind track appears different from the front track as the thumb is at a ninety-degree angle to the other toes. This inner toe is easily visible, especially when compared to its front paws.
What is the difference between a raccoon track and a possum track?
Raccoon and possum tracks may appear similar because both creatures walk on all fours with five toes on each foot. Both of their prints show their toes connected to their palm without any negative space.
However, there are differences between the tracks that will help you identify them. Raccoons have longer nails, and their toes are closer together. Their toes also all face the same forward direction.
Opossums’ separated toes and splayed-out thumbs are the most significant differences in identifying tracks between a possum and a raccoon. This fundamental difference with possum thumbs also helps identify possum tracks against other animal tracks.
Another big difference between raccoon tracks and possum tracks is their gaits. Opossums partially direct register while raccoons rarely do. The possums’ hind feet either lands directly on or near the front foot.
Because of this, possum tracks are more disoriented than raccoon tracks. Raccoon tracks show each print, while it can be difficult to identify each print left in possum tracks.
How to identify opossum tracks?
Opossums’ gait is similar to many mammals. It can make possum tracks appear to be left by a larger animal. It can also appear that more than one possum was walking together, but possums are solitary creatures and travel alone.
Possums are nocturnal and are active in almost any type of weather. They also do not hibernate. Most animals, like raccoons, seek shelter in poor weather like rain.
Opossums are different, though, and can be found moving around in cold and rainy conditions. Because of these possum behaviors, possum tracks can be found in light snow. After it rains, their tracks will be visible in the mud.
What to do if you identify opossum tracks around your house?
Opossums have adapted to human environments and can become a nuisance in urban areas. They dig through trash cans and seek shelter in attics, garages, basements, and more.
Although they are not aggressive creatures, they can carry diseases that can be dangerous to humans and pets. Possums can have fleas, ticks, and mites. They also can carry leptospirosis, tuberculosis, coccidiosis, and more.
These diseases can be transmitted to humans. If you find opossum tracks near your home, you should start taking steps to deter them. One way to deter possums and other critters is to make your yard less appealing to them.
Eliminate food sources by securing trash cans, keeping pet food inside, and cleaning up fallen fruit. Cover access points that possums may use as a shelter from predators.
Make sure there are no entryways under porches, in your garage, and along the walls of your house. Another way to eliminate protection for them is to keep a clean and tidy yard.
Opossums could hide under piles of wood or other items. Trimming your vegetation will reduce the chances of possums using overgrown bushes as shelter.
Chemical repellents can be purchased to deter opossums. These repellents can be applied to yards, gardens, and anywhere else you have noticed possum activity. They contain strong scents that possums dislike, such as predator urine.
Garlic actually can be used in several ways to repel possums. Possums hate the smell of garlic, so applying drops of garlic oil around areas with possum activity will help deter them.
You can also plant garlic cloves in your garden to keep possums from eating your other plants. Garlic can be minced and mixed with water to create a homemade repellent spray.
Another type of repellent spray you can make at home is a spray made of hot sauce, dish soap, and water. The capsaicin in peppers irritates possums and will make them leave.
Calling a wildlife professional is always an option when you have critters near or on your property. They can help with repelling and removing opossums.