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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For the past 2 evenings, I have had the cutest little opossum in my barn. That being said, it's a opossum. I think it's going after the cat food and not the horse feed, I'm not sure it can get into my grain tubs, but, it's still a opossum. SO... My question is...

I called my brother and he is coming over tomorrow to try and trap it. he's going to look for it in the AM but I don't think it comes into the barn until the evening so he'll have to come back around dark time. If he takes it away, how far does he need to go with it to ensure that it doesn't come back? Can he turn it loose in my moms barn? (she only has feral cats - no livestock in her barn). She's about 2400 feet from my place... I geuss? I'm not good with distance, she's up on the hill, about a 10 minute walk through the woods. Would the opposum come back? I hate to kill it. That just isn't my style. I'll drive it across the county if I need to....
 

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Kill it. Once it has found a home then it will come back, no matter what. Trust me, kill it. Have you ever seen a horse that has EPM? It is noting you would ever want to see, it's so horrible. If you truly loved your horses you would kill it.

Studies have proven that generally when you relocate a wild animal it dies. Because of stress, lack of food, and disease transmission.
 

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A friend of mine had a stallion that died from EPM about 9 yrs ago. It was horrible.
 

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I think we're all aware that opossums and horses don't mix. That being said, I truly don't believe you HAVE to kill it. My BO traps and moves opossums and they seem to stay away. But it all depends on how far away you take them from your barn...
 

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It's a large marsupial rat. Kill it! They have all kinds of diseases the worst of which for your horses is EPM the worst for you is rabies.
 

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I don't see this cuteness everyone is talking about in opposums! All I see is a breeding ground of disease and disgust.

Kill it. And MAKE SURE it's dead! Several nights our dogs (pit bull and a coonhoundXdoberman) have found these nasties, and while our coonhound mix did kill one by ultimately breaking it's back - we've always put a bullet in their head. We don't seem to have a problem any more. Just raccoons every now and again. Usually after running the dogs in the barn for a few days, leaving some lights on and playing the radio, they decide it's not a real comfort inn.

I saw a grand prix schoolmaster who had contracted EPM and he couldn't even make a proper circle after that. He was put down not long after I left the barn.
 

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Katty, A oppossum is a large rat with a long hairdo.

It's a maruspial, so it's probably kin to your possums.

Farmpony, if you're determined to relocate, take it at least five miles away. Really.

We were relocating the groundhogs we trapped at our place (we said the groundhogs were entering the witness protection program) and had a couple find their way back from a couple of miles away. So....at least five miles, preferably with a body of water between you.
 

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Remind me of a big rat...Kill them!!! There about as good as a groundhog....in the horse world...

Cute Huh?


Not So Cute





 

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By no means do I think they're ugly. I LOVE animals and all animals. They even make really good pets ;)
But I just think you have to put one love before another (horse before opposum). Either way it's a death sentence for the opposum by killing it yourself or by relocating it.
 

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Funny you should mention this. Just this past Saturday I came home to find my girls had an opossum cornered in our pasture. I couldn't tell what it was at first because it wasn't moving ("playing possum", lol) and I thought they had drug one of the grain tubs out into the snow again. It was only as I was hopping over the fence that I got a clear look and saw what it was. They were all over trying to nose and paw at it and that worried me because I didn't know how long he'd put up with that before he got fed up and went on the offensive -- and they can be nasty creatures/carry some nasty stuff. I sent DD around the long way towards the barn so the horses would follow her and move away from it. It STILL didn't move even after they had been away for a bit so I was afraid it was hurt and couldn't leave which would mean the girls would be right back at it when we went in so I put on tall boots (little extra protection for the feet/legs) and grabbed my trusty broom (only thing w/in reach at the time). Once I got close he started moving off so I followed him to keep him going and he eventually took refuge in my neighbors shrub. The nice thing about having snow on the ground is I can tell if he comes back around and so far it seems like he didn't want to move in - was just passing through.
Anyway - if you do want to relocate it, you need to move him several miles away and preferably to an area where he won't simply be a pest for someone else to deal with. Oh, and relocating is not a guaranteed death sentence to the opossum. They are relocated all the time through re-hab programs when they are found injured and can do just fine as long as they are put in an area that suits them. They will face the same challenges any other animal in that area will - they may be killed, but they have just as much of a chance as thriving in their new surroundings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
All,

Thanks for the responses. I do know what EPM is and I do know where it comes from which is why I know that it is so important to get rid of the opossum. I worked at Quantico Stables several years ago when EPM was a fairly rare/unknown disease. We had ELEVEN horses come down with signs of it within a month. At the time it was really scary becuase we did not quite know how the horses contracted the disease, as it was pretty "new". The barn used a grain silo and I assume the opossums had pooped in the grain. So yes, I've seen the effects from life-ending to controllable. I understand the severity of the situtation.

I can't even squish a bug so until my husband comes home from travel all animals, mighty and dangerous, will live. My brother is also not the killing type but he is willing to trap it and remove it. I appreciate the advice on distances, that was my main question, how far do I need to go with him. There is a bald eagle preserve about 15 miles from the house, no horse farms nearby. I think we'll dump him there.
 

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Farmpony, you're far kinder hearted than I am.

I've seen the ravages of EPM up close, and no way will I allow a possum to live.

I have a humongous one that is going to meet his Maker very soon. He's going to die by lead injection. I'd rather not poison him, because I don't want a predator to die by eating the carcass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Farmpony, you're far kinder hearted than I am.

I've seen the ravages of EPM up close, and no way will I allow a possum to live.

I have a humongous one that is going to meet his Maker very soon. He's going to die by lead injection. I'd rather not poison him, because I don't want a predator to die by eating the carcass.
I can play the part of the mob boss and order the hit. I just need a hitman....
 

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Opossums were here long before any of us were... We make it NICE for them to come in to our barns by leaving stuff lying around, dog food, cat food, horse feed, etc.

In general, a barn with a lot of people going in and out, a radio, a dog, Opossums will stay away from.

I understand the horrors EPM, I really do, but killing it just isnt the answer in my eyes. Relocate sure, at least you are giving it a chance.

farmpony, I'm with you, I cant even kill a cockroach, I sipmly cover them with bowls and let Hubby deal with it when he gets home, course the cats have usually "played" with them for a while before I found it, so they are on the verge of death with missing legs and stuff anyways.

We are all on this Earth for some reason or another (course I see no use in Cockroaches, and I ask God "WHY!?!" everytime I see one) and I think we all should get a fair chance at it.
Which is a little hypocritical of me since I eat meat, but then again, I do my hunting in Publix... But I dont see the need in killing an Oppossum, unless of course you WANT to eat him, which down here in the south is very relevant. I guess what I mean is... dont kill Needlessly?
Besides, kill this one, and there are only 4million more waiting to take his/her place.
 

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There is no reason to kill the possum. If you stop leaving cat food out during the night then the possum will not keep coming around. It's only in your barn for the food.

And while EPM is a horrible disease--it's been an area of special interest for me for almost 10 years now---less than 1% of horses that get exposed to the parasite that is shed in possum feces (and it's not all possums) will actually contract disease. Horses actually are fairly good at getting rid of the parasite on their own. It's stress and concurrent disease or damage to the central nervous system that makes a horse susceptible. That is why EPM is so often seen in competition horses or horses that have been hauled long distance.

I have had possums live in my barn. I've bottle raised possums. I've relocated possums for people who have survived quite well in their new surroundings. Possums are very hardy little creatures.

As for the diseases, it is EXTREMELY RARE for a possum to contract rabies. For some unknown reason, they are very resistant to that disease. And not all possums carry the parasite that causes EPM and as I said, only a very very small portion of exposed horses contract EPM.

For all of those reasons, there simply is no reason to just kill the possum.
Start feeding your cats at meal-times and then picking up the cat food. Keep your horse feed locked away so that possums can't get into it. Do those things and it's highly unlikely that the possum will stay in your barn. Trap the possum and relocate it away from your barn. I wouldn't just put it in your mother's barn because if you have cat food out it's going to come back, but take it out to a wooded area and leave it. You can relocate just a few miles, it doesn't have to be terribly far away.
 

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Sure, relocate it so it's no longer your problem, but what about your neighbor down the road? Sorry, but I take care of my problems, not dump them on someone else to deal with.

I feed my barn cats once a day in the mornings, and all cat food/horse feed is locked away where Mr. Possum can't get to it.

So saying that he'll go away if he can't get to the food, has proven not to be the case where I'm concerned.

It's none of my business if y'all want to take a chance on EPM, but when it comes to my horses, I'd rather be safe than sorry.

I'm all for letting nature be natural, but once it's on my property, it's vermin to be dispatched. That goes for any dangerous snakes, too. Black racers and black rat snakes get a free pass, because they help keep rodents in check. Copperheads die.
 
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