A recent study found that Possums can attract and kill up to 5,000 ticks in a week, making them possibly the best natural deterrent to the spread of the pesky and increasingly dangerous bug. Sadly, possums don’t generally make their way as far north as the Ottawa Valley, maxing out latitudinally in the very south of Ontario.

The study compared squirrels, mice and opossums, which all eat ticks, and found that ticks favor opossums twice as much as the other rodents, the researchers, from Syracuse University, found.

Opossums kill almost every tick that occupies them, the study found, and a single opossum kills over 5500 ticks per week.

A possum in the snow
A possum in the snow

“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,” disease ecologist Rick Ostfeld explained.

“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.”

If only there was some way to slowly warm up all of Ontario to make it more hospitable for these tick busters…

[Story found originally on ReturnToNow.net]

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