Is it safe to handle an opossum with bare hands?

If you’ve ever had an opossum invade your home before, you’ve probably noticed the animal doesn’t fight back (well most of the time anyway). Even when you got within striking range, all it did was bare its teeth and look tough, without ever attempting to hurt you. It may have even played dead to try and put you off disturbing it. All of this got you thinking: If this animal is so docile, won’t it be safe to hold it in my hands? Now bouts of courage aren’t bad things. In fact, they should be encouraged. But there’s a fine line between courage and recklessness, and if you’re set on getting your hands on an opossum, here are a few things you need to know.

Do you need to?
No, you don’t. There are so many ways to deal with the problem, all of which bypass making physical contact with the animal. You could use a cage trap with bait to capture the animal. You could pick up a broom and shoot it out of your house. You could employ less good tactics and employ leg traps or kill traps to get the job done (though you shouldn’t opt for these ways). Even if you wanted to be physically involved in the capture process, you could use a snare pole to catch the opossum without ever having to touch it. But for those of you who’re still curious as to HOW you can catch an opossum with your hands, read on.

“Bare” hands? No.
You shouldn’t touch a wild animal with your bare hands, opossum or otherwise. They carry a multitude of germs and parasites, all of which would leap for a chance to give you the nastiest of infections and diseases. If you’re dead set on catching a possum with your hands, you need to wear thick gloves that cover a large portion of your arm. The animal may have been docile in the past. That doesn’t mean it’ll never attack if it feels threatened.

It’s all in the technique
Catching a possum with your hands takes a little technique and even a little misdirection. The best place to grab hold of the opossum is its tail, not its body as your first impulse would dictate. Just distract the animal by waving one hand in its face and quickly grab its tail with the other hand. Once the tail is secure in your hand, use it to lift the animal up and carry it out, all the while keeping it away from the rest of your body.

Why it’d be better to keep your distance
You’re putting yourself in needless risk. True, you’re wearing gloves, but an animal dangling by its tail is pretty desperate and may attack suddenly, scratching your face if it's able to get out of your grip. And you don’t need to; there are so many safer ways to deal with the problem!

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