False publication: no, opossums will not eradicate Lyme disease

False publication: no, opossums will not eradicate Lyme disease
False publication: no, opossums will not eradicate Lyme disease

A veterinarian says opossums won’t help us in our fight against Lyme disease, even if they eat ticks.

A false publication that went viral on Facebook in the name of the Chambly Hospital falsely asserted that opossums were “specialists in the eradication of ticks” and that they thus became an “ally[s] size of our pets.

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“It does indeed eat ticks, because it does not tolerate the presence of ticks on its skin, but in reality it is not going to help us fight Lyme disease, it is not resistant either, it’s just that “it is not conducive to having it because it quickly gets rid of its ticks,” said veterinarian Claudia Gilbert, in an interview on the show The Balance Sheet.

This little marsupial has been found in Quebec for several years. It comes more from southern Quebec and the United States, but with climate change, we see it moving back into the province, and it is now established mainly on the South Shore of Montreal and in Montérégie.

“It’s a marsupial, we can compare it to a koala or a kangaroo, it’s a pouched animal, it doesn’t hibernate and it still needs a certain climate suited to it, it’s that’s why slowly, with climate change, we are seeing more and more of them,” explained the veterinarian.

Even if this small animal is harmless, it remains a wild animal and it is important to stay away from it, warned Mme Gilbert.

“It’s an animal that is still shy and harmless, on the other hand it’s a wild animal, we don’t want to try to catch one and try to tame it to keep it in our house. Social media does this a lot and it’s very harmful to wild animals,” she continued.

The opossum still has 50 teeth, eight more than the dog, and could bite if attacked, she warned.

Although it is not considered a pest, this animal is opportunistic and can find itself going through our trash. Because he is fearful, he often pretends to be dead, sometimes for six hours.

He is also quite vulnerable. “It’s clumsy and can get hit by a car, so you have to be careful,” warned Mme Gilbert.



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