I find this a little odd, since opossums are quite ubiquitous throughout the warmer parts of the U.S. But they are also very shy and quiet; many people have never even seen one, despite the fact that they have probably stood within three feet of one on any given night of the year!
I'm a bit biased of course, having cared for hundreds of these odd
marsupials when I worked at the California Wildlife Center as a vet tech. I loved treating them. Nothing this side of baby tapirs is cuter than a tiny fuzzy baby opossum. Many people find them ugly as adults, with their myriad sharp teeth and naked tails, but they are really quite docile. I've been bitten by everything from squirrels to monkeys, and I can safely say that opossum go out of their way to spare your flesh.
In fact, there are really only two thing that they love to bite: mice and rats. Forget cats as rodent control. Your friendly neighborhood opossum has that job well in hand! They are not obligate carnivores though, and will happily clean up any fallen fruit or old cat food you have lying around your yard. They will even slurp up the snails and slugs that plague your garden! And like the kitchen fairies we all wish we had to do the dishes while we sleep, opossums render their services under cover of darkness. So spare a thought for your quiet neighbors. They really have your best interests at heart.
Want to find out more? Go to the Opossum Society to learn all there is to know about opossums!