For better tick control, begin with nature

Mama opossum nestled in a hollow log with babies.

Question: What animals below prey on tick-carrying white-footed mice and other tick-carriers?

A. Owls, hawks, and other birds of prey

B. Foxes, bobcats, fishers

C. snakes

D. opossums

E. all of the above

The answer is E. All these animals indirectly reduce tick populations by consuming rodents. (Yes, even opossums.) Yet we often have mixed emotions about wildlife. 

For instance, bobcats, fishers and foxes hunt animals most of us would rather not have in our gardens, garages and garbage cans, such as skunks, raccoons, and rabbits. At the same time, we might also fear encounters between bobcats, foxes or fishers with our cats and small dogs.

For those of us who keep chickens, opossums are not usually welcome visitors. Though not aggressive, are fond of bird eggs. Chicken-keepers may not think the opossum's role as a consumer of both ticks and mice outweighs the loss of eggs. 

“Nothing is simple,” says Peter Picone, a wildlife biologist with DEEP, “but with a little education, we can learn how to live with wildlife peacefully.”

Learn more about owls, hawks, foxes, bobcats, fishers, snakes, and oppossums in my latest article at The Day community media. 

Thanks to A Place Called Hope Raptor Rescue for the screech owl photo. 

Thanks to Ferncroft Wildlife Rescue, an opossum specialist, for the opossum photo.