It turns out that opossums are pretty effective at getting rid of ticks. Researchers found that opossums eat or remove up to 96% of the ticks that land on them, which is pretty impressive. And even better- opossums have immune systems that are really good at fighting off Lyme disease, so ticks are less likely to contract and spread the disease after biting an opossum.
Opossums are really interesting animals. In research applications, laboratory opossums have been extremely useful models for diseases, including melanoma, HIV, heart disease, and comparative genetics. If wild opossums can help researchers understand Lyme disease and possibly come up with new approaches for minimizing exposure to humans or limiting disease spread in the wild, I’m definitely a fan of these guys! Read more about this research here.