State biologists are continuing their efforts in Homer to catch offspring of Grubby the opossum, with three more members of her litter captured as of Tuesday.
But to the chagrin of area biologists and the Department of Fish and Game, Grubby made landfall carrying offspring.
Jason Herreman, with the Department of Fish and Game, said a male opossum three to four months old was captured near Homer City Hall on Thursday. As of Tuesday morning, a fourth young opossum — another male — had been captured and at least one more remained at large.
Herreman said the small marsupials, referred to as joeys, will be out foraging for food and shelter.
“They’re going to try to find food sources, and places with shelter,” Herreman said. “Shelter areas will be under houses, sheds, any kind of little hole where they can make a burrow. And then food sources, where people have trash outside, if they leave pet food out. Basically, anything that an omnivore could eat. These guys are really generous in their diet.”
In addition to the risk of spreading diseases as an invasive species, opossums’ indiscriminate hunting and foraging methods pose a risk to local wildlife. Herreman said nesting birds, rodents, and even frogs are a possible food source.
“So you think of the small mammals we have, like our redback voles, our shrews, some of our ermine that are smaller in size, they can compete for space and food and prey on some of these things,” Herreman said.
The search in Homer is currently focused an area between Ulmer’s Drug & Hardware and City Hall, extending down to the local Safeway store. Pet owners should keep animals indoors during the live trapping efforts to capture the young opossums.
Fish and Game is asking the community for help in locating any remaining joeys. Herreman says they may transfer diseases to people who get too close and recommends people keep an eye on it and call their office at 907-235-8191 and Homer police at 907-235-3150 after business hours.