They're gross, they're ugly, they're good for you? I have hated opossums for years and years. Their nightmare teeth, bald tail, and that hiss they make just creep me out. The babies hanging on them just add to the gross factor. This was until I ran across an article talking about how great they are as pets.

They're unique in the fact that they are America's only marsupial. The babies are born and immediately run right into their mother's pouch. In the pouch, they nurse like kangaroos and hang out until they get big enough to go and hang out on mom's back.

The gross part is that they do secrete a substance from their butt to defend themselves against predators, all while playing dead. Think of it this way, they are protecting your investment. A predator goes to eat your little pet, a little butt juice secretes out, and the predator runs away! Some of us have the same defense mechanism after eating Taco Bell.

Got a yard full of ticks? We all know that ticks carry and spread Lyme disease. Introducing: the possum. The National Wildlife Federation claims that opossums eat up to 5000 ticks per tick season, thus controlling the spread of the disease. So, even if you don't have one as a pet, maybe just let them visit your yard a few times for a tick version of the Golden Coral.

They also feast on snakes. Opossums are immune to most snakes except for the coral snake. They have come in handy with research dealing with anti-venom. Scientists found a chemical they produce that allows test mice to be immune to rattlesnake venom.

The other bonus, besides having a place for their babies, of marsupials is that they inherently have lower body temperatures. This means the common thought most of us have that they carry rabies is false. Although there have been a few rare cases of the pouched backyard friend having the disease, it is extremely rare. Told you opossums were cool!

When they aren't playing dead, they are constantly grooming themselves. They don't have sweat glands, so to stay cool, they lick and clean themselves naturally. This makes them odorless. I think I will just take the science's word for it, as I don't plan on sniffing an opossum any time soon.

There you have it. Even if you don't let your new pet cuddle up on the couch with you, maybe think twice before trying to get rid of them from your yard or property.

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