Maybe you've seen the meme floating around Facebook. It says opossums are really good to have around - even if they do look like giant rats. But is it true?

If you live in Central New York, you know ticks are a serious problem. They're probably living in your backyard right now - ready to pounce on an unprotected pet, or an uncovered leg.

A meme that's floating around Facebook right now says opposums are really beneficial animals - and that, in fact, the chow down on so many ticks, you want to make sure they're around.

Do Opossums Really Eat Ticks?

We went straight to the source for all things internet: Snopes.com.

Turns out - those funny looking critters do eat a LOT of ticks. In fact, according to a study conducted by the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and published by NewTimes.com - opossums kill up to 5,000 ticks a season - by swallowing them as they groom themselves. (EW!) They extrapolate that by eating all those ticks - opossums could actually be protecting humans form getting Lyme disease.

So, the next time you see an opposum slowly making its way across the road - give it a little room - it's got a lot of ticks to eat.

Here are some more cool facts about opposums: