It is my goal to educate the public about opossums and other wildlife, and
provide tips for safe, effective, and responsible wildlife removal.
Summary of Step-By-Step Instructions if OUTSIDE:
|HUMANE HINTS: In some cases you can resolve a possum problem without trapping the animal - for example, you can eliminate whatever is attracting the opossum to your property - garbage,
pet food, etc. If you use a cage trap, be sure to set it in the shade and relocate
the opossum as soon as possible. Never attempt to poison opossums. Unfortunately, there are no effective or registered opossum repellents. Read below for how-to hints.
Purchase large cage traps - rated raccoon size, usually about 10" x 12" x 30" or so.
Set traps and bait with marshmallows, or, if stray cats are not a problem in the area, cat food works as well. Make sure traps are scent-free and flush to the ground, and set in the shade.
Relocate any trapped opossum at least 10 miles from capture site.
If you have opossums living under a deck, shed, or other structure, install an exclusion barrier - steel mesh around the perimeter, and down at least 12 into the ground, with bottom of mesh sloping outward.
Summary of Step-By-Step Instructions If IN THE ATTIC:
Inspect the house to find out how they are getting inside - likely somewhere on the roof, or eaves.
Search inside the attic, you might find the adult(s). You can actually snare or grab them in the attic.
You can actually set traps inside the attic, if you wish, but you must check them frequently. It might be better to set traps outside, on the roof near the entry hole, or better yet, to set one-way exclusion doors on the hole.
If you've trapped a possum, it might have young clinging to it, and relocate them all together, at least 10 miles from capture site.
Repair the entry hole and clean and decontaminate the opossum feces out of the attic.
If you need possum help click my Nationwide List of Opossum Removal Experts for a pro near you.
How to Get Rid of Opossums - The best method is to trap and remove opossums in large cage traps. If you have possums living in an attic, they can be excluded via one-way exclusion doors, but cage traps also work in this case. The traps can be set in the attic or on the roof, and
either way, you need to check the traps frequently so that the animal does not suffer. Read more information about opossum trapping
here. If the possum is living under a shed or porch or deck, then after you trap and remove it, you ought to install an exclusion barrier.
The opossum is the only marsupial that is native to the Americas. While it once originated in South America, the opossum is now making its home in areas all the way up in Canada. The opossum is easy to identify because it is unlike any other animal in North America. It is about the same size as a large house cat and has a white face, brown body and a long hairless pink tail. It is a common animal to see in garbage bins, alongside highways and in your backyard, which is the last place that you want it to be.
Opossums are nuisances and can damage your yard and your home. Opossums are very food driven and if they think they can score a meal from your house or yard they are sure to come back again and again to ravage your garden, garbage and house. Opossums make a huge mess when they have found accessible garbage cans; they will also eat your pet's food and break into your house
or under your house. They will find the smallest of holes and chew them bigger until they can fit into them. Popular places that opossums will take up residence include your garage, attic and under the porch. They
like to live in attics, and will rip up the insulation in your walls and attic, chew on wires and will most likely die in your house which causes a biohazard to you and your family. Even if they are outside, opossums carry harmful bacteria and germs under their claws and in their mouths, so if they bite your pet, they can transfer diseases like rabies to them.
Getting rid of opossums is much more difficult than you would think as some methods simply do not work on them. For example, if you thing that you can use coyote or fox urine to deter opossums from coming around you are sorely mistaken and will spend money on expensive devices and chemical that won't do anything. Other devices like ultrasonic sound emitters also do not work on opossums.
Read about how to keep opossum away
- prevention techniques.
However, you probably want to know what does work on getting rid of these pesky critters. The first thing that you should do is call your local animal control office, the state fish and game department or your local branch of the department of agriculture. Different states have different rules for how you should go about ridding your property of opossums. Furthermore, these offices will sometimes offer free services or can lend you live traps.
The most common and safest way to get rid of opossums is to trap them. There are many cheap and effective traps that you can pick up at hardware stores or in some of the offices listed above. The next thing you will want to do is to bait the trap with something they like to eat. You can bait that trap with things like tomatoes, melons, grapes, bananas and apples. You must set the traps at night and close them during the day because opossums are only active at night and if you leave the trap open during the day you will only catch squirrels or cats.
Once you have trapped the critter you will have to relocate them into a local wooded area that is at least ten miles away from your own house, otherwise they will come back. After you have relocated the opossum you must take the steps to prevent them from coming back such as securing your garbage cans, patching the holes that they made to get into your house and keeping your pet's food inside. If you take these steps to get rid of opossums you will not have any problem keeping them out of your house and out of your yard.
More in-detail how-to opossum removal articles:
Information about how to kill an opossum
- with poison or other methods.
Information about how to catch an opossum
- remove one stuck in the house.
Information about opossum repellent
- analysis of types and effectiveness.
Read about What Bait To Use For Opossum Traps
Opossum Information & Facts
Virginia Opossum Appearance:
Opossums can vary in size from two to four feet from the nose to the end of the tail. This drastic size range is complimented by an equally drastic weight range of between one and fifteen pounds. Silver and black in color, these animals have a hairless tail which can be used with some dexterity to grasp branches and other objects. The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial in North America, and as such, it has a bodily pouch used to transport and protect offspring. This animal also has opposable thumbs on the rear feet, an adaptation that allows maneuverability in trees.
Opossum Habitat and Behavior:
A nomadic creature, opossums tend to travel where food is most plentiful. An animal that seeks shelter off the ground, these marsupials are mostly at home in trees, though a human dwelling will suit them fine. Opossums are native to deciduous forests but will travel into urban areas to feed off human garbage and pet food. Though they rarely make permanent homes, an opossum will stay in an area as long as a food source is abundant.
A main characteristic of the Virginia opossum is its ability to feign a state of death. A defense mechanism, this ability occurs when the animal feels threatened. The false death state is not a controllable response, but more of an involuntary reaction to specific stimuli. An opossum in this state can remain comatose for up to four hours. While unconscious, the animal will emit a foul odor from the anal glands inside the rectum. This odor, combined with an opened-mouth grimace, portrays an accurate and believable visual of death.
Opossums can have up to three litters a year, breeding during the months of late fall and early winter. Infant marsupials must climb into their mother's pouch for continuation of development. This pouch not only provides protection and further development, it will facilitate nutrient and waste transfer for a short period of time. Most opossum pouches are really just thick skin folds, and some opossums do not have them at all. Young born to a mother with little or no pouch will secure themselves to her teats for the duration of time that would have been spent inside a pouch. When the opossums are old enough, they climb onto the mother's back and eventually detach at the time of weaning.
Opossums are omnivores and eat a variety of invertebrates as well as small mammals such as mice. These animals will scavenge human garbage and will also dig up roots and bulbs. An opportunistic feeder, opossums will consume a large variety of edible matter, though they tend to be partial to snails.
Opossum Nuisance Concerns:
Opossums are generally wandering feeders, though they can initiate conflict with humans when the animal moves in to an attic or under a porch. Opossums are also drawn to pet food, and this love of domestic fare can create fighting with the household pets. An opossum in the home can be very unsanitary. The animals leave large piles of waste throughout the entire area they inhabit.
Virginia Opossum Diseases:
The Virginia opossum is remarkably resistant to many diseases found in the animal population of North America. Rabies, for example, rarely infects this marsupial, a fact widely contributed to the animal's low body temperature. Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection common in the wild population is one disease opossums have been identified as carriers of, though this is infrequent. External parasite on the opossum may spread secondary diseases, like typhus or Lyme disease.
This site is intended to provide opossum education and information, so that you can make an informed decision
if you need to deal with a opossum problem. This site provides many opossum control articles and strategies, if
you wish to attempt to solve the problem yourself. If you are unable to do so, which is likely with many
cases of opossum removal, please go to the home page and click the USA map, where I have wildlife removal experts
listed in over 500 cites and towns, who can properly help you with your nuisance opossum.
Other opossum educational topics:
What Kind of Damage Do Opossums Cause?
Do opossums climb trees or live in trees?
Do Possums attack cats, dogs or other pets?