As the only marsupial species living in North America, Opossums may seem very strange, but they are mostly harmless. Like kangaroos and other marsupials, they carry their young in a pouch on their body instead if inside a womb.
Opossums are attracted to unkept trash cans, compost heaps, and other malodorous and unsanitary things. They can carry and transmit a number of diseases such as:
Never handle opossums directly. Despite the fact that they are fairly passive, they will bite if they feel threatened. They are known to play dead when frightened. So you should never handle one even if it appears to have died.
How to Get Rid of Opossums
Depending on your situation, there are a number of viable ways to get rid of opossums. Opossums can be frightened away, driven away through a lack of access to food, and they can be trapped.
Frightening Opossums Away
Opossums have a strong sense of smell and can be deterred by the smell of animals they fear. Collecting the hair of cats or dogs during brushing and distributing the hair around areas where you wish to deter opossums is effective. Opossums recognize cats and dogs as predator animals and will avoid any area where they detect them.
Note: Please do not encourage your pets to actively pursue opossums as they can be dangerous and spread disease.
Other potent smells like garlic and ammonia are a strong deterrent to opossums. A clove of crushed garlic or a rag soaked in ammonia, placed strategically, will repel the animals.
Chemical repellents are another option. There are many effective products on the market designed to repel opossums.
Remove Access to Food
Opossums are attracted to homes and yards where food is plentiful. If you are leaving food out for stray cats or other animals, there is a good chance that is what is attracting the opossums. While this is motivated by kindness, it increases the likelihood that the animals you intend to feed will get into a fight with the opossums.
Another food source opossums are attracted to is trash receptacles. Buy trash cans with locking lids or secure them with a chain or bungee cord. You can prevent the animals from tipping the cans over by using an enclosure or securing the can to a stake in the ground.
Finally, feed and water your pets indoors. Opossums love cat food, and they will eat it if they get a chance. They also like grain, fallen fruit, birdseed, and compost.
These animals can be captured using live-holding cage traps. This is a good option if the animals are accessing vents or crawl spaces. Traps that kill may be prohibited in your area and may harm animals you do not intend to harm. By setting traps out at night, placing them in areas where the opossums are gathering, and using the correct types of bait, you optimize your chance of catching the opossum and not a neighborhood cat.
Monitor your traps daily and remove captured animals promptly. If you intend to release the animal elsewhere, it’s important to use caution when handling a captured opossum. Use thick rubber gloves while handling a cage with an animal inside. Point the cage opening away from yourself when opening it.
It’s important to know your local laws and regulations regarding the handling and treatment of opossums.
Keeping Opossums Out
Any entryway, such as foundation vents, should be covered with a metal grate. Keep tree branches and other climbable foliage five feet away from the edges of roofs. Close off the undersides of decks and other raised structures. Ground barriers should go at least one foot into the ground.
Defer to the Opossum Removal Experts
If you have any doubts about your ability to handle opossums or questions about local regulations, it’s always best to consult the experts first.
Get in touch today to learn more about our opossum removal services.