Pest & Wildlife Animal Information

Opossums

Opossums are very adaptable animals, meaning they go with the flow and can find food and shelter just about anywhere, including heavily populated areas. In an attempt to seek food and shelter, opossums find a way into homes, sheds, and other buildings in rural areas. When this happens it becomes a huge problem that needs to be remedied immediately by calling in an opossum trapping and removal service company. If not properly and timely dealt with, opossums can become a much bigger problem.

Habitat

Being very adaptable, an opossum is able to make its home in a variety of environments, including both urban populations and wooded areas. In wooded areas, this animal likes to make its nest in tree hollows and in rotted logs. In more urban environments, the opossum makes its home in sheds, attics, barns and under patios. For the most part, they scavenge off of dead animals, but will eat whatever they can find.

Damage

Opossums leave a huge wake of damage behind them. Once they gain access into a home, these animals chew on just about anything they can find. This destroys electrical wiring, air conditioning duct work, and drywall. The damage in the walls, crawl spaces, attics, and in garages can be very costly to repair. Removal and repairs will be costly, but might also be covered under a homeowners insurance plan. Contact the insurance company to see if any repairs associated with an opossum is covered.

Health concerns

When opossums seek shelter in a home they leave behind feces and urine on wood and insulation. Opossum urine and feces has a strong smell that can be very repulsive. In addition to smelling terrible, the aroma can have negative health effects on humans and domesticated animals if inhaled. Sometimes opossums, especially young ones, fall between wall spaces and cannot get out. If not found they die, decompose, and cause an even greater stench in the home. This not only smells bad, but can have negative effects on the health of those residing in the home

These critters are often covered in parasites and carry a variety of diseases dangerous to humans. Opossums are the largest carriers of cat fleas, which carry multiple diseases. If threatened, opossums can bite and transfer diseases to humans and other animals. The bite can also get infected, which can be painful and require medical treatment.

Diseases

Though not common, an opossum can become rabid and is known to bite when backed in a corner or feeling threatened. They are more likely to carry diseases such as tuberculosis, spotted fever, and leptospirosis than carry rabies. An opossum may also be infested with fleas, ticks, mites, and lice, which are all known to carry diseases of their own that are dangerous to humans.

Problems

When an opossum enters the home it causes a variety of problems for homeowners. It causes damage to structures as it breaks into attics to set up its nest. They have been known to crawl under sheds, porches, and decks to build their nests. If available, an opossum eats garbage, pet food, and bird seed when left unattended or properly closed. They leave behind feces in pools, in sandboxes, on porches, and throughout the yard. The urine of an opossum can damage wood and other materials. There is also the fear of an opossum biting a human or family pet.

Detection

Many homeowners know their property has been invaded by an opossum because they see it hanging around and entering the home. Other signs an opossum is living in the home include seeing feces and urine stains in crawl spaces, in attics, and other areas throughout the home. Some report hearing strange scratching noises, odd noises, and rustling coming from the attic. Holes chewed in air conditioning ducts, gnawed wiring, and holes in the walls are other signs an opossum has entered the home.

Removal

Trapping is the most effective and humane way to remove an opossum from a home. This requires a skill most homeowners may not possess. Hiring an opossum trapping and removal service company will get the job done and help reduce the chances of the opossum returning. Experienced trappers are trained and experienced in the best ways to trap and relocate opossums to areas where they are less likely to invade a building or affect humans.

Cleaning up

When dealing with an opossum entering the home it is important to think bigger than just removing the animal. Homeowners must consider how the animal entered the home in the first place and fix that to prevent future occurrences. This may include filling holes under concrete, sealing holes in walls, and closing all doors (including pet doors) to the home. Once the animal is removed, it is imperative to clean up yards, reduce clutter, remove brush piles, put lids on garbage cans, and remove pet food. If there are fruit trees in the yard, pick up fallen fruit immediately. If there is nothing there for the opossum to eat or build its nest, it will move on until it finds what it needs.

Decontamination

Upon removing an opossum from the property it is necessary to decontaminate any areas the animal was living in. This helps sanitize and eliminate the smell left behind by the opossum. The decontamination process includes removing all droppings and anything soiled by urine. It is best to have a professional cleaning service that specializes in post-animal contamination cleaning to fog the attic with an enzyme cleaner. This destroys all organic matter as it deodorizes the area.

If something cannot be decontaminated or it was severely damaged, it must be removed and replaced. This includes insulation, ductwork, wires, and pipes destroyed by the animal. Removal and replacement of these items must be completed during the decontamination to prevent recontaminating the area.

Hiring a professional

Don’t waste the time and money trying to trap and remove an opossum. Hire a company that guarantees their work, helps clean up and repair damage caused by the animal, and helps fix the home to prevent future invasions by another opossum. Before hiring a professional trapper to help ensure they are licensed, insured, and have experience with trapping and relocating opossums. Also ask about any guarantees and if follow up services are included in the initial service contract.

Opossum trapping and cleaning service companies are there to help ease the pain of dealing with these critters. Trained trappers come in, assess the situation, and create a plan to humanely remove and relocate the animal. Do not hesitate calling for help. This will remedy the situation quickly and reduce the chances of the animal causing even greater damage to the home.

 

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