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How to Get Rid of Opossums

Most people will classify opossums as pests since they tend to live in attics or under homes and scavenge food from whatever humans leave behind. Whether opossums are in your attic, under your deck, or just causing a general nuisance with your pets, it is possible to get rid of them.

  • 1. Opossums will steal pet food and garbage, cause distress to pets, and potentially spread fleas, making them a nuisance.
  • 2. Trapping and relocation is the most effective method of dealing with an opossum.
  • 3. Due to the complexity of wildlife and potential local regulations, it is best to have a wildlife professional trap the opossum for you.
  • 4. There is no risk of opossums carrying rabies since their body temperature is too low for the virus to survive.
  • 5. Possums can be found in the attic or walls or underneath homes as well as in the basement.
  • 6. You will not find an effective registered repellent for use against possums.
  • 7. Never use poison to try to kill an opossum as there are no registered ones and you may kill another animal by accident.


Why Poison Is Not The Answer
If you want to get rid of opossums and are getting desperate, you may be tempted to turn to poison, but this should never happen. There isn’t a registered poison that will effectively kill opossums. Even if you do try something else, there is no guarantee it will work and a very high risk that it will kill another animal like a local cat or dog instead. If you do manage to kill the possum with a poison designed for another animal, you will be treating it to a painful and inhumane death. In the case of possums in your home, you will then have to remove a dead animal from your home, causing a completely different set of problems.

Be Cautious With Possum Repellents
You are more than welcome to try to get rid of possums by using repellents, but you should not expect any positive results. This is true no matter the type of repellent you try, including mothballs, coyote urine, ultrasonic sound machines, or ammonia. Store bought products can cost a fair amount of money, but even the more expensive ones simply won’t work. Possums either don’t care about the repellents you use or even like the smell of them, so you are simply wasting time and money trying a repellent.

Trapping Possums Is The Answer
As mentioned, the most effective method of getting rid of a possum is to trap it and then remove it. Before doing this, however, you need to confirm whether baby possums are present and be sure you know how many animals you are dealing with. Before trapping, always check your local regulations as not all areas allow you to trap possums while others only let those with a license do so and yet others will place restrictions on what you can do with them after catching the animal.

When choosing your trap, opt for a live cage trap made of steel that is a minimum of 32 by 10 by 12 inches. Always choose a flat spot for the trap so it won’t wobble and opt for a shady location so the possum won’t be exposed to severe heat. The good news when it comes to bait is that opossums are scavengers so they will be attracted to nearly any bait you use. That being said, if there are any stray cats or outdoor cats in your neighborhood, you should definitely avoid something those animals would like. Instead, opt for marshmallows or bread. If you are positive there are no cats around, go with a meat-based option instead, even something like wet cat food.

Even though you placed the trap in the shade, be sure to check it regularly so the possum doesn’t suffer unnecessarily. Always take care handling the trap, including never putting your fingers inside it. Place newspaper or a tarp on the trunk of your car or your truck bed before putting down the cage since the possum is likely to go to the bathroom. After driving to your destination, you may need to encourage the possum to leave the cage by blowing on it or spraying a bit of water.

Why Hiring A Professional Is The Best Choice
Realistically, it is just a smarter decision to leave trapping and removing possums to the professionals. They will not only handle the actual trapping and relocation for you, but they will be aware of any local regulations you need to follow. They can also let you know what attracted the possums to your home in the first place and give you advice to keep them away in the future, something that will definitely come in handy. Of course, hiring a professional also means that you have no risk of being bitten by a possum.



The opossum is a nocturnal animal, marsupial to be precise, and is usually seen at night, often when crossing the road in front of a car. Therefore, if you see one in the evening in your yard, coming from the direction of your house, you may want to inspect your attic or check underneath your porch. If you have a shed in your back yard, you may want to investigate if something is living under there, as well. Whether you want them removed from your attic because they are a nuisance or from your yard because they are causing your dog much frustration, opossums are not easily displaced.

Possums will eat just about anything, including garbage. They will also eat baby birds, which may be one reason for someone not to want opossums around their property. They have a strong, bad odor about them and many people just do not like the way they look. They are messy, tear into garbage and strew it around. If they live in your garage or shed or attic, they will leave a mess that smells just terrible. If that's not reason enough to want to be rid of them, consider the fact that when they have babies, they have up to thirteen at a time, which significantly increases the opossum population on your property.

Thirteen offspring will leave lots and lots of excrements to deal with. These Opossums could leave a couple of pounds of feces behind each day. These feces are large and contain lots of bacteria and fungi and spores. That is definitely not conducive to having children playing in the yard and perhaps falling onto such a mess of droppings. The bacteria in these droppings can cause respiratory problems among other health concerns.

What Can You Do To Prevent Opossums From Moving Onto Your Property

Since opossums are feeders that seize the opportunity when it presents itself, they are not shy about eating the dog's dinner if it is in the bowl outside of the kitchen door. Any bird feeders in the vicinity should be removed totally or moved a distance away from the house. An opossum will eat from the garbage can, making a dirty mess around your house. It is omnivorous and so long as there is food left outside, it will find it.

Any brush pile in your yard will serve as framework for a shelter for the opossum family. If one opossum can wreak havoc with your garden, your trash cans, your bird feeders, just think what will happen when they reproduce.

Repellents: Spray bottles with animal repellent are said to work but no support for this has been reported anywhere. Mothballs do not do anything to repel the opossum. Some advocate the use of strong lamps, making the opossum think its day time instead of night, thereby driving him away. None of those methods are very effective, however.

Techniques And Exclusion: Catching these fellows in cages is the most effective method to displace them from your property. They are not hard to lure into a cage since they eat everything. There are state laws that may not permit private citizens to capture and cage their own opossums, unless they have a license to do so. Once in the cage, it is the best to take possum several miles away from your property so that it can live where it doesn't cause anyone any problems.

Exclusion may be used to keep them from going underneath sheds and porches, after they have been routed out from there. The same applies to the roof and chimneys. Exclusion caps will prevent opossums from climbing down the chimney.