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Possums aren't usually dangerous animals, but many people run into various problems with opossums due to their scavenging and opportunistic behavior. Opossums turn up in many unwanted areas, such as in sheds, under decks, in attics, and in the below photo, inside a dog house. Read the below email for more information on this exciting story:
Common Possum Problems:
- Raiding the garbage cans.
- Endangering pets.
- Stealing pet food.
- Living under a shed or deck.
- Living inside an attic or wall.
- Living under the house or basement.
- Living under a trailer or mobile home.
- Dying on the property.
- Dying in the walls or attic.
- Spreading fleas to pets.
- Spreading feces on property or in attic.
You may want to read some of my other opossum articles: possum removal - opossums in the attic - photos of possum poop - types of possum problems - possum trapping - how to catch a possum - pest control of possums - possum in the wall - possum in the house - possum in basement - possum repellent - types of possum damage - what is the opossum's diet? - how to remove opossums from the garden.
How to Get Rid of Opossums in the Yard
Getting rid of opossums in the yard is not an easy task. These animals are not picky when it comes to hunting food and scavenging. Make sure all lids on the trash cans outside are secured as tightly as possible. Trash cans with side locks work best. Smelly as it may be, fox urine placed in the yard may help to deter them. Predator’s urine may sometimes help in discouraging the opossum, especially if it is a mother with babies, from taking up residence in the area; however, it is likely that they will also figure out in some time that there isn’t a danger and return to set up housekeeping again. Some people like to use ammonia to try to keep the opossums away by saturating rags in the chemical and placing them around the yard and perimeters. These homemade methods may work for a short time; however, it is likely that they will only be a short term fix. The best way is to capture the opossum in a live trap so that they can safely and harmlessly be relocated to another area where they can continue to survive; just not in your yard.
How to get Rid of Opossums in the Home
Opossums do not like light since they are nocturnal so they become active as the sun goes down. Call the Humane Society and get one of the traps and make sure to ask about the local laws for tapping wildlife. Bait the trap with basically anything. Opossums are scavengers and not too picky about their food. Remember, they do tend to carry many diseases and bacteria so wear gloves and use caution when capturing and dealing with these animals. If you know where they are entering the home, try and close off their entry point. Using steel wool to cover the hole is always great. Chewing on the steel tears their gums and keeps them from chewing. Stuf-fit is a copper mesh that also works well. Make sure you search the home really well for those babies. Get rid of their food source by making sure the trash cans have lids that are sealed tightly. Do not leave scraps and other foods such as bird seed around for them to get to. Live traps are the best method so that you can safely capture the opossum and have them relocated to an environment that will allow them to survive without creating problems in your home.
How to Get Rid of Opossums in Your Crawl Spaces
Getting rid of opossums in your crawl space is not easy since you have limited space to work with. Keep in mind these animals are nocturnal so they do not like light. If possible, make sure there is plenty of light getting into the space. During winter some people will use lights under the home but I caution you to this. Depending on what light you use, it may get too hot. Home fires are very common in winter months. You can use the moth ball approach but once again the fumes can come through the air conditioning unit so be very cautious on this also. Place only a few around if you want to try this approach. Try calling local Humane Society for a trap and ask about local wildlife trapping laws. If your area allows capture and release, then this is the best and most humane way to get rid of opossums in your crawl space. They can be baited with just about any kind of food since opossums like most everything and then once captured, they can be taken away to a place where they can make a new home and survive.
I got the below email about a possum problem in a dog house:
Love your website. I could read for hours - great stories and sense of humor. Seems like you truly enjoy your work and respect the critters. I've found that my labrador has been hosting a house guest lately. Very brave opossum found the gourmet food, water and heat lamp as shelter from the mid-north Indiana winter. Great tips - and I have been removing it by it's tail. To the horror of my girlfriends and co-workers. Hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. If it keeps returning, I'll have to give someone a call. I'm bookmarking this site and sending it on to others - I have some friends in your area of Florida too! Thanks for what you do and a fantastic website!
Jamie, thanks for the kind words! Do you have a way of keeping out that opossum permanently? If not, you can either relocate it a few miles away, or wait for it to move on. Opossums tend to be nomadic, except in the winter, when they den up at times. - David
My dog has 2000 sq. ft. of fenced-in area with the dog house in the middle. So either it's climbing the fence or possibly a tree and "jumping" inside. Can't find where it's getting in under the fence. Just couldn't believe my dog was still IN the dog house when I found the opossum inside with her at 8p on Thursday (first sighting but who knows how long this has been going on)! Scared the crap out of me when I lifted the flap! "Oh, good to see you're here with some more food!" It's been comical as it doesn't seem scared at all. Abbey's almost 14 and may have been asleep when it slipped in. She did bark to alert me at 2a this morning so I think she gets it. The attached picture is from today - I assume they look just the same as the southern variety. I have Indian Runner ducks that my daughter shows in 4-H and they are couped up whenever it's below freezing and always at night. That will be my next concern if this little thing doesn't leave soon. We have all the area wildlife passing through so I gather eggs daily, have an enclosed run, and try not to have food outside. AND have a DOG! There are plenty of other wooded areas near me so I'm sure I can find another safe spot. It would be my luck that it's a female that decides she wants to stay a while with some babies. It would be hard for me to kick her out. Thanks for the response. Good luck out there!
Wow, you are host to quite a lot of critters! Don't worry if an opossum has young. They grow in the pouch and stay with mom, and she usually remains somewhat nomadic. As the young get too big, they drop off and can fend for themselves.
Oh, the only critters around here are opossums, raccoons, white-tailed deer, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, skunk (I like the smell too and always wanted one as a pet), coyote, fox, owls (great horned owl got one of my ducks last fall so they're on my short hit list), turkey vultures, snakes, stray cats, mice, moles, voles, groundhogs (they want under my house), bats, and I'm sure others I've forgotten or haven't seen personally out my window. Lots of hummingbirds in summer. I live near the Wabash River so there are otter and beaver there too. My grandfather used to drop off nests of orphaned babies that needed bottle-fed when I was little so it's all his fault. He lived down the road on a farm and had to have at least one of everything besides the horses, cows, pigs, and poultry. We raised bunnies, raccoons, opossum (they do hang from your fingers and are so cute). I have no idea if there were wildlife rescues here then nor did I know it was illegal to help them out at the time (1970's). You saying that the young opossum drop off put to mind them jumping ship, stepping off a trolley or a covered wagon while the mom just waddles along. The fruit is ripe! Nature is amazing. How do you think of those rhymes and stories? The one about the baby opossum was fantastic. Merry possum band. And the little man in the tree. Do you go to schools or camps and talk to kids about animals? You would be great. You should write a book. Really!
Well, thanks again for the kind words! You sure do have a lot of wildlife on your property. I didn't think anyone read my website, and I was often careless when I wrote poems and stories, but it's nice that you like them. Have a great day, David