In North America, opossums are the only marsupials. Their young grow outside a womb inside a placenta, similar to other marsupials, rather than inside an uterus.
They’re omnivores that can eat anything they want. They can, however, become bothersome creatures in urban areas or even in communities where they forage through trash bins if they have successfully adapted to human environments.
Opossums are sluggish walkers with impaired vision, and this is why they are frequently run over by automobiles despite their adaptability. Nonetheless, while going through trash, they may annoy animals and create a ruckus outside. In your porch, basement, attic, or crawl spaces, they may become a pest problem.
The nose to the tip of the opossum’s tail is around 21 to 36 inches long. They resemble a cat or a small dog in terms of size. Their pointed head and pink nose, as well as their long, hairless tail and pointy ears, are some of their more distinguishing features. There are 50 tiny, pointed teeth in their mouths. On their hind feet, they have opposable thumbs.
The only opossum species indigenous to America, the Virginia Opossum, is also the only one that causes harm in the United States.
How To Identify:
- Ranges from 13 to 22 inches in length
- Fur comes in a variety of colors, from gray to black, with a reddish or brown tone.
- Their coat is covered in white hairs.
- Likes to live near water sources such as ponds, marshes, and drainage ditches.
- Nocturnal and active 24 hours a day, although it limits itself in the winter and spends its time scrounging on the ground or trees.
- From the Deep South to the Carolinas, Starting in the Rockies, then going all the way to Canada and Costa Rica
The Common Opossum (also known as the Southern Opossum) prefers habitats near water like tropical forests, but will also be found close to people in urban areas.
How To Identify:
- Ranges from 10.5” to 17”
- Fur ranges from grey to black, with white hairs interspersed and on their faces
- Found throughout Central and South America from Mexico down to Bolivia
- Nocturnal and active year-round like other opossum species, but less likely than other varieties to be found on trees
Gray Short-tailed Opossum
The gray short-tailed opossum is considered to be more aggressive than other species, especially when they are mating, because of its size and relatively small geography.
- This species’ range is from 4″ to 6″ (far smaller than its cousins).
- Fur is whiter in hue than the rest of the animal kingdom, falling off to white.
- Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay are home to this species.
- Among the vegetation in woodlands and grasslands are habitats.
- It’s tiny enough to enter a home
Opossums Versus Possums
- Possums are only found in Australia, whereas opossums are native to North and South America.
- Possums have longer, hairy tails than opossum, despite the fact that they are named for each other because of their resemblance.
- Possums are generally fluffier, smaller, and have less severe characteristics.
- From January through mid-November, the breeding season is virtually year-round.
- Litter sizes range from six to nine pups.
- The opossum’s pups crawl inside the mother’s pouch after being born 12 days following mating.
- At 60 to 70 days old, they venture out of the maternal pouch and are completely gone in 80 to 90 days.
- During the first three to four months of life, a baby should remain with his or her mother.
- One to two years is the average lifespan of a dog.
Can Opossums Transmit Diseases to People?
When opossums scratch and bite, they can transmit leptospirosis, coccidiosis, tularemia, tuberculosis, and toxoplasmosis. Humans are also at risk for these illnesses due to their contact with feces and urine. Steer clear of one, whether alive or not, because they are known to “play dead.
Why Are There Opossums On My Property?
Opossums will eat just about anything and are scavengers. They’ll gravitate toward uncovered compost heaps and other receptacles that you may have outside, as well as overflowing or stinking trash cans. They prefer damp or near-water habitats to creating their habitat. Opossums are more likely to be seen on your property if you live near a pond, drainage ditch, or sewage.
The signs of an opossum infestation will most likely be heard before you see them, due to their size and activity.
When opossums are seeking for food, they will scratch and make hissing and screaming noises. It’s time to conduct a full inspection if you’ve additionally seen property damage and indications that your trash has been examined through, to ensure that opossums are the bug you’re dealing with.
Signs of Damage
- Trash that has been left outside of the can, with tampering evidence abound
- Scratch marks on your house and garbage cans are signs of wear and tear.
- Foul odors
- The vanishing pet food
- Tracks with the ability to grasp objects
- Nests may be found inside holes, fissures, logs, brush, or even your attic or basement.
Gather the Tools You’ll Need
Step 1: Survey Your Property for Damage
Walk around your property looking for any signs of opossums with the above clothing precautions in mind. First, check your trash bins to see if anything appears to be amiss or if anything has been removed. This would most likely be the source of the food they receive from your land if this is the case. Next, check for scratching on your home’s exterior. These are indications that the opossum is looking for a means to enter and eat more foods. Also keep an eye out for cat droppings, which may be as big as a grapefruit.
Step 2: Find the Nest
There is likely an opossum nest nearby if you’ve seen property damage occurring over and over again. Look under hollow logs, brush, holes, and cracks around your house with a flashlight to check for pests. Opossums, on the other hand, typically bring nesting materials into a safe, already-covered area even if they do not build a nest of their own. Check carefully to see if they have relocated their nest if you’ve heard noises in your attic.
Step 3: Bait the Opossum
An opossum approaching food at night is easy to see if all else fails. You might experiment by strategically placing food near a window in the hopes that an animal will come. This will allow you to distinguish between an opossum and another kind of foraging animal like a raccoon with certainty.
Step 4: Develop a Treatment Plan
Knowing that you have an opossum problem on your land will enable you to craft a customized and effective solution plan. A multi-pronged strategy will be used to eliminate them, including trapping, repellents, poisons, and other approaches. This will include a multi-pronged approach to releasing their trash and food. If you want to get rid of the issue as quickly and effectively as possible, you may want to contact a professional animal removal company.
Your first move is to remedy an opossum issue if you already have one. Remove all opossum-attracting objects from your property before sanitizing it.
Food supplies and hiding spaces, such as beneath logs, may be promptly shut off or removed. You may need to take further steps toward warding off opossums and preventing future infestations for other attractants such as gardens or the intimate crawl spaces beneath your home.
1. Eliminate Entry Points
Opossums are always on the lookout for excellent concealment spots where they may rest and stay away from predators since they don’t build their own nests. This may be a headache if an opossum has set up camp so close to your house, since your attic, basement, and crawl spaces all provide ideal locations for this. Make certain that all of the openings in these zones are blocked off.
- You may easily seal tiny holes in your home’s siding or foundation with expandable foam or concrete mix if you have them.
- Cracks and holes in your roof should be inspected. When you’re in the upstairs, install a screen or other barrier over fireplaces.
- Vent covers, which may be placed over your dryer vents and other openings on your exterior walls, are also an option.
- Make sure that all of the trees on your property are trimmed back from your home, because opossums are great climbers.
- Screen or plywood can be used to close off decks and crawlspaces.
- Schedule monthly or more frequent outdoor maintenance and inspection for yourself or a professional.
- Check your house yourself or call someone to do so if you ever hear scratching sounds or any other suspicious noises.
- Even if you locate one in your yard that appears to be dead, keep a safe distance and continue to monitor it because possums can “play dead.”
You can install a screen or mesh fence along the edge of your yard, or just around the vegetation that opossums are eating, if opossums are devouring plants in your garden. Other animals, such as squirrels, voles, and chipmunks will be kept out by this.
For keeping opossums away, fencing your entire property is an extremely effective method. Since opossums don’t usually dig, privacy fences might be used to deter them from digging. Make sure there aren’t any holes or cracks that they may crawl through, though. Other animals will be kept out by properly built fences, which will save you money in pest control in the long term.
3. Scare Tactics
Making your property less appealing to opossums to come scavenge for food is one method of keeping them away. Unfortunately, if you don’t employ other techniques in conjunction with these, opossums will forget that they were previously frightened away from your yard and may return.
Motion-activated Lights and Sprinklers
Motion-activated devices, such as outdoor lights and sprinklers, can deter a wide range of intruders and are often cost-effective. The lights or sprinklers will activate and startling the opossums, forcing them to flee whenever they approach your yard.
Sonic repellents come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with the option of either burying them or putting them up near your home. Opossums will be driven away by a high-frequency noise or a sonic vibration. A motion sensor is frequently included with these products. If you have outdoor pests, this strategy isn’t recommended since you might frighten your own cat or dog while they’re out.
Opossums can make a huge mess in yards, despite their poor eyesight and sluggish pace. They have a foul smell with their feces and urine, and are known for eating practically anything.
It is essential to address any opossum problem immediately since they may transmit a variety of illnesses to people and animals.
Thankfully, there are numerous ways to get rid of opossums on your property and keep them from returning, including treatments and prevention measures. You may do this yourself, or a professional wildlife specialist may assist you with it to save time and effort.
Trash that has been tampered with, scratch marks on trash cans, droppings, foul odors, and disappearing pet food (if you keep any outside) are all signs of opossums on your property. You may employ certain particular and targeted opossum treatment procedures to stop them in their tracks and keep others from coming onto your property once you know you have opossums in your yard.
1. Remove Attractants
If you haven’t taken care of everything that attracts opossums to your yard, removing them may be pointless. Otherwise, if you have opossums on your property, they may come back again and you’ll be dealing with the same issue.
- Seal and dispose of trash in an appropriate manner. Never allow your outdoor trash cans to overflow. Make certain that the lid is properly sealed, with no holes or cracks. Immediately after eating, clean up and never leave any trash outside in the open if you eat or entertain outdoors.
- Keep your pet’s food within. Instead of leaving food outdoors around the clock, if your dog or cat spends most of its time outdoors, stick to a feeding schedule. By instigating fights over the food, you may be putting your pet in danger, as well as many other wild animals.
- Remove any concealing spots and yard trash. Opossums don’t build their own nests. Instead, they seek refuge among other animals’ abandoned nests or natural shelters. Opossums are attracted to logs, brush piles, and hollow trees, so try to remove them from your yard. Other animals will be kept out by maintaining constant outdoor resistance.
- Remove any debris or places where they may be hiding. Opossums don’t build their own nests. Natural shelters or abandoned nests are used instead of human-made ones as refuge. Opossums are attracted to logs, brush piles, and hollow trees, so we recommend removing them from your property. A variety of other animals will be kept out by maintaining constant outdoor resistance.
The best way to get opossums off your property is with a trap. Trapping might be the quickest way to eliminate them if it is done in conjunction with other methods of prevention and repellent.
How To Use a Live Opossum Trap
After you buy a live trap, make sure to study the instructions thoroughly before using it. Traps come in a range of sizes, with spring-loaded or one-way doors being the most common types.
Place the trap near food sources (typically near your trash cans or garden) or near any nesting place you may locate at night, whichever is closer. Since opossums are nocturnal and you don’t want to catch diurnal animals, only leave the traps out at night.
Place bait inside the trap to tempting animals. While trying to entice opossums while avoiding attracting additional species to the trap, this can be a trial-and-error process. Dog or cat food, fish, meat, and fruits are some of the bait ideas available.
Grasses, leaves, and twigs should be used to camouflage the trap. By becoming the sort of hollow shelter they prefer to hide inside, this will make the trap even more appealing.
When the trap is in operation, keep your outdoor animals away. Keeping them contained the whole time, rather than risking trapping and maybe injuring them, is especially important if your bait is pet food.
Before you remove it to set it free, check your state’s laws on opossum trapping. There may be limits on where you can discharge them, or your state might provide valuable advice on the finest regions to do so.
You may use repellents to help prevent any additional opossums from entering your home after you have physically removed the first one.
- Opossums may be kept away by the smell of cats and dogs, which is because they have a natural aversion to confrontation and predators. Instead of leaving your dog or cat outside to keep opossums away, brush their hair after each brushing and distribute it throughout the places where they’ve caused damage around your house. Opossums may be hostile and maybe hurt him or her in a struggle, so it’s preferable to utilize your pet’s fur rather than the actual pet.
- Chemical Repellents: Chemical opossum repellents are available in stores and on the internet in the form of sprays or granules. These pungent products may even have a foul odor similar to that of opossums. As a result, they are best applied around the outside of your home, away from entrances and windows where the odor may drift inside.
DIY Treatment Methods
There are several helpful natural products you may have around the home that aren’t recommended to make your own opossum trap or try to create your own scare tactic. Since you won’t likely come into touch with the opossums, your own repellents may be just as good, and they’re not dangerous.
- In a jar or can, cut a medium-sized hole in the lid. Pour a little quantity of ammonia into this vessel, then place a rag inside. Insert a pair of gloves on top. Pull one end of the rag up through the hole in the lid and secure it tight once it’s wet. The ammonia in the rag will be absorbed and spread throughout your area by the repellant, enticing prospective opossum inhabitants. This approach isn’t safe for use around outdoor pets, as is the case with store-bought chemical repellents.
- Garlic: With its pungent and unique taste, garlic performs similarly to hot sauce. Crush and scatter cloves across your lawn, or mix them with water to make a spray. This approach is not only non-toxic for pets, but it may also be applied to any surface.
When To call a Prefessional
Many wildlife removal businesses offer assurances that their work will continue until the issue is fixed.
Trial and error may be involved in DIY techniques. Using tried-and-true techniques and top-of-the-line equipment, a wildlife control specialist will attempt to eliminate and prevent the problem. Since the professional will most likely use one approach rather than a collection of items to resolve the problem, this may conserve you money. In addition, many wildlife removal firms offer protection that they will continue to treat the issue until it is fixed.