Marsupials are truly unique animal species and people usually find them very adorable. The most popular representatives of the family – the kangaroo and the koala – have long been an object of amazement and admiration throughout the world. However, the only marsupial native to North America, the Virginia opossum, is rarely regarded as a cute and wonderful animal. On the contrary, possums are considered to be nuisance pests which carry various parasites and can make quite a mess.
These nocturnal scavengers are omnivorous and often find shelter in human-made structures. They usually live under a shed, a porch, or in an attic, and they are known to forage in trash bins for food and to steal pet food left outside. The small marsupials are not very aggressive, nor are they particularly dangerous, but they can cause real havoc and spread contagious diseases. Getting rid of possums that have ventured onto your property as soon as possible is an urgent matter because they leave large droppings all over the place they inhabit and carry a very strong odor. If you decide to just leave the little intruders alone, they will not go away but will take up permanent residence in your attic and will raise young ones there, causing significant damage in the meantime.
Is Opossum Control Possible?
Without a doubt, keeping opossums away will save you from a lot of trouble. There are several simple precautionary measures you can take to block their access to your home but mind the fact that opossums are resourceful animals, especially when it comes to food and safety. They are well-known for “playing possum” – feigning death when encountered with serious danger. So, it is not very easy to outwit the small mischief-makers but some reliable prevention strategies will surely work, at least to a certain extent:
- Keep your yard perfectly clean – possums don’t find clean and tidy areas attractive, so you have a chance to discourage them from entering in the first place;
- Take pet food inside – needless to say, tasty treats provoke much interest in various critters and opossums make no exception;
- Remove potential shelters – avoid keeping wood piles, dry leaves, paper stacks and other accumulated materials in your yard. Otherwise, you may unwillingly provide lodgings for a variety of insects, reptiles and rodents, as well as possums;
- Secure the lids on your garbage cans – you may even consider washing the trash cans now and then in order to eliminate the smell that wild animals find attractive;
- Clear away any rotting fruits or vegetables, as well as food left-overs, before the night falls – if they don’t have access to anything edible, opossums will lose their primary stimulus for entering your property;
Maintain your property well – get a strong fence that extends several feet above ground and at least one foot underground to ensure that the animals will not jump over or burrow under it. Inspect your roof and your porch carefully, repair broken ducts and close off any holes you can discover with metal mesh. Also, trim shrubs and weeds. The small intruders will not find an easy entry point and will not have sufficient cover to feel safe once inside;
- Bright light and repellents will drive any wild animals away, of course. No traditional repellent is efficient enough but still the scent of ammonia or bleach will be rather unpleasant for opossums. Some modern devices may also teach the intruders an important lesson – such as a motion activated sprinkler system which will activate every time an animal comes in its reach.
Some of these approaches may work for you but most of them will provide only a temporary solution. Effective opossum control is difficult to achieve and if one of these little intruders singles out your property as an appropriate place to search for food and/or to take residence, various troubles await you. Here is a summary of what you might expect from the unwelcome visitors.
What Dangers Do Opossums Pose?
Sanitary And Health Issues
You should not be concerned about rabies because due to their low body temperature, opossums have a resistance to the rabies virus. However, they carry a number of parasites and help spread diseases transmitted by fleas and ticks. Their droppings, which are abundant wherever a possum resides, also pose health risks and great sanitary problems.
The little rascals are not very fast, nor very strong, and prefer to stay hidden or climb up trees and keep away from humans and pets. They are not aggressive unless cornered – when they are threatened and need to act in self-defense, opossums either pretend to be dead or bite, if they have the chance to do so. You should be careful because their 50 sharp teeth are dangerous, especially for pets.
Opossums rummage around and chew their way inside the house or under decks. So, in some cases they can cause substantial property damage – break ductworks and make holes in walls, screens or fences. At the very least, they will scatter garbage all over the place and will mess up your yard. Their presence is alarming for pets, of course, and their horrible smell, especially that of dead possums nearby, is alarming for all.
However, troublesome as the critters may be, catching them is relatively easy.
How To Get Rid Of Opossums For Good
It is not only inhumane and often illegal to poison a wild animal, but also rather consequential for your own comfort because the opossum will die in the walls or in some other well-hidden place and produce a terrible smell.
As a result, you may never find it and it can even cause several health issues.
Trapping the animal is the easiest and most effective method of possum removal. You need a large sturdy trap and you can use any bait. Even the location of the snaring device is not very significant because unlike raccoons, opossums are not canny enough to avoid the trap, nor strong enough to move it around. However, the process may take a long time or you may easily capture non-targeted animals. Even when you manage to trap the opossum, relocating the filthy critter and preventing it from coming back will be quite difficult. Remember that a carelessly released animal will probably try to return, especially if there are babies left behind in your attic or under your deck. So if you find baby possums in your property, call professionals without hesitation. They will make sure that the mother is not hiding somewhere and will then take the young ones to a suitable animal rehabilitation center.
Anyway, if you are not up to the challenge of playing cat and mouse with nuisance opossums, you can always rely on reputable animal removal companies – the experts will catch the intruder much faster than you ever could and will know how to relocate it correctly. They will not only deal with your problem in a speedy and experienced manner, but will also offer exclusion services for your home and even provide a guarantee, too. Once the opossum is trapped, your property will be deodorized and any gaps that can allow an animal in will be secured. The professional prevention techniques will surely help you to get rid of possums permanently and will allow you to direct your resourcefulness and energy towards more worthy causes.