How to Get Rid of Opossums: Effective Home Remedies

Home and Garden

Opossums are nocturnal creatures that can cause havoc in your backyard or even inside your home. If you’re dealing with an opossum infestation, it’s important to take immediate action to prevent any damage or potential health risks. While there are professional pest control services available, many homeowners prefer to try out home remedies first. In this article, we will explore various home remedies and techniques you can use to get rid of opossums.

Contents
  1. Table of Contents
  2. 1. Understanding Opossums
  3. 1.1 Opossum Behavior
  4. 1.2 Opossum Diet
  5. 1.3 Opossum Habits
  6. 2. Identifying Opossum Infestations
  7. 2.1 Signs of Opossum Activity
  8. 2.2 Opossum Damage
  9. 3. Prevention Measures
  10. 3.1 Securing Trash and Food Sources
  11. 3.2 Eliminating Potential Shelter
  12. 4. Natural Deterrents
  13. 4.1 Bright Lights and Noise
  14. 4.2 Ammonia Soaked Rags
  15. 4.3 Predator Urine
  16. 4.4 Spicy Repellents
  17. 5. Physical Barriers
  18. 5.1 Fencing
  19. 5.2 Opossum-Proofing Buildings
  20. 6. Trapping and Relocating Opossums
  21. 6.1 Choosing the Right Trap
  22. 6.2 Baiting the Trap
  23. 6.3 Relocating the Opossum
  24. 7. Opossum-Proofing Your Property
  25. 7.1 Sealing Entry Points
  26. 7.2 Removing Attractants
  27. 8. When to Seek Professional Help
  28. 9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  29. 1. Understanding Opossums
  30. 1.1 Opossum Behavior
  31. 1.2 Opossum Diet
  32. 1.3 Opossum Habits
  33. 2. Identifying Opossum Infestations
  34. 2.1 Signs of Opossum Activity
  35. 2.2 Opossum Damage
  36. 3. Prevention Measures
  37. 3.1 Securing Trash and Food Sources
  38. 3.2 Eliminating Potential Shelter
  39. 4. Natural Deterrents
  40. 4.1 Bright Lights and Noise
  41. 4.2 Ammonia Soaked Rags
  42. 4.3 Predator Urine
  43. 4.4 Spicy Repellents
  44. 5. Physical Barriers
  45. 5.1 Fencing
  46. 5.2 Opossum-Proofing Buildings
  47. 6. Trapping and Relocating Opossums
  48. 6.1 Choosing the Right Trap
  49. 6.2 Baiting the Trap
  50. 6.3 Relocating the Opossum
  51. 7. Opossum-Proofing Your Property
  52. 7.1 Sealing Entry Points
  53. 7.2 Removing Attractants
  54. 8. When to Seek Professional Help
  55. 9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  56. FAQ 1: Can opossums carry diseases?
  57. FAQ 2: Are opossums dangerous to humans?
  58. FAQ 3: Will opossums damage my property?
  59. FAQ 4: Can I use poison to get rid of opossums?
  60. FAQ 5: How long do opossums live?
  61. FAQ 6: Can opossums climb walls or fences?
  62. FAQ 7: Are opossums beneficial for the environment?
  63. Conclusion

Table of Contents

1. Understanding Opossums

1.1 Opossum Behavior

1.2 Opossum Diet

1.3 Opossum Habits

2. Identifying Opossum Infestations

2.1 Signs of Opossum Activity

2.2 Opossum Damage

3. Prevention Measures

3.1 Securing Trash and Food Sources

3.2 Eliminating Potential Shelter

4. Natural Deterrents

4.1 Bright Lights and Noise

4.2 Ammonia Soaked Rags

4.3 Predator Urine

4.4 Spicy Repellents

5. Physical Barriers

5.1 Fencing

5.2 Opossum-Proofing Buildings

6. Trapping and Relocating Opossums

6.1 Choosing the Right Trap

6.2 Baiting the Trap

6.3 Relocating the Opossum

7. Opossum-Proofing Your Property

7.1 Sealing Entry Points

7.2 Removing Attractants

8. When to Seek Professional Help

9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Understanding Opossums

1.1 Opossum Behavior

Opossums are generally solitary animals that become more active during the night. They are known for their ability to play dead when threatened, a defense mechanism called “playing possum.” They are scavengers by nature and often forage for food in garbage cans, gardens, and other sources of easy meals.

1.2 Opossum Diet

Opossums are opportunistic eaters and will consume a wide range of food, including fruits, vegetables, insects, small mammals, birds, eggs, and even carrion. This varied diet allows them to adapt to various environments and habitats.

1.3 Opossum Habits

Opossums are excellent climbers and can easily access attics, crawl spaces, and other areas of your home. They are also known to create dens in piles of leaves, brush, or under porches. Understanding their habits is crucial in effectively getting rid of them.

2. Identifying Opossum Infestations

2.1 Signs of Opossum Activity

There are several signs that can indicate opossum activity in your area. These include:

  • Tipped over trash cans
  • Strewn garbage
  • Digging in gardens
  • Tracks or footprints
  • Droppings

2.2 Opossum Damage

Opossums can cause various types of damage, including:

  • Damage to gardens and plants
  • Chewed electrical wires
  • Contamination of food and water sources
  • Destruction of bird feeders

3. Prevention Measures

3.1 Securing Trash and Food Sources

Opossums are attracted to easily accessible food sources. To prevent them from being attracted to your property, make sure to:

  • Secure trash cans with tight-fitting lids
  • Store pet food indoors overnight
  • Keep fallen fruits and vegetables picked up

3.2 Eliminating Potential Shelter

Opossums seek shelter in dark and secluded areas. To make your property less appealing to them, take the following steps:

  • Trim tree branches away from your house
  • Seal off crawl spaces and other potential entry points
  • Keep your yard well-maintained

4. Natural Deterrents

4.1 Bright Lights and Noise

Opossums prefer dark and quiet areas. By installing motion-activated lights and playing loud music or talk radio, you can make your property less attractive to opossums.

4.2 Ammonia Soaked Rags

Placing ammonia-soaked rags near potential entry points or areas of opossum activity can deter them from coming near. The smell of ammonia mimics the scent of predators, making them hesitant to approach.

4.3 Predator Urine

Predator urine, such as that of coyotes or foxes, can be purchased from garden supply stores. Spraying or spreading it around your property can create a deterrent effect, as opossums associate the smell with potential danger.

4.4 Spicy Repellents

Opossums have a sensitive sense of smell. Spraying a mixture of water and hot sauce around your property can deter them from entering, as the strong smell is unpleasant to their senses.

5. Physical Barriers

5.1 Fencing

Installing a sturdy fence around your property can help keep opossums out. Make sure the fence is at least four feet high and extends at least 12 inches underground to prevent them from digging underneath.

5.2 Opossum-Proofing Buildings

Sealing off any potential entry points to your home or other buildings on your property can prevent opossums from gaining access. Use materials such as steel mesh or heavy-duty screens to cover vents, chimneys, and any other openings.

6. Trapping and Relocating Opossums

6.1 Choosing the Right Trap

When trapping opossums, it’s essential to use a live trap designed specifically for them. These traps should be large enough to accommodate the size of an adult opossum.

6.2 Baiting the Trap

Common baits for opossums include fruits, such as apples or bananas, or canned pet food. Place the bait in the back of the trap to ensure the opossum fully enters and triggers the trap door.

6.3 Relocating the Opossum

Once you have successfully trapped an opossum, it’s important to relocate it at least 10 miles away from your property. Ensure that the chosen relocation site is suitable for the opossum’s survival.

7. Opossum-Proofing Your Property

7.1 Sealing Entry Points

Inspect your property for any potential entry points and seal them off using materials like steel wool, caulk, or hardware cloth. Pay special attention to areas around pipes, vents, and foundation openings.

7.2 Removing Attractants

Keep your property clean and free of potential food sources. Remove fallen fruits, secure trash cans, and store pet food indoors. By eliminating attractants, you reduce the chances of opossums returning.

8. When to Seek Professional Help

If your opossum infestation persists despite your best efforts, or if you’re uncomfortable dealing with trapping and relocating opossums yourself, it’s advisable to seek professional pest control services. They have the expertise and resources to handle the situation effectively and safely.

9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQ 1: Can opossums carry diseases?

Yes, opossums can carry diseases such as leptospirosis, tuberculosis, and toxoplasmosis. It’s important to take precautions when dealing with opossums to minimize the risk of disease transmission.

FAQ 2: Are opossums dangerous to humans?

Opossums are generally not aggressive towards humans and will usually try to avoid confrontation. However, if they feel threatened or cornered, they may bite or scratch in self-defense.

FAQ 3: Will opossums damage my property?

Opossums can cause damage to gardens, plants, and property structures. They may chew on electrical wires, dig up lawns, and create nests in attics or crawl spaces.

FAQ 4: Can I use poison to get rid of opossums?

Using poison to eliminate opossums is not recommended, as it can be inhumane and may also pose a risk to other animals, pets, or even children who may come into contact with the poison.

FAQ 5: How long do opossums live?

Opossums have an average lifespan of two to four years in the wild. However, some opossums have been known to live up to six or seven years.

FAQ 6: Can opossums climb walls or fences?

Yes, opossums are skilled climbers and can easily scale walls, trees, and fences. It’s important to ensure that any barriers or deterrents used are secure and difficult for opossums to overcome.

FAQ 7: Are opossums beneficial for the environment?

While opossums may be considered pests when causing damage to property, they do provide some benefits to the environment. They eat ticks, snails, slugs, and other pests, helping to control their populations.

Conclusion

Opossums can be a nuisance when they invade your property, but with the right knowledge and techniques, you can effectively get rid of them using home remedies. By understanding their behavior, identifying signs of infestation, and implementing prevention measures, you can create a less appealing environment for opossums. Natural deterrents, physical barriers, and trapping methods can also be employed to remove opossums from your property. If all else fails, seeking professional help is always an option. Remember to take necessary precautions and handle opossums with care to ensure the safety of both humans and the animals involved.


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