How to get rid of opossums? (Humanely)
Survey Your Property
The first step in getting rid of opossums is confirming that you actually have an infestation. Because of their nocturnal habits, you’ll usually hear them before you see them. They’ll hiss and screech throughout the night and you’ll find trash strewn everywhere in the morning. Other common signs of opossum damage are foul odors near your rummaged trash cans, tracks with opposable thumbs, and scratch marks outside your home. Keep an eye out for droppings as well!
Opossums like to build their homes out of pre-made ones abandoned by others. This means that your basement, porches, and crawlspaces are perfect hiding places. Make sure you’ve sealed off any entry points like small holes and cracks and put a screen on your vents and chimneys.
Once you’ve confirmed it’s an opossum infestation, it’s time to look for the nest. Shine a light down covered spaces like a pile of wood or leaves, shrubberies, hollow logs, and holes and crevices in your property. Make sure to look in your crawlspaces and up your attic as well.
Getting rid of opossums would be pointless if you haven’t removed everything that attracts them to your property. Make sure you’ve done everything so that you won’t have to deal with getting rid of them again.
- Seal your garbage bins and repair any holes or cracks. You can add additional plastic bags inside so that the smell isn’t as strong and it wouldn’t attract wildlife.
- Don’t leave any pet food outdoors as it is easy food for other animals as well.
- Keep your property clean and tidy to prevent any opossums from hiding in unkempt
shrubberies or left out garden equipment.
Get Rid of Opossums
Once you’ve removed any possible things that might attract them back to your property, it’s time to get rid of these little creatures as humanely as possible.
1. Baiting and Trapping the Opossum
- best bait for opossums is fish or apples. You can use any type of scraps or food but the general rule for professionals is “the smellier the better”. We advise against pet food since you might trap your local stray cat instead. It’s best to smear your bait in and on the trap so that they can smell it better. You can place a toy inside the trap as well, the opossum will play with it out of boredom and it’ll be easier for you to take it away in the morning. You can even create a small trail that leads to the trap for a better chance of opossums finding the bait.
- There are different kinds of traps. Whatever type you opt for, make sure that it is big enough for opossums to fit in, and that you’re catching them as humanely as possible. Your trap should be about 30 to 40 inches long and 12 inches high. This size requirement allows opossums to freely enter the trap unrestrained.
- Be sure to check out your state’s laws and restrictions regarding game and trapping before doing anything on your own.
2. Using Dogs
- If you have a dog, then you’re one step closer to getting rid of opossums. A dog, preferably a hunting breed, keeps wildlife away since most are scared of being prey. Opossums will keep out of your way once they smell your dog’s scent as they tend to shy away from confrontations and animals they think are predators.
- You can also use pet fur instead of purposely taking your pet outdoors. Just sprinkle your pet’s fur after brushing them in areas with opossum activity. Opossums tend to avoid competition, so they’ll stay away. It’s also a safer option since aggressive and starving opossums might hurt your pet in search of food.
- Installing a mesh fence along your property line can keep opossums and other wildlife away. Be sure to bury your fence and stake at least 6 inches under to prevent them from digging under it. This method is actually one of the most successful ways to keep out unwanted animals from your property. It also saves you money as you won’t have to invest in further pest control.
4. Lights On
- Motion-activated lights aren’t just for your security; it can be used against wildlife as well. The fact that opossums are nocturnal animals can be used to your advantage in this case, as bright lights will easily scare them away. Our tip is to point your lights on areas where there is the most activity, like garbage cans, sheds, and dark areas where they can possibly hide. Motion-activated lights are better since you don’t need steady lights in these areas, and it will save you money on your electricity bill.
5. Sonic Repellents
- Another motion-activated tool is a sonic repellent, which emits a high-frequency sound or vibration that animals can’t stand. These sounds can’t beheard by our ears, but animals typically can’t stand them, causing them to run as far away as possible from your house. You can set them up in your perimeter wall or fence or near your house, but we strongly advise against this method if you or your nearby neighbors have pets that they keep outdoors. You might end up scaring your own pets away while they’re out playing.
6. Odor Repellents
- This consists of liquid or granular repellents that typically have a predator’s urine as an active ingredient. This makes opossums think that there’s a predator nearby, or they have crossed their territory, causing them to scurry away in fear. Keep in mind that this is a short term solution, since animals tend to get used to scents, and they’ll ignore it if they’re hungry enough. Make sure you place your odor repellent a good distance away from any doors or windows to avoid the scent wafting inside your house.
7. DIY Treatments
Cut a hole on top of a can or jar lid. Pour a small amount of
ammonia inside. Place a rag and let it soak a bit before pulling one end of the rag up the hole you’ve created until it completely blocks the hole. The rag will soak up the ammonia and create a kind of scent stick that disperses ammonia in the air. Make sure you wear gloves during the process. Avoid this treatment if you have pets.
Mix water, dish soap, and hot sauce or crushed hot pepper in a 2:1:1 ration. Pour them in a spray bottle and spray it on areas with opossum activity. These animals hate the smell and taste of pepper, and they will actively avoid
How to trap a opossum?
Contrary to popular belief, opossums aren’t actually dirty nor dangerous. In fact, they’re beneficial to most gardens and lawns. They are unsung heroes in slowing the spread of Lyme disease, keeping your property clear of unwanted pests that eat your plants, and they’re often rabies-free and scared of people as well! Opossums will always try to stay out of your way and you’ll almost always never see them.
Although opossums aren’t as dangerous as the other wildlife, they’re still a nuisance to most homeowners. As nocturnal animals, they raise a ruckus in the middle of the night, preventing a good night’s sleep, and then make you clean up their mess in the morning. If you have unwanted opossums, the best way to deal with them humanely is to trap and remove them from your property. You can read down below on how to trap opossums effectively. Keep in mind that trapping opossums is subject to your state laws, so be sure to check that out first!
Selecting a Trap
Selecting a trap isn’t easy, they come in a variety of sizes and styles that can make or break whether you’ll catch an opossum or not. Your trap should be about 30 to 40 inches (0.76 – 1.02 meters) long and 12 inches (0.3 meters) high. This size requirement allows opossums to freely enter the trap unrestrained.
There are different kinds of traps. There are traps with one door and others with two. The most usual mechanism is a spring-loaded one where a platform holds a bait, and when the weight is lifted the door snaps shut, trapping the animal inside. Another type is a hook type where the bait is hanging instead of resting on a weight-sensitive platform. Leg-hold traps work by literally holding on to the animal’s leg until you decide what to do with them. Whatever type you opt for, make sure that it is big enough for opossums to fit in, and that you’re catching them as humanely as possible.
The best bait for opossums is fish or apples. You can use any type of scraps of food but the general rule for professionals is “the smellier the better”. You can also use dog or cat food, but we advise not doing it as you might trap your local stray cat instead. It’s best to smear your bait in and on the trap and set it on the trigger in a way that it can’t mess with the spring-load mechanism. You can create a small trail that leads to the trap for a better chance of opossums finding the bait.
Time and Location
The best location you can place your trap in is where you notice the most activity. Place it in the middle of the room if the opossum is living somewhere indoors. If it’s a crawlspace, then place it about 2 feet (0.61 meters) away from the entrance. Make sure that your trap is on a level surface and out of direct sunlight to avoid a very hot trap that can harm the animal. It’s best to set your trap before nightfall as opossums are nocturnal animals.
You should check your trap every morning to see if it has trapped an opossum. Make sure to release them as soon as possible to avoid caging them longer than necessary. Trapping opossums is a short-term solution. Make sure that after getting rid of unwanted opossums, research and check how you can deter them from getting back into your yard.