You see something in the tree – something that resembles a giant rat. You may have just spotted your first possum! Opossums, commonly referred to as possums, are marsupials of the order Didelphimorphia endemic to the Americas.
While their cute features may tempt you to approach one, it’s best to keep your distance. Possums can get aggressive and may bite, especially if they perceive you as a threat.
Pest control for possums may involve lethal and non-lethal methods. Lethal methods such as poisoning and shooting should only be done by trained professionals.
If you have possums in your yard, the best thing you can do is to remove any food sources and make sure your trash cans are secure. You can also try using live traps to catch and relocate the possums.
Possums Pest Control: Reasons Why They Invade Your Yard
The name is derived from the Ancient Greek word for “preying” or “predatory.” Although often mistaken for rodents, opossums are actually closely related to kangaroos and koalas.
While their cute nature and bushy tail may make them seem friendly, opossums can actually be quite dangerous.
As omnivores, their diets consist of a variety of foods, including small mammals, snakes, small birds, frogs, and carrion. In urban areas, they often raid garbage cans and trash bins in search of food.
Anything that could be a source of food for them is fair game, which is why they are often considered pests. Once they’ve started raiding trash cans and gardens, it can lead to them becoming a nuisance for homeowners.
Although these wild creatures are adaptable, they are also solitary ones. This means that they tend to live and forage alone. They choose burrows or trees to shelter them from the cold and will use any place they can take refuge from.
If not burrows or trees aren’t available, they’ll use any shelter they can find. It can be your porch, attic, crawl space, or space in your house that might be accessible for them.
Food source and safety are two of the most common reasons why possums invade your yard. If there’s a chance they can find food, or if they feel unsafe, they will take refuge in your property.
Different Methods to Get Rid of Opossum
In general, you won’t see opossums to be staying for a long time on your property. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take them seriously. As soon as you spot one, it can simply turn from a wild creature into a pretty annoying neighbor.
This is mainly because of the opossum’s highly varied diet. As omnivores, they will eat anything that seems edible to them. This means that your garden vegetables, pet food, and even your garbage are all potential sources of food for possums.
Additionally, they can also get indoors – and when they do, they’ll invade your space carrying fleas, mites, and ticks. Not to mention the various diseases they can transmit, such as leptospirosis, salmonella, and tularemia.
So, how do you get rid of them? Here are some of the different methods of possum pest control:
Don’t Leave Pet Food Out in Your Home (Or In Your Yard)
The most important thing to remember about possum pest control is that you shouldn’t create any situation that could invite them to your property. As mentioned earlier, food and safety are two things they’re looking for.
Your home also provides the safety they need, and they’d most likely stay longer if you’d openly provide them the food that they need.
With that being said, make sure that you don’t leave any pet food out in your yard or home. If you have a pet, feed them inside the house and make sure to clean up any leftover food.
Leaving out any food in the bowl is an open invitation to any possums that may be passing by in the area.
Keep Compost Bins and Garbage Cans Tightly Shut
Thanks to their varied diet, these possums will take anything they can as long as it’s edible. This includes the contents of your garbage can and compost bin. As such, you need to make sure that these receptacles are tightly shut at all times.
If you don’t have any, it might be the perfect time to invest in better garbage bins. Go for ones that have a tight-fitting lid, so there’s no way possums (or any other animals) could get in. The same goes for your compost bin.
Doing this doesn’t just keep opossums out – you’re also deterring other potential pests, such as raccoons, rats, and mice.
Remove Debris and Clutter from Your Yard
Piles of wood, rocks, and leaves are the perfect places for possums to take refuge in during the day. As nocturnal creatures, they like to sleep during the day and forage at night. As such, you need to make sure that there’s no place in your yard where they can hide.
Keep your yard clean and free of any debris that could provide them shelter. If you have a pile of wood, make sure to store it in a shed or garage or anywhere that’s inaccessible to possums.
Brush piles, too, are a potential hiding place for possums. Although it’s pretty convenient to have them, it’s best to get rid of them or at least move them away from your house. Possums may simply use this as their shelter and go from there to your home.
Trim Tree Branches that Overhang Your House
Entry points are one of the things that possums are looking for when they invade your property. Once they find an opening, they will simply make themselves at home. As such, you need to make sure that there are no potential entry points for them to take advantage of.
While sealing all those openings from within your home’s perimeter seems like a good idea, it’s also best to cut and get rid of overhanging tree branches. These could be their bridge toward your home, and you don’t want that.
By nature, they’re amazing climbers and can go from one branch to another with ease. So, if there are any branches that overhang your house, it’s best to trim them right away.
Consider Building a Garden Fence
By now, you may have understood that the key to keeping possums away from your property is by making it inaccessible to them. Aside from taking these extra precautions, a garden fence might just help solve the problem.
This is particularly helpful if possums are mainly found in your garden. This can be easily done by a DIYer if you have the tools and materials. All it takes is a chicken wire and some posts, and you’re good to go.
When building the chicken wire, the top should be at least facing away from your garden so that they won’t get in. You’ll want an unstable structure that they can’t climb over without falling back down.
Alternatively, you can always ask help from a local contractor to help you build a fence to create a possum-free garden.
Professional Exterminators as a Last Resort
After taking all the possible measures to keep possums away, you may still find one or two on your property. Sometimes, even the most well-sealed homes can’t keep them out. If this is the case, then your last resort would be to call for professional help.
Sometimes, possums are so good at hiding that they won’t come out from their hiding spots, no matter how much noise you make. Professional exterminators have the right tools and equipment to safely and humanely remove possums from your home.
Pest Control Possum: Final Thoughts
Possums cause destruction to your property, not to mention the diseases they’re harboring inside your home. Preventative measures are always better than a cure, so avoid creating a hospitable environment for them.
Tight-sealing your home, removing debris and clutter, and building a garden fence are some of the things you can do. If all else fails, a professional exterminator needs to step in.