When an opossum (or the more common name possum) bares its mouthful of jagged teeth at you, your first instinct is probably to run away, wondering how to get your yard back from these nuisance animals.
Luckily, there are a few different ways to get rid of these sneaky night dwellers, and we've listed them below.
Whether you're looking for a "live and let live" solution or you'd rather take more a direct, engineered approach to kicking the possums to the curb, we've got solutions for that scenario, too.
How To Naturally Remove Opossums?
Okay, so you don't want to hurt the opossum or do anything inhumane—you just want it off your property.
Keep reading for strategies you can employ to make an opossum want to leave your home on its own in a matter of a few weeks.
Eliminate Its Food Sources
The driving force for any possum to take up residence in an area is almost always going to be food.
By making sure your yard is pest-free, you're taking a huge step in making the area unattractive to opossums. Be sure to conduct regular Integrated Pest Management (IPM) inspections to ensure that you're not accidentally and inadvertently setting out a buffet table for possums every day!
Clean Up Your Garden
In addition to insects, spiders, and slugs, did you know that possums will happily munch on weeds and wilting plants?
Like humans, the opportunistic possums are omnivores, meaning that they eat both plants and meat. If you keep your yard manicured and properly trimmed, you remove the opportunity for possums to nestle in your garden and make it their new home.
Make Sure Trash is Sealed
One of the first signs that an opossum is living on someone's property isn't an opossum sighting, but yesterday's trash strewn from the bag all over the lawn.
Because these animals are scavengers, they regularly dumpster-dive (along with their bandit-faced friend, the raccoon) to find food in trash cans. Opossums can smell food scraps through the plastic bags, and they use their small hands to rip open the bag, or sometimes even chew it open with their teeth.
By storage trash in bins with locking mechanisms or in dumpsters with heavy lids, you are doing yourself a huge favor. Opossums won't be able to break these barriers, they won't gain access to your garbage, and they won't find your property very interesting or alluring.
What Are The Non-Natural Methods of Removal?
If you've had all you can take with your opossum problem and you want it (and potentially, its litter of joeys as well) gone as soon as possible, there are a few ways you can take action.
By utilizing some common non-natural methods of expulsion, you can make sure that your opossum understands who's boss—and vacate the premises.
Opossum Repellents and Deterrents
Generally, the use of a repellent or a deterrent takes advantage of a pretty natural response: fear of mortal danger.
So why are they listed in the "non-natural" section?
Well, though the core concept is one of natural roots, the implementation, most of the time, is not. For example, many repellents use the urine of predators as an active ingredient, which of course is all-natural. However, these products are sold as synthetic granules infused with a powdered form of the urine, not the actual urine itself. This knocks the repellent over into "non-natural" territory.
Another example is the use of flashing-light deterrents. These also manipulate the fear instincts of an opossum, making it feel as though danger is lurking nearby. However, these are man-made electronic devices, which means that they are not natural methods of control.
Trapping an Opossum
An effective means of controlling an opossum infestation on your property is via the use of a trap.
While there are no traps created specifically to cage opossums, there are several on the market which are designed to be big enough to easily fit even an oversized opossum.
Traps are a humane way to catch and contain an opossum during the night, which is prime time for this nocturnal creature. While you're asleep, traps work to lure the animal inside and snap closed once the opossum takes the bait nestled inside. In the morning, you can decide what to do with the animal based on the situation that's right for you.
Check out this video below, where you can see the basic premise of how these traps work and the relative size of an opossum caught inside the trap.
For a detailed look at the traps we recommend to catch opossums, check out our guide on the top opossum traps and cages. We break down our favorites with pros and cons and give you our overall top pick, so you can rest assured that you're getting the most for your money.
Can You Poison an Opossum?
Currently, there are no approved poisons on the market to use to kill opossums.
This could be connected to a protein that's present in the blood of opossums which makes them immune to snake venom and other toxins. However, there is no scientific evidence to explain why it is inhumane to feed poison to opossums.
However, it is against the law, and doing so will carry some serious legal consequences. Rodenticide should never be used on an opossum.
For more information, please contact your local Fish and Wildlife division.
The Main Idea About Opossum Removal
If you've got an opossum, it doesn't have to stay in your yard. After all, this is your property! You decide who stays and who goes.
With our informational guide, our aim is to give you all the tips you need to show the opossum the door in the most seamless way possible. Whether you choose the natural route or the non-natural method, one thing is for sure: your opossum-problem days will be put to an end swiftly!
Other Opossum Guides
Curious about other opossum related articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.