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Humane Ways to Get Rid of Opossums

Opossums are often considered a nuisance. They are found throughout the North American continent, and are the only marsupial native to the U.S. There are several ways to get rid of opossums.

Are Opossums Dangerous?

Opossums removal can seem intimidating. They have fifty sharp teeth and bear some resemblance to rodents. They can certainly look and feel quite threatening, but are they? Opossums can bite if they are provoked or if they believe their young are in danger. Female opossums carry the babies in their pouch. Older babies will often ride on the mother’s back.

They can carry rabies, although they have a lower than average risk of carrying the disease. However, they can carry and spread other diseases, including tuberculosis, Chagas, and spotted fever. They can also pass fleas on to domestic animals.

They can be dangerous for animals and don’t pose a serious threat to most pets. However, they are capable of killing chickens and other fowl. They also carry protozoal myeloencephalitis. This is a parasite that has health risks for horses.

How to Get Rid of Opossums

The good news is Opossums are solitary animals. You will likely have one opossum instead of an infestation of them. This makes handling the problem easier.

The best ways to get rid of opossums are traps and repellants. Repellants are an easier and safer DIY method, because they don’t require catching and handling the opossum. There are several types of repellants to consider.

Spray and powder repellants work based on scent and or taste. They may use capsaicin, piperine, and garlic. You can also make a homemade spray using garlic and water or hot sauce. Repellants can also resemble the scent of a predator. Fox urine is a natural option that is effective for repelling opossums.

Other types of repellants use light, sound, or water. These are motion activated. Water repellants can also be used as a sprinkler system for your lawn. they can be set on a timer or used with motion detection.

Light and sound are often used together. These are generally more alarming to the animal than water. This makes them a better choice for long term use.

However, it’s important to remember that any type of repellant isn’t a guarantee. Some animals will not be deterred, particularly if something is enticing them into your area.

Traps are generally designed to catch the opossum and release it in another area away from your home. You simply place the trap in an area the opossum frequents along with bait inside the trap. Raw eggs, cat food, and peanut butter and jelly are effective.

You’ll need to put the trap where the opossum will discover it and be careful when releasing the opossum. Check with your local wildlife office for advice on where to release the opossum.

Opossum Prevention

Removing or repelling a opossum is often a short term solution. If your land attracts them, they will be back. Since opossums are scavengers they are most often drawn by food. Trash cans without a lid and pet food are common culprits.

They are often a problem on farms as well.  Opossums will eat eggs and they can kill chickens, so you’ll need to keep your birds in a wire mesh enclosure. They also enjoy grain, birdseed, horse and livestock feed, and certain plants. Be sure to store feed in lidded containers. Don’t throw compost or food scraps outside. Opossums are happy to clean up the mess, but they are also likely to hang around.

When to Call a Professional

In many cases, you can try opossum repellants or traps as a first option. However, if you are concerned for the safety of children or animals, it’s best to call a professional immediately. Deterrents aren’t guaranteed to work, and it can take time for the opossum to vacate the area for good.

Opossums can also get into your home. They scavenge dens as they do food. They will find a burrow, woodpile, attic, or other secluded areas to call home. If a opossum is cornered it’s more likely to bite. They also release a foul-smelling fluid when they are scared, similar to a skunk. This isn’t a smell you want to linger in your home. If a opossum is inside your home, it’s best to choose professional removal.

Opossums are a part of nature’s clean up crew. They aren’t typically aggressive, but they do carry diseases that pose risks for humans and animals. In most cases, opossums can be deterred from the area or removed humanely with the help of a professional.