If you just see a possum passing through your yard, I wouldn't do anything about it, unless it becomes a chronic problem.
If you have a consistent problem with an opossum, such as one living under your shed or deck, or one frequently eating your garbage or pet food, then you ought to consider trapping and removal. Here are six step instructions for how to trap possums:
Purchase a large cage trap, at least 10x12x30, such as the Havahart 1079
Set the trap in the area where you frequently see the possum. Make sure the trap is flush with the ground. If possible, set the trap in the shade, so that it is not subject to the sun once caught.
Bait the trap with stinky, meaty bait, like cat food. However, if you are worried about catching a stray cat, then bait the trap with marshmallows.
Check the trap each morning. Don't let a poor possum suffer in a cage trap for a long time.
Pick up the trap and transport it to your relocation site. In many states it is illegal to relocate a possum if you don't have proper licensing.
Be careful when opening the cage door to release the animal. If it is too stubborn to leave the trap, you'll have to prop the door open and blow on the animal to make it scamper out.
If you are unable to effective, safely, or
legally do it yourself,
hire a professional trapper
to do it for you.
There are many people who find opossums to be quite cute, and won’t be overly concerned if they have one passing through their area for a day or two. They are however creatures that have adapted very well to living around humans, and some will often be able to scavenge enough food from human waste that they barely have to eat their normal diet. Although they are naturally transient animals that will roam extensively, this natural imperative can be overcome if they find an area where food is abundant.
Trapping And Removal
The best way to get rid of an opossum if it has started to repeatedly return to your property is to trap the animal, and then to remove it to an area a reasonable distance away from your home. Because opossums are solitary animals, once it is trapped and removed you will rarely have a problem with the same animal again, although it is possible that you may receive visits from many different animals.
There are live traps which can be bought online or at many stores, and if these are baited with ripe fruit or some cat food the opossum will usually be keen enough to wander into the trap. The opossum is not a particularly clever animal, so a rudimentary alternative can be to place some fruit or cat food into the bottom of a bin, which is placed at an angle which would prevent the animal from climbing out. Placing a stack of old books or something similar that will allow the opossum to climb in to the bin will often be enough to lure the animal in, and the angle will prevent it from being able to escape.
Removing an opossum is fairly straightforward, and the trap should be taken by car or truck at least five or six miles away from your property, and then open the cage. The opossum will leave the trap as soon as it is opened, and you will likely never see the animal again.
Pregnant Or Nursing Opossums
One period where an opossum can become a bigger problem is if the mother has recently given birth and is carrying her group of baby possums, as she will usually look for somewhere warm and safe to hang out at night with the younglings.
Attics, wall cavities and basements are all very common areas for an opossum to nest. Because they do give birth to large litters, removal can be more difficult. In this situation it is best to hire a professional wildlife removal expert.
Click here to read more about how to remove a possum in the attic
Protecting Your Property
If you are having repeated problems with different opossums coming to your property, then there are a number of things that can be done. Keeping garbage cans closed with a cord, or keeping them in a garage can be a good idea, and also ensuring that pet food is kept out of the range of the opossum. If you have an orchard or a few fruit trees, do not leave any fallen fruit on the floor as this will be a good source of food for the opossum. It is also wise to remove any low bushes or other cover if practical, as this can be something that the opossum can use as a hiding place.
In the majority of situations an opossum won’t prove to be a big problem, and because they eat all manner of insects and other pets they can often be quite beneficial. However, they can come into contact with pets and human waste, and this can lead to people needing to remove problem animals. It is usually best to do so humanely, as dealing with an opossum carcass can often be more trouble than simply removing it to another
How to Kill Opossums with Poison
How to Remove an Opossum from Inside the House
How to Get Rid of Opossums in the Roof
The opossum is a large nuisance animal, one that will leave the spaces of your roof covered in large piles of putrid waste. These animals are indiscriminate eliminators, leaving markings of their passing anywhere they travel. An opossum in the roof will be destructive and messy and should be removed as soon as possible. To remove an opossum in the roof, purchase a steel, live trap cage. Bait the cage with something meat-based and aromatic. Opossums are not known to be very intuitive, so they are fairly easy to trap. If the opossum is in your roof, you should assume it has young. This doesn’t usually present a complication as most infant opossums ride around on their mother. If you catch the mother, you will likely catch the babies. Still, knowing what situation you are getting yourself into helps. Once you have trapped the opossum, relocate the animal to an area that has natural shelter and food. Opossums are scavengers, so they are not terribly picky when it comes to meals. Because they are generally nomadic, you do not have to worry about driving miles away for relocation, though a distance of one mile is usually recommended.
How to Get Rid of Opossums Under the Deck
Opossums are wanderers, but that doesn’t mean they won’t create a living space in a safe area if one is found. If an opossum enters your property and determines it is a good, constant source of food, the next step is usually that the animal finds a spot to live inside of your home or yard. Once of the most common areas for opossums is under decks and patios. These areas are secure and quiet, affording the animal a visual of the surroundings before it ventures out. An opossum under the deck means that piles and piles of opossum waste are accumulating in that area, and opossum waste is one of the messiest substances you can find around your home. Opossums under decks are also known to harass household pets and to steal pet food. To get rid of this nuisance critter, purchase a live trap cage. Bait the cage with something aromatic, usually an item meat-based is best. The dilemma with catching an opossum that is living outside of your home is that you may catch a few other animals (like the neighbor’s cat) first. Because of this possibility, be sure to check the trap daily if not twice a day. Once you have captured the opossum, relocate it at least a mile away, in a safe area with ample food supply.
How to Get Rid of Opossums in the Yard
It’s not uncommon to have the occasional opossum wander through your yard. These animals are nomadic and opportunistic feeders. If you have garbage, compost, or pet food out, chances are you will see your fair share of hungry wildlife. An opossum in the yard isn’t an issue unless the animal has decided to stay. To prevent that from happening, keep all garbage secured in bins, compost contained in underground cavities, and keep pet food picked up after your pet is done feeding. If you feed stray cats in a rural area, you will eventually have a problem with wildlife. If the opossum in your yard has lingered too long for comfort, consider having the animal trapped and removed. Opossums outside can be tricky to catch—not because they are intelligent, but because other animals will also be drawn to the bait inside of the trap. Opossums like smelly, meat containing bait and so do a score of other animals. Be prepared to catch a cat or two. Check your cage trap regularly for this reason, and consider hiring a professional. Neighbors can be put out if their cat is caught too many times during your efforts. Some states regulate trapping, and for this reason as well, it is recommended you seek professional aid.
How to Get Rid of Opossums in the Attic
Attics are prone to a host of invaders, but few are as unpleasant as the opossum. An opossum is not only destructive, it is very messy, leaving urine and feces over the entire space it inhabits. Opossum waste is very potent, and the animal goes often enough that it does not take long for the piles to accumulate. This waste has to be removed by hand, bagged along with any affected insulation, and taken out of the attic. Attic restoration can be costly and time consuming but needs to be done after the opossum is removed. To catch the opossum, use a steel cage trap for live capture and removal. Attic opossums are easier to catch because you don’t have to worry about accidentally snagging the neighborhood cat. Bait the trap with something meaty and wait. Because they are not very intelligent, catching an opossum is relatively easy. Be sure you check with local legislation to make sure it is legal for homeowners to trap and remove opossums. If all is okay, relocate the animal and then completely seal up and patch your attic.
How to Get Rid of Opossums in the Walls
Like most home invaders, opossums are fond of living in walls. Wall damage can be expensive to fix and often requires the services of a contractor. An opossum in the wall will destroy insulation, wiring, cable and drywall. In such a tight space, opossum waste can seep out to the exterior of the wall, leaving brown stains along the base. An opossum in the wall has an entry point from the outside, whether it’s directly through the siding or through a primary location like an attic or crawl space. The first step in removal is to find the entry location. Near the entry area, where space allows, set up a baited cage trap. Opossums like meat as bait and they are considered easy to trap as far as nuisance animals are concerned. Once you have trapped your opossum, relocate it to an area where shelter is available, especially if the opossum has young attached. Go back home and seal up the entry points you found along your walls. Your last step is cleaning up the mess left by the opossum. Due to the volume of waste matter and the potential for health hazards, hiring a professional for this service is recommended.
Do You Need Help?
I wrote this website to provide information on How to Get Rid of Possums in the case that you have
a possum problem and need to make an informed decision about what to do. If you
have any questions you may email me, but I do know from experience
that possum removal is not simple. If you need professional help solving your
wildlife conflict, I recommend that you talk to a professional possum
control expert in your town by clicking on my National Wildlife Control
directory, which lists experts who I recommend in every USA city and town who can
help you with your possum issue.
Other Opossum Information & Facts
How to Keep Opossums Away
How to identify opossum tracks
What do rehabilitators do with opossum
What are ways to kill an opossum
Symptoms of a sick opossum
Opossum mating habits
Is an opossum active during the daytime sick
How to keep opossum out of your garbage
Removing a dead opossum
All about the opossum tail
Are opossums dangerous to pets