Maryland and Delaware

Opossum Removal

Compared to other wildlife pests, opossums are not particularly dangerous creatures. Although they carry diseases, they will rarely bite and scratch anything that confronts them, choosing instead to either hiss or, if placed under extreme stress, play dead. Additionally, their prehensile tail makes them very nimble when climbing trees, fences, or walls to escape predators rather than fight back.

But despite their gentle nature, they will, like any other mammal, invade homes or gardens in search of food or shelter. This is especially likely during the winter months, as opossums do not hibernate as they cannot store fat in the same way as other creatures. As a result, they can be a nuisance in yards and will find shelter in the attics of homes, underneath porches, inside sheds, etc.

​Fortunately, however, they do not have a habit of digging, clawing, or gnawing their way through materials like other pests, for example, gophers, bats, or squirrels. This means they are highly unlikely to cause any lasting damage to your home. But because they carry diseases, they still need to be removed safely and properly by taking the following steps:

  • A thorough physical inspection of the exterior of your home to find any gaps the opossums might be using to get inside. Note that it might be worth trying to observe them entering or exiting to confirm this, which is best done at night as opossums are nocturnal.
  • If you know the opossums are in your attic or under your porch, you may be able to remove them using snare poles. In particular, keep an eye out for an adult female, as this will mean you need to also look for any baby opossums, called joeys, and remove them too.

 

  • In some cases, preventative measures can be enough to get rid of the opossums, especially if you are only dealing with one or two rather than an entire colony. Unlike some other mammals, opossum prevention revolves around removing access to the shelter or food sources to make your home unattractive for them.
  • For food, keep all trash stored in some sort of container, clear any fallen fruit from your garden or yard, store pet food in secured containers the opossums cannot get to. To keep opossums from your home, seal up any gaps you may have found in your external assessment using metal mesh-like steel as the opossums cannot get through it. Also, consider trimming back tree branches that may be providing access to your roof.
  • Laying traps is also an option, although you may need help from a professional. Depending on the size of the infestation, you may need to use several traps. Make sure to set them in commonly used areas or paths the opossums use and avoid using meat-based baits as you may accidentally attract something else instead.

 

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