Last Updated On December 7, 2020
How To Get Rid Of Possums In A Nice Way
Checking out the enemy
You have a problem. You have discovered that something new has taken up residence on your property. It’s not the typical pests that households regularly encounter, so momentarily, this critter has you on the back foot.
Pretty soon, you work it out; you have a resident, Possum. So how do you now how to get rid of a possum in backyard.
You decide to look it up on the Internet and check out the implications. This may lead you to be even more confused as there are mixed feelings about Possums.
The great debate and one that should be discussed
The humane society starts the debate by telling you that Possums are not much of a problem and are often accused of doing things they never actually did.
That they are no threat to humans, so you should welcome them, or at the very worst deter them, so they move on. They may seem scary when they crouch there with their mouth open and hissing at you, but it’s just a bluff.
If that fails, they usually switch to plan B and pretend they are dead. Fighting is pretty low on their agenda.
Then, of course, the Pest or Opossum Control companies chip in their point of view, which is that they should all be killed, done away with, exterminated! But there again, they would say that, wouldn’t they?
Understanding the Enemy
Possums are not a Rodent like rats; they are the only Marsupial in the USA. They are smallish wild animals and can reach 13lbs. Possums that have become urbanized have become decidedly fatter than their country-cousins.
They are not fussy about what they eat, so the city is a great place to live if you are a Possum. So many scraps left lying around, so when they come out at night for a mooch-around, they have a choice of Possum delicacies.
You can find Possums at all times during the year, only if the weather is terrible will they stay put and shelter.
They have four big enemies and man is top of the list of animals that they would rather avoid. Following behind man, the other four animals that kill Possums are Bobcats, Coyotes, and Raccoons.
Fortunately, for the Possums, they breed quite quickly so they can replace their numbers easily. A Possum can have as many as three litters a year of between 6 and 25 young.
Typically it’s between 6 and 9. If there are more than 13 young, then there is a problem because the female only has 13 teats, so some will not survive.
The one thing that people do know about Possums is that if threatened, they will often play dead so that the aggressor goes away.
The fact that at the same time they emit a disgusting odor probably makes this more effective. Who wants to eat THAT smelly thing?
Time to pass judgment
Okay, you have checked out what Possums do, and you have to decide what you are going to do about it. Are you going to welcome your new neighbor and get along with them, or do you prefer to make it clear that they are not wanted and send them on their way?
The case for the prosecution: If a Possum gets into your home, they will likely want to make some modifications to make it more Possum friendly, and they are not hygienic about where they leave their droppings.
They can also carry diseases like tuberculosis, leptospirosis, and a whole bunch more.
The defense stands up and says: One thing to add in favor of the Possum before you pass sentence is that they are great for keeping down the population of cockroaches, rats, snakes, and ticks.
A recent study found that just one Possum can kill around 5,000 ticks a year.
The sentence is passed
You have decided to get rid of the Possums and they have got to go. So now you have to look at possible solutions that will make that happen.
The fact that Possums are pretty wary of people, and come out only when they think they are safe from interruption from those nasty humans, they are harder to find.
They are pretty smart that way and work out your household routine and plan their activities around it.
So why did the Possums choose your property as their new home? Well, it is probably because you are offering lots of enticements without realizing it.
There are four things that the Possum is looking for in a desirable residence, and those are
- Food, Garbage Cans and Pet Food
- Absence of Predators
Possums are not choosy and can find a variety of potential foods around your property. Garbage cans are a regular delight for Possums and so is pet food.
“It’s so kind of these humans to put all this food out for us every night,” so use garbage cans with lockable lids.
Possums are bright enough just to knock the lid off if they are not fixed, especially if the garbage can is placed next to something they can climb.
That bird table stacked high with birdseed is another attractive pet food restaurant for Possums. They will also just love any fruit that has fallen from your trees.
So think again about that bird table and make sure that you pick up fruit that has fallen to the ground. That compost bin may also contain some goodies for the Possum, so make sure that it also has a lockable lid.
If you have a creek running alongside your garden or maybe a beautiful decorative pond, you are providing the Possums with an enormous water supply.
Even the dog’s water bowl is a very convenient place for a drink. Oh yes, do not forget that cute birdbath too.
The Possum has a variety of predators, as we said earlier. It also has annoying creatures that can be irritating, like your family pets. Most cats agree with Possums, and they don’t get too close out of mutual fear.
Dogs, however, can kill a Possum and are more of a threat. So you Possum is going to be looking for somewhere that will give him some cover and protection from these larger animals.
Hiding behind a pile of firewood stacked against a shed is perfect. So take a look around your property and move things that could be used for shelter.
Having done your best to deny the Possum, Food, water, and shelter; hopefully, the Possum will get the message and move on to a more desirable residence.
Or, he may just be plain stubborn, and you will need to make it even more inhospitable. Movement detectors are great, as they stand guard over your property when the Possum thinks you are sleeping. They can be connected to floodlights, sirens, or motion activated garden sprinklers.
The Possum is smart and will possibly realize quite soon that the light is not a problem and that annoying siren is just irritating and not a threat.
They will never be happy if they get soaked by a sprinkler every time they venture out, and that might just do the trick.
One final strategy is to put decoy predators around the place. This is sure to spook the animal and may well be enough to move him on, especially if the decoy moves or is placed in different areas.
The Nuclear option
We Do Not condone the harming of any animals, only think of the the following method of a ways to get rid of Possums if all else has failed and if it is legal to do so in your State, Territory or Jursitiction.
This method is illegal in Australia but due to the U.S audience we feel it can be mentioned here as a last resort.
If you have a particularly stubborn Possum or you just don’t have the patience for all this deterrence, then you may choose to go for a lethal solution.
The only way of humanely killing a Possum is to shoot it in the head so that it dies instantly. If you are not used to handling firearms, I would not recommend this method for safety reasons.
According to “Professional Wildlife Removal,” a nationwide network of specialists in trapping wildlife, including the Possums, is the most straightforward animal to trap.
But of course, once you have caught it, you need to let it go somewhere well away from your property.
By the time you have paid for the trap, and driven the captured Possums out into the wild, it may be better to call in a professional.
Do not call regular Pest Control who regularly work with insects and rodents; Possums are something entirely different so you may need to get an Opossum Control agent in as they would have honed in the best way to get rid of furry company.
Oh No! They are inside the house
Having a Possum in your yard is one thing and so is how to get rid of a possum in backyard. Having breach past your motion activated alarms and move into your house is a much more serious issue and does present a health risk, and the potential for damage to your property.
First steps to get rid of Possums from your house is to get rid of all food, waste, trash cans leading to your house.
Close entry points and even send out some food locations far from your property for them to procure their meals.
You need to be sure that the Possum is not at home when you seal off entry to your house. The best way is to do this at night when the Possum has gone outside to do its rounds.
Close up all spaces that could be used as an entry point to make sure he cannot get back in. This, combined with the deterrents we talked about earlier, should result in the Possum just moving on somewhere more hospitable.
Like the great Beatles Once Said
At the end of the day there is one last resort, one last hail mary you could try which is said to work 100% of the time.
Some may not like it but the related articles and idea revolves around the lyrics of the great band The Beatles and that is:
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
Not to get all warm and fluffy, but the amount of time effort and money ive spent trying and mostly failing at rehoming possums i really dont have enough fingers on my hand to count.
Once day I saw the Momma possum carrying all her babies and then on the spot I decided to wave the white flag and call a truce, today we wont get rid but we share.
In certain lights, possums are cute as heck, just not at night. But ever since ive kept the Possum and built a small possum home out the back.
Its basically a timber flagpole with a box that I use to house food such as carrots, pineapples and apples for the Possum family.
Its near their own trees so now theres no real need for them to get close to my living quarters. Give this a go if all else fails, who knows you may end up enjoying the extra company and give them all names like I have, but im a bit eccentric.
True story, when I was about 6 years old I had my first encounter with a feral Possum. The thing looked real cute, all fluffy and wide eyed.
Well at that age the first thing your going to do (and I did) was try and feed and pet the wild animals like it was my pet Kitten.
The Possum must have had a bad day because 30 years later I still cringe when thinking about how deep its claws went into slicing up my arm and even worse the hospital visit and tetanus shot that came after.
The real secret way to get rid of Possums is to ensure that your property does not offer food in trash cans or pet food, get rid of garbage cans, water, and shelter before the Possum comes along.
In North America, this is quite a common to remove all trash from the front yard as bigger animals like domesticated bears tend to forage for food in trash bins that smell so fine to them.
Decoys and things like sprinklers added to your lack of hospitality may also ensure that your passing Possum chooses somewhere else to set up home.
If worst comes to worse always consult a professional like Opossum control, but at the end of the day all the Possum wants is a beautiful easy life. Check out the related articles and sources below.