How To Get Rid of Opossums (In Your House and Yard)
Learn how to safely and effectively get rid of opossums in your house and yard in just a few steps.
Opossums can be bad news for homeowners, gardeners, and those raising chickens.
Generally they don't stick around too long unless a female opossum makes a home for her young. Under normal circumstances, opossums will meander through your yard on occasion, in search of food and water before moving on to another location.
However, for those with an inviting yard full of vegetables, fruits, plants, chickens, and even garbage or brush, this isn't always the case.
Opossums can decimate a garden or take out an entire flock of chickens in one night. If you don't garden or raise chickens, an opossum can still make a mess of your garbage, make a home in some brush, or worst case scenario - find their way into your home or garage.
Beyond the destruction opossums can bring, they do carry a number of diseases. Thankfully they don't harbor diseases that are commonly found in cats and dogs, such as parvovirus, distemper, or feline hepatitis. Opossums are also rarely found to have rabies.
However, according to The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Department,
"Opossums carry diseases such as leptospirosis, tuberculosis, relapsing fever, tularemia, spotted fever, toxoplasmosis, coccidiosis, trichomoniasis, and Chagas disease. They may also be infested with fleas, ticks, mites, and lice."
If you find an opossum is overstaying their welcome, following the tips below should eliminate the problem.
How To Get Rid of Opossums
In Your Yard
Your first line of defense should be to keep opossums out of your yard. They won't come into your house if they aren't on your property, right?
Remember, you don't have to implement all of these tactics at once. I recommend following the first few tips, and alternating between the rest if the problem persists.
Clean Up Pet Food, Trash, and Brush
Removing the food and water sources on your property will vastly cut down on the chances of an opossum sticking around.
They'll eat pretty much anything, pet food and trash included. Any brush or debris in your yard will serve as a comfortable home, especially to an opossum mother.
If you have a compost bin, make sure you secure the lid so they can't gain access to the 'delicious' scraps. The same thing applies to garbage bins.
Secure Your Chicken Coop
If you own chickens, always lock them up at dusk, and make sure there are no entry points. Opossums will feast on adult chickens, chicks, and even eggs.
Pick Fruit and Harvest Ripe Veggies
As soon as fruits or vegetables are ready to be harvested, it's best to pick them right away, as well as any fallen fruit on the ground. Leaving it would only tempt opossums to come onto your property and explore.
Spray Expel Natural Animal Repellent Spray
As the name suggests, Expel Natural Animal Repellent Spray is all-natural and completely safe for your vegetables, pets, and even people. It works to repel a variety of animals, including opossums.
Opossums have extremely sensitive noses. While it's a myth that they're blind and deaf, they do rely on their noses a great deal to navigate and find food. Spraying Expel will keep them off of your property because they can't stand the smell. What's even better is you can spray it anywhere, from your garden to your garage.
Click HERE to learn more about Expel.
Install Motion-Activated Sprinklers or Lights
This will likely not be your first option when dealing with opossums. Installing motion-activated sprinklers or lights can get expensive. However, it can be effective if you can't seem to keep them away.
The sudden light or water will scare the opossums away and deter them from coming back.
Install Solar LED Deterrent Lights
Predator Guard's Solar LED Deterrent Lights work well for nocturnal predators and pest animals. The lights are similar to that of another predator animals' glowing eyes, which will send the opossums running.
You can install them near your garden or on your coop as shown in the picture above. For more information on installing these deterrent lights, click HERE.
Hang Wind Chimes or Place A Radio Outside
Unusual noises will scare opossums off, especially when they're unsure of the source.
Hanging wind chimes or placing a radio outside both work well for keeping opossums out of your yard. The key is to alternate between the two, or change the radio station every now and then. Even static from the radio can work well!
Sprinkle Chili Powder
Opossums understandably don't like the taste or smell of chili powder. Don't worry, it won't harm them! If they get a taste, they'll be okay. They'll simply learn to stay away from the areas with chili powder sprinkled around.
The downside to this method is that you have to constantly reapply more chili flakes, especially after it rains, whereas the Expel spray is long-lasting and rain resistant.
However, if you're in a pinch, this may work temporarily!
Keep Birdfeeders Out of Reach
Opossums will raid your birdfeeders if they're within reach. If you find an opossum eating your birdseed, try moving it to a different location, or add chili powder to the feed as well.
Birds don't have capsaicin receptors, so they can't taste the heat of the chili!
You might also implement some of the tips given in this article.
Set Catch and Release Traps
The situation should not escalate to the point where you need to set catch and release traps outside, but occasionally it does happen.
Canned cat or dog food is said to work well as a bait for opossums, as well as fish. Create a short trail leading up to the trap, and place it in a location you know the opossum frequents.
Once trapped, proceed with caution. You can drape a towel or sheet around the trap to calm the animal down, and release them a couple of miles from your house.
As with most wild animal releases, you don't want to relocate the opossum too far from your home. You should take them no more than five miles away. This is far enough away that they hopefully won't make their way back to your property, but not so far that they're not able to figure out where they are or find natural sources of food and water.
In Your House
Opossums don't usually make their way into people's homes unless there's an easy entry point and a reason for them to come in: food and water.
Close and Secure Pet Doors at Night
If you have pet doors installed, be sure to close and lock them at night to prevent opossums from having an easy way in.
Of course, you'll want to close off any other easy entry points as well.
Remove Food and Water Sources
Same as with your yard, don't make the area near your home inviting for opossums. If there is pet food and water next to the front door, you'll surely attract them to make their way indoors.
If They're Already In Your Home...
The only option is to get them out. Whether the opossum is in your bathroom, your garage, or your attic, the following steps will still apply.
Open The Doors and Usher The Opossum Out
Some people are able to usher opossums out of their home by opening the doors and using a broom to gently push them in the right direction. It can be intimidating dealing with a wild animal in your home, which is why many prefer to call pest or animal control instead.
Call Pest Control or Animal Control
If you're too nervous to deal with the opossum on your own, call a local pest control company or animal control, and someone will come help you remove the animal.
Seal Off Entry Points and Implement The Tips Above
Once the opossum is out of your house, be sure to seal off any entry points so they don't find their way inside again. Implementing the tips above for keeping them out of your yard will ensure that they stay off of your property completely.
As with most cases of wild animals encroaching on your home, the best practice is to cycle through different methods to keep them on their toes. Animals are smart, they'll catch on to your tricks quickly and come back when you least expect it.
Are you dealing with opossums on your property? Do you have any questions or ideas that we didn't mention above? Let us know in the comments section below!
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