How to Get Rid of Possums: A Complete Guide
Introduction to Possums and their Behavior
Possums, also known as opossums, are nocturnal animals that are commonly found in North America. They have a distinctive appearance, with gray or brown fur, long pointed snouts, and hairless, prehensile tails. Despite their somewhat intimidating appearance, possums are generally docile creatures that prefer to avoid confrontation.
Possums are opportunistic feeders, and their diet includes insects, fruits, vegetables, and even small animals like mice and birds. They are also known to scavenge from garbage cans and compost piles.
Possums are known for their unique defense mechanism of “playing dead” when they feel threatened. This involves the possum falling to the ground, appearing lifeless, and emitting a foul-smelling odor. This behavior is an involuntary response to stress and is meant to deter predators.
Understanding the behavior and habits of possums is crucial for effectively managing any infestations or problems they may cause on your property.
Signs of Possum Infestation and Damage
Possums can cause a variety of problems when they infest your property. They are known to raid gardens and garbage cans, damage crops, and even damage homes and buildings.
Here are some signs that you may have a possum infestation:
Noise: Possums are nocturnal creatures, so you may hear scratching, rustling, or other noises at night.
Tracks: Possums leave distinctive tracks, which can help you identify their presence.
Damage: Possums can cause damage to crops, gardens, and homes. They may also create holes or burrows in the ground.
Droppings: Possum droppings are typically small and cylindrical, and can be found in areas where the animals have been active.
Smell: As mentioned earlier, possums emit a foul odor when they feel threatened. If you notice a strong, unpleasant smell, it could be a sign of a possum infestation.
If you suspect that you have a possum infestation, it’s important to take action as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your property.
Non-Lethal Ways to Remove Possums from Your Property
If you have a possum problem on your property, there are several non-lethal methods you can use to remove them. These methods are humane and safe for both the possums and other wildlife in your area.
Live Traps: Live traps are a popular option for removing possums from your property. These traps are designed to capture the possum without harming it, allowing you to relocate it to a more suitable location.
Repellents: There are several possum repellents available on the market that use natural ingredients like peppermint oil or predator urine to keep possums away from your property. These can be effective in deterring possums from entering your property.
Fence Installation: Installing a fence around your property can be an effective way to keep possums out. Make sure the fence is tall enough to prevent the possum from jumping over it and that it is buried deep enough in the ground to prevent the possum from digging under it.
Habitat Modification: Modifying the habitat around your property can also be effective in deterring possums. Removing food sources like pet food or fallen fruit and sealing off potential entry points like gaps in your roof or under your porch can make your property less attractive to possums.
It’s important to note that possums are protected under some state and local laws, so it’s essential to research your local regulations before attempting to remove possums from your property.
Lethal Methods to Control Possum Populations
In some cases, non-lethal methods may not be enough to control possum populations. When this happens, there are several lethal methods that can be used to remove possums from your property.
Shooting: Shooting possums is a common method used by hunters and landowners to control their populations. However, it’s important to note that in many states, it’s illegal to kill possums without a permit.
Trapping and Euthanasia: Trapping and euthanizing possums is another option for controlling their populations. This method involves using lethal traps to capture the possums and then humanely euthanizing them.
Poisoning: Poisoning possums is generally not recommended, as it can also harm other wildlife in the area. Additionally, possums are known to scavenge for food, which means that other animals may also consume the poison.
It’s important to note that many lethal methods for controlling possum populations are highly regulated and may require a permit or license. Before using any lethal methods, make sure to research your local regulations and obtain any necessary permits or licenses.
Preventing Possums from Returning to Your Property
Once you have successfully removed possums from your property, it’s important to take steps to prevent them from returning. Here are some preventative measures you can take:
Secure Garbage Cans: Possums are attracted to garbage, so it’s important to secure your garbage cans with tight-fitting lids or bungee cords.
Clean Up Fallen Fruit: Possums are also attracted to fruit trees and fallen fruit. Make sure to clean up any fallen fruit regularly.
Seal Entry Points: Possums can enter your home through small gaps or openings. Seal any potential entry points, such as gaps in your roof or under your porch.
Install Motion-Activated Lights: Motion-activated lights can be effective in deterring possums from entering your property.
Trim Trees and Bushes: Possums can use overhanging branches and bushes as a way to access your property. Keep trees and bushes trimmed to prevent possums from using them as a pathway.
By taking these preventative measures, you can help ensure that possums do not return to your property in the future.