opportunistic, common, and great survivors. They will scavenge
what they can, and often eat human garbage, pet food, etc. Possums
are great climbers, and they will live in any shelter they can
find, including the attics of homes, or underneath elevated
houses, sheds, porches, etc. They may look threatening, but they
are usually fairly docile. It is common to find the little ones in
the summer, after they have dropped off of mama's back.
COMMON PROBLEMS: Opossums are nocturnal, largely
nomadic, and common on urban areas. They are highly adaptable,
and can live almost anywhere and eat almost anything. Thus
they often use human shelter and food sources. They are gentle
animals, for the most part, but can defend themselves if
necessary - if they don't "play possum", that is. Female
opossums can have two litters per year, and often seek out
attics or under buildings to have a safe place while the
young, clinging to mama possums's back, grow. They cause some
of the following problems:
- Breaking into an attic, and setting up a nest
- Crawling under a shed, porch, or deck and living there
- Eating from garbage cans, pet food, bird seed, etc.
- Depositing feces in swimming pool, on porch, yard, etc.
- Concern about a sick or rabid opossum on property.
- Dead opossum under building, in attic, in yard, etc.
OPOSSUM IN THE ATTIC: Yes, this does happen quite
frequently (see photo to left and below), and this is a very
complex case. This almost always involves an adult female with
baby possums. The baby opossums usually cling to their mother,
but they drop off one by one as they grow, and it's very
common for small ones to rome around in the attic, and fall
down walls or other cavities. There they will call out with a
kind of chirping call, and if not removed, will die and cause
an odor problem. Here are the general steps for removing
opossums from an attic.
- Step 1: Inspect the home, and find the entry hole(s),
which are very large and obvious.
- Step 2: Enter the attic. If you find the adult female,
catch her via snare pole.
- Step 3: Search the attic carefully, and find and remove
any baby possums by hand.
- Step 4: If you couldn't find and remove them all (very
hard to do), you will have to set traps. This is pretty much
the only species for which traps in the attic will be
- Step 5: Once they are all out, repair the entry holes with
- Step 6: Clean the attic, removing all feces, and spray
with enzyme cleaner.
GENERAL OPOSSUM TRAPPING: Opossum trapping is
subject to state laws regarding capture and relocation or
euthanization of wildlife. If you have unwanted possums
outside the home, in some cases, the only fix is to trap and
remove the nuisance wildlife. We can safely, legally, and
effectively catch and remove your nuisance opossums. Trapping
is an art, and most amateur attempts go awry for a variety of
reasons. An intimate knowledge of opossum behavior, both prior
to and after trapping, and of various opossum trap types is
necessary to ensure that the possum is trapped and removed
- STEP 1: Determine if trapping is necessary, or if there is
a preventative alternative.
- STEP 2: Select the right trap for the situation, of at
least a dozen types of opossum traps.
- STEP 3: Set the traps in the correct areas, in the shade,
camouflaged, on a flat sturdy surface, away from any
obstructions or areas that can be damaged, etc.
- STEP 4: Use the correct bait. Don't use meat-based baits,
which can attract stray cats.
- STEP 5: Monitor the trap daily, remove trapped opossums
(carefully!) & transport them.
ATTIC DECONTAMINATION & OTHER SERVICES: In some
situations, it may be desirable to clean your attic after
you've removed opossums from the space. They can leave behind
large amounts of droppings, urine, hair, oils, food, nesting
material, and so on. These remnants can attract insects like
cockroaches, and the scent left behind can encourage new
possums to attempt to chew or break their way into your house.
You might also experience odor problems from the waste. It's
possible or likely that mold will grow on the areas of feces
and urine, and urine can damage wood or sheetrock. Some of the
mold can potentially cause diseases that people can catch, and
some of the feces themselves can cause diseases, such as
Salmonella or Leptospirosis. It's also adviseable to repair
any torn ductwork in an attic, along with any torn pipe
insulation or chewed electrical wires.
- We remove or vacuum all droppings, or remove all the
- We fog the attic with a special enzyme-based cleaner that
destroys any organic matter and deodorizes the space.
- We repair damage, such as ductwork, electrical wires,
pipes, insulation, and more.
The above is just a brief explanation of some of our possum removal
and control methods. I haven't even addressed the dozens of other
potential cases that we deal with, from opossums under a shed, to
dead opossum removal, to dealing with a sick or dangerous opossum
situation, etc. I will describe additional opossum information
below, but just give us a call any time, and we can describe in
detail how we will resolve your specific opossum problem in your
How To Get Rid of Opossum
and steps for getting rid of opossums.
How To Trap a Opossum
- Methods for
catching opossum in cage traps.
Opossum in the Attic
- Info about
what to do if you have opossum in the attic.
How to Kill a Opossum
- Does poison
work to kill opossum? Is killing opossum the best approach?
- Pictures of opossum
poop and info about danger, and diseases from opossum droppings.
Preventative methods for how to keep opossum away from your
- Analysis of
various opossum deterrents and repellent products.
What Bait Catches Opossum
kind of food do you put in a trap to catch a opossum?
Opossum on the Roof
- If you hear
scratching on the roof, and think it's a opossum.
Opossum Under a Shed or Deck
Sometimes opossum will dig under or live under a shed or deck.
- What are the
available types of opossum poison? Are they legal?
- Removal of a dead
opossum in the house or on the property.
Diseases from Opossum
of what kinds of diseases opossum can carry and cause in humans.
- Information about
opossum pee, and the dangers or diseases of opossum urine.
- Photos and
information about baby opossums.
Opossum in Your House
- Tips on how
to get a opossum out of hour house.
Should I feed a baby opossum I found?
Is opossum feces dangerous to touch or
What equipment is needed to trap an
What diseases do opossums carry?
How to find and remove a dead opossum
Is an opossum that is active during
the daytime sick or rabid?
What kind of damage do opossums cause
in an attic or under a house?
What should I do with an opossum after I
What are some humane ways to kill a
opossum in a cage?
Is it safe to handle an opossum with bare
What is the best bait to trap a possum?
What should I do if I find an orphaned
How to keep opossums away from your
What attracts opossums?
How to get opossums out of your attic
How to get rid of opossums in the attic
Will a pest control company remove Opossum?
Should I hire a Pro or remove Opossums myself?
How to get opossums out from under a shed or porch
Should I ever poison a opossum?
Why do Opossums play dead?
Do opossums make good pets?
What should I do if I find a nest of baby opossums?
Do mothballs or ammonia help repel opossums?
What is a opossum’s mating habits?
Where do opossums live?
Is it legal for me to trap an opossum?
Will the city or county animal services help me with an Opossum issue?
What if an opossum got inside my house?
How to keep Opossums out of my garden
How to keep opossums out of my garbage cans
How to use one-way exclusion funnels to remove opossums
What is a opossum’s natural diet, and how does it get its food?
What are some ways to kill a opossum in the yard?
What do wildlife rehabilitators do with opossums?
How to get opossums out from inside a wall
Where should I relocate a trapped possum?
All about the opossum tail
Will a high pitch sound deterrent machine work against opossums?
How big do opossums get?
What are some of the symptoms of a sick opossum?
Will an opossum under a shed or porch have a nest of babies?
How do you know if you have an opossum under your shed or porch?
Virginia Opossum Biology and Information
The scientific term for this mammal is didelphis virginiana and
they’re the only marsupial that is indigenous to North America. They
are scavengers that have pointed snouts and long naked tails. They
are very diverse and adaptable animals able to set up nests and dens
in many different environments.
- These animals generally weigh about twelve pounds,
some a little lighter and others a couple of pounds heavier. Many
people describe them as looking like large rats and this is quite
accurate. They have a prehensile tail and more teeth than any mammal
and are very short lived, generally less than three years. Some
people don’t realize they have very dexterous front paws and that
they have opposable thumbs. When confronted they will often stand
their ground and if they feel threatened they have even been known
to keel over as though they passed out or died. This is where the
phrase ‘playing possum’ comes from. They are omnivores and as such
they have an extremely large range of items on their menu. They will
dine on dead animals, bugs, pet food, garbage, bird nests and
anything in between. They are also nocturnal creatures so do their
foraging at night. One little known fact about these mammals is that
they are known to have outstanding immunity systems. They have full
immunity to many different types of venom from deadly snakes
especially those in the pit viper family.
Life Cycle And Reproduction
- These animals are marsupials
and this means they give birth to tiny babies that crawl along their
fur to live in their pouch for some time. They have had as large of
litters as thirteen but more often have numbers in the four to seven
ranges; at least that survive to the stage outside the pouch. Inside
the pouch they attach to a teat where they feed for the next seventy
days before they are start to get weaned. After which they ride
around with mom and learn to forage before going off on their own.
- The Virginia Opossum is a highly adaptable
creature, able to make homes in many different environments. When
their range is outside of an urban population they will create their
homes in tree hollows, rotted logs and other burrows. They will
scavenge off of dead animals, road kill and river banks. They can
climb up trees and are quite agile when moving about. If living
closer to a population of people they will have a tendency to look
for easy access to shelter in buildings. Sheds, attics and barns are
particular favorites for them to return to and create a nest.
Common Diseases Possums Can Spread
- These mammals don’t
often carry rabies as many people assume, in fact being far less
likely than a wild dog. They are harbingers of many other problems,
though. These may come in the form of worms and other parasites that
will get passed through their feces. They will also carry mites,
fleas and ticks in their fur which these parasites come with a host
of health problems. Both Salmonella and Leptospirosis can be carried
and spread through their droppings as well.
Common Nuisance Complaints
- It is not unusual for people to
complain about these animals finding their way under a home and
making a nest. They will steal cat food and tip over rubbish bins to
feed off of the trash from people’s homes. It’s not uncommon for one
to make a nest in the garage or attic and cause quite a bit of
destruction this way. Where ever they set up a nest area they will
also set up a bathroom area. This can cause a host of problems in
the form of harmful bacteria carried in their droppings. The
chemicals can also rot flooring or ceilings depending on where they
have decided to nest.
Opossum diseases – an analysis
- Although the rather strange looking marsupial, the
opossum, is not a creature that you normally associate with rabies,
as you would with many other wild animals, especially if you have
pets of your own to deal with, it can still carry a large amount of
diseases, most of which can prove to be rather deadly for humans –
adult and children alike. It is wise to know about the dangers and
concerns, especially if you have fallen prey to an opossum invasion
before, and this is very much so the case if you have other animals
living in your home, or children to watch out for at the same time.
Common possum diseases
- Among the most popular disease that
you will find with the opossum are toxoplasmosis, spotted fever,
trichomoniasis, relapsing fever and leptospirosis. Rabies is not a
concern, as we have mentioned, simply because the body temperature
of the animal is rather low, creating an environment that the virus
cannot usually survive in. You will also have to be careful of
mites, fleas and ticks, especially if you have cats, dogs and other
- for example, is a very dangerous disease to
humans, both adults and children alike, and although is a disease
usually carried by cats, (which is why you should ensure that the
opossum and cat never come into contact with each other) can be
passed over by an opossum. Contaminated food and soil are the usual
culprits here, so if you have an opossum in your home, or food
growing in your yard, you should avoid eating them if you have
noticed a presence of this animal.
- is again, a rather unfriendly bacterial
infection that humans can get, usually from contaminated water. If
you think that your new opossum addition could have peed anywhere
near the water you would use to drink, wash, or clean with, you need
to do something about it urgently. Nasty symptoms, including nausea,
muscle pains and spasms, headaches and fevers are associated with
this disease, and they normally come along around ten days after
first infection. The moral of the story is if you have an opossum
invasion – get wildlife professional to fix it. Although the chances
of your opossum having these diseases is rare, there is a still a
chance that it could happen!