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
Learn more About opossums
biology including why do Opossums play dead
, and how big opossums get
. Learn, too, all about the opossum tail
. We have information about whether or not it is safe to handle an opossum with bare hands
. Learn about the dangers surrounding opossum feces
as well as urine
, as well as some of the symptoms of a sick opossum
and what diseases
opossums may carry. We can also answer the question: Is an opossum that is active during the daytime sick or rabid?
. Learn about opossum mating habits
and their typical habitats
, and What is a opossum’s natural diet, and how does it get its food?
My years of expertise can help you figure out general Opossum Prevention
, as well as How To Get Rid of Opossum
if one has already found its way to your property. We can also answer questions about How To Trap a Opossum
, and if it is legal for me to trap an opossum
. Read about What equipment is needed to trap an opossum?
, What Bait Catches Opossum
, where should you relocate a trapped possum
, and an analysis of different Opossum Repellents
, and if a high pitch sound deterrent machine work against opossums
. We also get a lot of questions about whether or not mothballs or ammonia help repel opossums
and offer our advice. Learn, too, What should I do with an opossum after I catch it?
. I've seen it all, so I can even offer specific advice about what to do if you find Opossum in the Attic
and How to get opossums out of your attic
, what do do about Opossum on the Roof
and Opossum Under a Shed or Deck
, even Opossum in Your House
. If you think you might have an opossum under your shed
, will help you decide if an opossum is what you're dealing with, and if an opossum under a shed or porch have a nest of babies
. We also have information about How to get opossums out from inside a wall
, and what to do if you find a Dead Opossum
. If the critter hasn't yet made it's way into your domicile, we have advice about How to keep Opossums out of my garden
, or garbage cans
One question we often get is How to Kill a Opossum
, as well as humane ways to kill an opossum
, and whether this is the best approach. Learn about Opossum Poison
and what might be legal in your state, and if it is even a good option
Here is some info about Baby Opossum
, and what to do if you find an orphaned baby opossum
or a nest of baby opossums
, as well as whether or not you should feed a baby opossum
No doubt these creatures are a nuisance - learn more here about what diseases do opossums carry
. It's important to protect yourself and your family by learning how to keep opossums away from your property
, as well as learning What attracts opossums
so you can better safeguard your home. Take steps now to prevent significant damage
later. We can answer questions as to whether or not a pest control company remove Opossum
, as well as if you should hire a pro or attempt to remove Opossums yourself
. We have information about Will the city or county animal services help me with an Opossum issue?
. We've even been asked if opossums make good pets
Learn more about oppossums through these links:
- How to find and remove a dead oppossum in or on your property
- What is the best bait to use to trap an opossum
Opossum in attic
- How to get rid of opossums in your attic
- What to do if an opossum got in your house
- What do wildlife rehabilitators do with opossums?
- What are some ways to kill a opossum in the yard?
- How to clean up opossum feces you find in your home
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!