If you step out on the terrace for a morning cup of coffee and see ripped-out grass and small holes in your backyard, it’s safe to assume that it’s the work of an animal. Depending on where you live, it’s possible that a possum is to blame.
These animals are mostly known for feigning death when threatened, but they’re sometimes known as home invaders and pests. Read on to learn do possums dig holes, how to identify possum holes in your yard and how to keep them away from your home.
- 1. Keep Lids on Compost Bins and General Waste
- 2. Erect Fences
- 3. Keep Gardens Tidy
- 4. Block or Repair Damaged Entry Points
- 5. Use Repellents or Traps
Identifying Possum Holes in Yard and Garden
Possum holes are usually small and the grass around them is ripped out. These holes are difficult to recognize though, as they’re indistinguishable from holes other animals make.
What Attracts Possums to Your Yard?
Food! Food is the only thing attracting animals to your yard and they wouldn’t invade it if they didn’t have a stable source of food. For possums, that includes fruits and vegetables in an orchard or vegetable patch.
They’ll eat anything from berries to apples and vegetables. If you have a rich garden and plenty of natural insects, possums will have another reason to spend time in your garden as they’re omnivores.
Possums are capable of killing and eating anything from small insects (in fact, they’re useful as they eat 95% of ticks they encounter) to snakes and rabbits.
They also feed on fish and are capable of catching fish out of the water, which you should be wary of if you have a pond in your yard.
On top of eating ticks, possums also eat slugs and snails, which makes them beneficial animals in the garden.
They also have immunity to several snake toxins and they often feed on venomous snakes, making them great protectors of the garden if you live in an area with venomous snakes.
Aside from eating animals, fruits, and vegetables in your garden, they’re also attracted to garbage cans, compost piles, bird feeders, and pet food. In this regard, they’re very similar to raccoons, which are well-known for invading homes.
When Do Possums Dig Holes?
Possums dig very rarely – they’re arboreal animals and they spend more time in bushes and trees than they do on the ground. Even when they have to find a shelter for winter – they don’t dig. Instead, they invade another animal’s burrow, and it’s not uncommon for them to kill and eat the animal in question.
Since they’re mostly nocturnal animals, you most likely won’t actually see the possum wreaking havoc in your yard and garden. Because of this, deterring methods don’t include you applying them directly to the animal.
Why Do Possums Dig Holes?
The only motivation behind a possum digging holes is food. Like all animals, they follow the line of least resistance, but in case easy food and prey aren’t available, they’ll resort to digging.
Right below the ground, they can easily find earthworms, while they’re also known for digging out young plants as they feed on tubers. Because of this, many gardeners see them as pests.
It’s important to note that this behavior isn’t common, as there’s plenty of easily-attainable food in your yard that doesn’t require digging into the soil. For example, a possum will rather dig around your garbage cans than around your garden.
Where Do Possums Dig Holes?
Possums can dig holes in almost any type of soil that isn’t too tough. Here are a few examples.
The reason a possum is digging on your lawn is to find earthworms and other small animals that are found right below the surface. This isn’t a long-term strategy, as it usually means that the possum is hungry and unable to find any other food.
Aside from moles, small animals found below the ground don’t provide the possum with many calories and they would need to dig up hundreds of earthworms to warrant a full meal.
Gardens are a great source of food for possums as there are plenty of roots and vegetables to feed on. Carrots, for example, are a particular favorite.
3. Under Houses
If a possum is digging below your house it’s definitely to kill and eat something it found. Since they’re not burrowing animals, you don’t have to worry that they’re building a burrow under your house.
Chances are there’s a snake or some other animal with a burrow under your house. In this case, the possum will kill it and eat it.
4. Under Fences
It’s rare to see a possum digging under a fence for any other reason than looking for food. Possums are great climbers and if they want to get into your yard, they’ll climb the fence – not dig below it.
5. Under Decking
The space below the deck is usually full of tiny animals, most often rodents, which are great prey for possums. Their hunting abilities are often underestimated, but they can easily kill mice, which are incredibly common below decks.
This is actually a good thing because mice attract foxes and other potentially dangerous animals, such as snakes.
How to Prevent Possums Digging Holes for Good
The best way to stop possum holes in the yard from appearing is by making your yard unappealing to possums, while also using repellents. Here’s how!
1. Keep Lids on Compost Bins and General Waste
This is by far the most important practice to implement – the smell of waste is incredibly appealing to possums, but also to raccoons, mice, and other animals that will invade your home.
Unlike humans, these animals are capable of processing rotten food and they’ll gladly dig through your trash and eat it.
They’re also attracted to compost piles and rotting organic matter. Although a possum won’t eat rotting branches and leaves, they know that earthworms, millipedes, and insects will.
By following the scent trail, a possum will find your compost pile and feed on those organisms that speed up the process of decomposition.
2. Erect Fences
Although fences are a valid solution against many animals, chances are your fence is useless against possums. Just like raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, and even mountain lions – these animals are great climbers and they’ll climb over the fence, no matter how tall it is.
Unfortunately, a fence will help with many animals, but unless you install an electric fence, it won’t keep possums at bay.
3. Keep Gardens Tidy
Although keeping your garden free from leaves, branches, and other organic debris has no direct effect on possums as they don’t feed on it, there is an indirect effect.
An untidy garden is a great place for the development of smaller organisms, such as insects. Insects attract other animals, such as frogs, snakes, and mice, and that makes your garden a great feeding spot for a possum.
Fruit of any kind is very attractive to possums, so you have to clean your garden regularly. Firewood also has to be cared for, as a firewood pile makes an excellent nest for possums.
4. Block or Repair Damaged Entry Points
Very simply put – if there’s a gaping hole in your fence and your garden is left unprotected, you’ll quickly have an infestation of all sorts of animals, especially if you live in a rural area.
Although possums don’t really need an entry point to get into your garden, keeping an open entry point is encouraging them and all other wildlife to see your home as a breeding and feeding ground.
5. Use Repellents or Traps
Traps are very effective with possums as they’re not wary of them – the most effective traps are so-called box traps that catch live animals. You can also use snapping traps that kill the animal that activates them, but since possums aren’t dangerous, killing them isn’t necessary.
You can find these traps in stores.
A very useful improvised repellent is a motion-activated sprinkler! Just like all animals, possums don’t like to have water sprayed at them and this is an easy way of repelling them.
You can also use various commercial repellents advertised for skunks and similar vermin – they’re usually based on garlic, hot sauce, or something else that’s uncomfortable to the taste. Most of these repellents have to be applied to the plants frequented by possums.
You may like to read How To Get Rid Of Possums In Your Home Or Yard
FAQ Do Possums Dig Holes
Final Thoughts on Possum Holes in Yard
Although this behavior is rare, possums dig holes in the ground to catch insects and earthworms. However, you’ll likely find them digging around your trash cans rather than around your garden.
They’re great climbers, so they’re difficult to defend from with a fence. Instead, make your yard unappealing by keeping it clean with no possum food available.
Repellents and traps can also work well while blocking entry points to decks will keep them from establishing a nest there.