For many people, having a possum take up residence in their backyard is a real thing…and a real problem.
These nocturnal animals are generally safe around people and pets but they carry the risk of spreading disease and causing serious damage to property.
When looking to get rid of a possum in your home or yard, you can do so humanely while keeping your family safe from danger. So let’s, first of all, cover how to get rid of possums.
- Evidence Of Possums Feeding
- Possum Tracks
- Possum Droppings
- Strange Sounds
- Visible Damage To Property
- Lawn Damage
- Attacking Pets Or Livestock
- Possums In Your Attic
- Possums Under Your House
- Possums Inside The Wall Cavity
- Possums In Your Chimney
- Possums In Your Trash Can
- Possums In Your Yard Or Garden
- Possums Under Decking
- Possums Visiting The Chicken Coop
Getting Rid Of Possums Humanely
Like any pest, you will want to remove the possums from your home or yard. However, there are ways of doing so without killing or harming the animals.
Possum Deterrents And Repellents
These options cater specifically to possums and similar animals.
Rodent Repellent Spray
While possums aren’t technically rodents, rodent repellent spray can still work. Most rodent repellent spray is peppermint oil spray with additives, so any rodent product that uses peppermint as the main ingredient will work for your home or yard. This option is safe for your animals while also repelling mice, rats, raccoons, and ants.
When using the repellent, spray along the edges of gardens, along any entrance or exit, and around spaces with livestock. Keep using the product once or twice every week to completely push out any unwanted guests. If you still see signs of your possum problem, continue usage while using other options.
Ultrasonic Animal Deterrent
Similar to the rodent repellent spray, ultrasonic animal deterrents are safe for animals while keeping them away from your yard. This product uses high-frequency sounds to ward off potential animals.
However, it does also work for dogs and cats, so it’s important to keep them in mind while setting up the devices. Keep them away from windows that lead to where the pets usually sleep and only turn them on when the pets are inside for the night.
Another natural option is ammonia, which can be a DIY solution that’s easy and effective. Since ammonia smells strong, it’ll keep many prey animals and territorial animals out of your yard.
For almost all situations, you’ll want to buy liquid ammonia for pest control. This option should only be used in areas that you know contain possums, so investigating before applying is important.
Since ammonia is toxic in large doses, it’s important to dilute the liquid ammonia with water or vinegar, depending on how much you can tolerate the smell. The perfect ratio for liquid ammonia to water or vinegar is 1:1, meaning that half should be ammonia and the other half should be the liquid of your choice.
Once you’ve mixed the two liquids, spray outside or around areas the possums are lurking. If there’s more than one spot, spray each spot with the same amount of mixture. Use overnight to see the best results.
If the possums are eating or damaging your plants and crops, one way to stop them is by using cayenne pepper. You can do so by either making a mix of water and cayenne pepper or by sprinkling the cayenne pepper throughout your garden. This will make your garden and vegetation spicy, which wildlife will stay away from.
To create the spray, pour 2 to 4 tablespoons of cayenne into a medium-hot saucepan and then slowly add boiling water to the pan. Stir and let it sit for a few minutes. Take it off of the stove to cool, then place the mixture in a spray bottle. Finally, add just a few drops of dish soap to the mixture and cap the bottle. You can use this mixture to help keep those pesky possums away.
If you’d rather not spend the time making a spray, you can sprinkle the cayenne pepper right into the garden. For this, you’ll need cayenne powder. Sprinkle it over your plant’s leaves, the dirt, and any vegetables or fruit. It’s washed off in rain, so if it rains, make sure to re-apply the pepper to your garden.
Scented Trash Cans
If you have possums near or in your trash, scented repellents may help. Using one of the repellent sprays mentioned above, you can line the trash can with it to keep out critters.
This works especially well with the rodent repellent spray or the ammonia mix, as both use scents to keep animals away. You can pick up a wide range of scented trash bags here on Amazon.com
If you’d like to skip the hassle of trying to remove your possum infestation with these natural options or you live close to other residences, another humane choice involves possum traps like these on Amazon.
These traps work by leaving bait (such as fruit, dog kibble, or cat food) in the cage and waiting for an animal to walk in. Once the possum walks in, the door snaps shut and locks them inside for you to relocate the next day.
This option is much more forceful and requires time to relocate possums away from your home and yard. However, if done correctly, this option can easily clear out large families of possums from your home quickly.
How To Identify A Possum Infestation
If you suspect it’s a possum infesting your home or yard, there are some common signs to look for.
Evidence Of Possums Feeding
As mentioned before, possums are opportunistic omnivores, meaning that the signs they’re eating may vary from what they would eat in the wild. In most cases, possums will stick to plants, flowers, vegetables, and fruit. However, if they are near your home, they may try pet food and other household products.
When checking for the possibility of possums feeding, seek out tampered with trash cans or gardens. Check dog and cat food bowls during the night for signs a possum was nearby. If there are large bowls of water, check around these for signs of possums as well.
Like all animals, possums leave tracks. Their footprint is identifiable by their human-like front paws and long back feet. You may also notice tail impressions if the surface is soft enough or if they sat down for a while.
When tracking possums, follow not just where they were but where they went as well. This can help create a pattern for their nightly routines while in your house or yard.
For example, with signs that the possum went from the garage to the dog food bowl and then to a small pond, you’ll be able to gauge where they’re coming from and what stops they make throughout the night. This will enable you to make changes that could potentially push the possums away from your home and yard.
Determining if any droppings you find are from possums can be another indicator of a possum infestation. Possums have small, oval-shaped droppings which come in a variety of colors, such as dark brown and green.
In Australia, the major difference between koala and possum excrement is the size. If the dung is the size of an olive, it’s a koala. If it’s small and only about 1 centimeter long, it’s a possum.
A possum’s call is one sign that you’ll recognize quickly once you hear it. The sounds they made are often unnerving when heard, as they make a mix of growls, chatters, and hums. Many people claim that hearing a possum outside their home or in their yard is more reminiscent of a predator than the true source.
Visible Damage To Property
Like any wild animal in a home, you’ll often see signs of damage. This damage comes from biting, scratching, or from possums climbing through the upper sections of your home. If a possum is in your house, you’ll find damage around where they nest and sleep, as well as any place they’ve traveled where they weren’t careful.
Other places you may want to check for damage include small spaces that humans may not be able to enter and areas around food or pet kibble.
Damages to the outside of your home are also possible with a possum infestation. In your lawn, check for signs of broken or torn-up trees, bushes, and grass. If you have any sheds or outbuildings, check inside for damaged areas or misplaced items. If you own a garden, check it for signs that animals have been going through the dirt and eating crops.
Attacking Pets Or Livestock
Lastly, one of the more dangerous signs is having your pets or livestock (such as chickens, cows, sheep, and others) attacked by possums. While you may or may not see it, your animals will have wounds and will most likely need treatment.
Possum Vs Opposum
Possums are native to Australasia. There are several species of possums belonging to the Phalangeridae family. They have bushy tails similar to squirrels and they’re opportunistic omnivores, meaning they eat plants and fruits but can eat bugs, eggs, and more. Usually, they live in trees above the ground.
The terms possum and opossum are used interchangeably in the Americas to refer to the common opossum (Didelphis marsupialis). They possess a rat-like tail and are scavengers, meaning opossums eat everything from bugs to plants to trash.
Both animals react differently to danger. Possums, since they live in trees, try to stay away from danger and will only lash out if cornered. Opossums, on the other hand, will play dead and hiss.
The most important difference is their location. If you are living around or in Australia, New Zealand, or New Guinea, you have yourself a possum. I am mostly talking about North American possums but all of the problems and solutions I covered here are applicable to both marsupials.
How To Get Rid Of Possums
Depending on the location of your infestation, different methods work best for each situation. Here’s a combined list of the most common situations and how to handle them:
Possums In Your Attic
Start by trying to see how many are in your attic. This situation calls for possum traps and relocation to an area where they can find shelter. If the possums are too hard to catch or need to leave as soon as possible, contact a pest control company to remove the possum(s). Afterward, find where the possums had entered and fix any open crack or space.
Possums Under Your House
If there are possums under your house, use possum traps to quickly remove them or use repellents to push them out. Once you’ve removed the vermin, use repellent sprays to keep them away from the spot after completely fixing or covering any opening.
Possums Inside The Wall Cavity
If there’s a possum inside your wall cavity, use repellents to keep it from coming any further into the house. During this time, remove any open food sources from around the house.
Find the opening as well and spray once you’ve heard them move for the night. Afterward, you can set up traps or block them out of your space. If possible, use ultrasonic animal deterrents by the opening so they wouldn’t return.
Possums In Your Chimney
If there is a possum inside of your chimney, first check to make sure it isn’t stuck. This is a common situation and will need the help of experts. If it isn’t caught in the chimney, still close the opening towards your home.
Most likely, the non-stuck possum could be hiding from another possum, so wait it out. If there are no results, try using repellent spray at the bottom. Wait until it leaves on its own, keeping watch so that it doesn’t get trapped in the lower area. In that situation, contact the pest control for removal.
Possums In Your Trash Can
If you notice that just one possum is in your trash can, it is most likely trapped. Tilt the trash can to lay on its side for the animal to escape. Once it’s gone, change to scented trash bags and spray around the area where any leftover food remains. You can also spray along where the trash can resides to add an extra layer of protection.
Possums In Your Yard Or Garden
If there are possums in your garden, your best bet is a mix of cayenne spray/powder and other repellents. Apply the cayenne mixture in the garden while the outer edges can use a mix of either ultrasonic animal deterrents and animal repellent spray or ultrasonic animal deterrents and ammonia.
Possums Under Decking
When possums are under decking, it is a very similar situation to being under the house. If you need them removed quickly, look at using the possum traps. Fill the traps with cat food, dog kibble, and fruit and wait until they catch themselves in it. If you can wait it out, you can use animal repellents from one side to move them towards the open side without repellent. When they leave during the night, you can also use the repellents to keep them from returning in the morning.
Possums Visiting The Chicken Coop
Possums being near or around your chicken coop can cause problems for a variety of reasons. Possums can attack chickens, steal eggs, steal food, or even make themselves a home where your chicks should be.
Place down repellents around the openings of the coop and the outer fence of the coop’s location. This includes all forms of spray and ultrasonic deterrents. If your possum problem continues, look at trapping the possum(s) and removing them from your yard.
Calling In Professional Pest Control
There are multiple cases when it’s the best option to call professional help for your possum infestation. If you ever feel overwhelmed or unable to handle an aggressive and potentially dangerous animal like a possum, then professionals will be able to assist you.
They can help with removal, long-term solutions to keep possums away, and help find locations that need repair to keep the pests out.
Prevent Possums From Returning
After all the time and effort into removing your possum infestation, it’s best to take proactive steps to make sure that they stay away.
These proactive steps come from being careful before a possum catches your house or yard as its next target. Many of these measures come from changing habits to not only keep Possums away but other animals such as Raccoons and Armadillos too.
When handling food, make sure all trash bags are properly closed and inside trash cans that are animal-proof. Many companies now have options for “locking” lids that require a little extra force for opening or closing.
Trash bags should be strong enough to withstand animals trying to open them so a change of trash bag brand or type may help in the long run. If you can, look into making an exclosure for your trash cans that are locked and without overhangs.
Keep food closed during the night and away from places where animals have the possibility of breaking into your house or trash. Don’t leave anything outside overnight that could attract animals, such as food waste, and instead either throw it out immediately or move the leftovers inside to be properly saved.
When dealing with pet or animal food (such as dog kibble, cat food, or chicken feed), put the excess into locked containers. Feed pets in locations cleaned after each use or make sure that food bowls locations are away from outside animals during the night.
Gardens are best when monitored for food that’s harvested when ripe. If you are unsure when you’ll be able to pick fresh harvests, there are fencing options available to keep your crops safe.
Exclusion Techniques And Fencing
When looking into keeping animals away via barriers, there are two types to look into and prepare for.
Exclusion techniques are ways to keep the pests out of your home. Common ways to have your home protected in this fashion is by checking spaces for openings (such as attics, under decks, and under your home) and repairing them, putting covers on chimneys to keep animals from crawling in, and locking vents so vermin can’t move around through them.
Many times, a professional can help you both remove and find these areas that need exclusion fixes to keep your inner home and family safe. Sheds and other buildings on your property should have protection as well.
Fencing refers to ways to keep animals out of your yard. Outer fencing on the edge of your yard is a good place to start. This can expand into your inner yard.
Gardens are best enclosed in their own fence with the added protection of chicken wire.
Dog houses and coops should have fencing around them to keep predators away from your pets and animals, stop wildlife from spreading diseases, and prevent any attacks.
Final Thoughts On Getting Rid Of Possums
While you may only encounter possums in your house or yard once, it’s an experience that requires quick actions to prevent damage to your property, possessions, and pets.
Taking precautionary actions such as fencing can help lower the risk of a possum infestation. If you do suffer from a possum problem, you can always look towards either animal repellents, trapping with removal, or professional help for solutions.
FAQ’s Possum Pest Removal
While you’re handing your possum infestation, there’s a common question regarding the situation.