Possums and opossums seem to be cute and quite friendly when you see them in pictures. But, when they get on your territory and spoil the harvest or even settle inside your apartment, they don’t look that cute anymore.
Looking for a food source, possums can damage your crops, trees, as well as feed on your leftovers, making complete chaos while turning the trash bin over. If you faced such a small but rather disturbing problem, let me help you. As a pest consultant and exterminator, I can give you some useful advice.
How to Determine a Possum?
The possums are small marsupial mammals that look like rodents. The first representatives of this species appeared in the Cretaceous period, which is about 100 million years ago, and have not changed significantly since then. The appearance of a possum is very similar to a rat.
Possums can be confused with rats and mice due to their narrow muzzles and long bare tails, which also work like animal’s fifth paw. Because possums live on the trees, their tails help them to move around and cling to branches.
The possum itself is a relatively large animal. The length of its body is up to 45 centimeters, and another 30-32 takes the tail. The female individual has a bag on its stomach to carry the cubs like a kangaroo. A newborn possum is born completely blind and weighs only 5 grams. The mother carries its offspring in a bag for 60 days until it is strong enough.
Pregnancy in possums lasts only a couple of weeks, or rather up to 13 days. They can bring up to 25 cubs for once. From the age of two months, cubs travel on their mother’s back, holding on to their fur.
Possums are omnivores like humans. They eat everything, including fruits (for example, grapes or plums), seeds, cereals (corn, etc.), and smaller rodents or other pests. Various lizards, frogs, snails, slugs, and worms are also on their menu. But their favorite yums are birds, their eggs, and crabs.
Since possums are nocturnal animals, they are more active at night. In the afternoon, possums sleep in hollows of trees or other shelters. The animals live in small groups with up to seven adults and babies of the current breeding season. A dominant male marks the territory to scare other possums away.
Strangers with a different smell are expelled from their territory. Opossums do not like cold weather. Therefore, in rainy or windy weather, their activity is limited. Animals become inactive and hibernate most of the time. This way of life allows them to save energy during the winter season as the possibility of obtaining food is decreased.
From my own experience, I can tell that possums are very smart creatures, and catching them is not so easy. Did you hear the ‘play possum’ phrase? This is actually the possum’s favorite game. The creature pretends to be dead. These animals not only imitate the death with their appearance, but they also emit the smell of a corpse.
Possums vs Opossums: Is There a Difference?
Possums and opossums are different mammals, although together they belong to the infraclass of marsupials. It is more suitable to call possums all species of the Couscous family that live in Australia, New Guinea, and a number of islands in Oceania. Opossums are the species of the possum family that mostly live in America.
The name confusion arose from James Cook’s expedition a long time ago. His biologist described the Australian animal he saw as the one from the possum family, but the words ‘possum’ and ‘opossum’ are applied with equal success to both American and Australian mammals.
The main feature of the possum is a thin membrane, stretching along the sides of the body from the wrist to the ankle. When the possum jumps, the membrane stretches and forms an aerodynamic surface. This allows the animal to go a distance of up to fifty meters.
By stretching or pulling the membrane, possum regulates the direction of its flight. Possum males mark the territory with odorous glands located on the chest, forehead, and back of the body. Males are distinguished from females by a small bald spot on their forehead, in the place where the gland is located. Females have a bag that is designed for carrying offspring.
Potential Possums Dangers
Like I’ve already stated, the possums are omnivores, so they eat many different plants and animals. Their diet often consists of herbs, nuts, fruits, seeds, and grains. Small rodents, birds, frogs, insects, worms, snails, slugs, and snakes can also become possum’s lunch or dinner.
In addition, possums are scavengers, as they like to delve into trash cans or containers in search of leftover food. Possums also eat corpses of animals that have been killed by a car or abandoned by other predators. Because they eat insects, slugs, and snails, possums are considered useful animals for gardens.
They also help to control the population of rats and cockroaches that they compete with for food. In fact, sometimes, possums kill their competitors fighting for food.
The possum is one of North America’s most bloodthirsty animals. Farmers hate possums with fierce hatred because they raid poultry houses where they kill a huge number of birds. Therefore, the appearance of a possum endangers both your garden and household.
How to Inspect for Possums Signs
To determine whether you’re dealing with possum problems, you have to check on your property very attentively. Keep in mind that possums are mostly inactive in the daytime, so you probably won’t notice them until the night comes.
But that doesn’t mean you have to wait till the possum comes into your bed. Inspect your kitchen, pantry, and any other room where you have food or plants. The possum is unlikely to get inside your fridge, but it can climb into the leftovers.
There were also cases when people found possums in their bedrooms. So, be careful and don’t be afraid of a possum attack. The possum won’t fight a predator that is bigger than itself.
How to Get Rid of Possums: a Step-By-Step Guide
How to catch a possum in the house? This question has several answers, but you can use this universal guide.
Step 1: Survey Your Property for Damage
Whether you’re getting rid of possums in the garden or trying to catch a possum in the house, the first thing you have to do is to find signs of its activity. Inspect your house and yard carefully. Pay attention to the plants and livestock (chickens, pigeons, etc).
The possum feasts on their eggs and birds as well. In addition, the possum can be feeding on your food leftovers, so check on the garbage cans and bins to see whether the animal visited your house.
Step 2: Find the Nest
Possums are loners, but female individuals are the most active when they carry their cubs. They need to feed their offspring, so they are looking for constant food sources. After you inspected your house and yard, decide on where the possum is most likely to settle.
If it damaged your garden, look for the pest outside. The possum has probably built its nest near the source of food. Therefore, if you found possum signs inside, inspect all of the cracks and corners in the house.
Possums can settle in attics, under floors, under the porch, and in the garden (on trees, see the picture above). Sometimes, their activity is destructive, and they scatter garbage all over your site, so you can easily find their location.
Step 3: Bait the Possum
If you still haven’t found a possum’s location, arrange some bait traps for it. Get some of its favorite yums (eggs are the best option) and put them on possible possum routes along with a cage trap. Make sure to check it every day.
Step 4: Develop a Treatment Plan
To develop a treatment plan, you need to consider whether you have to scare possums away from your house or garden. There are many products to deal with possums both inside and outside. Some of them are cruelty-free and humane, while others can kill the animals.
Remember that Australian and US laws have different regulations for possum/opossum killing. It’s better to check your official state site for specific information.
My advice is to use several effective methods at once to scare the possums away. Consider using baits, traps, natural ingredients, electronic ultrasonic repellers, or choose high-quality opossum repellents.
Best Possums Control Remedies
In this section, I’m going to tell you about some products I and my fellows used for possum control. The list is made in random order, so don’t consider one product to be better than another. These products will help you if you search for how to repel possums methods, choosing a possum bait, and other treatments.
1. Duke Large 1-Door Humane Animal Trap – the Best Possums Trap
- Material: Alloy Steel
- With a bait hatch door
- Item Weight: 0.05 Pounds
- Item Dimensions LxWxH: 30 x 12 x 12 inches
- Target Species: Possum, Armadillo, Cat, Raccoon
One of the simplest ways to get rid of a possum is to catch it with a special trap. If you are against animal cruelty, I recommend you to consider the Duke Humane Animal Trap.
The trap itself is a cage with a simple mechanism. Put cardboard at the bottom so that the possum’s paws do not fall between the ribs of the cage. Once the animal gets inside, the door will close, you can take it out, and let the possum free. The cage has smooth details, so the pest won’t get injured.
How to use: Put some food inside and use the trap according to the instructions.
2. One of Best Possums Repellents: Bonide Chemical Co 239 037321002390 Shot Gun Rtu Animal Repellent
- Active Ingredients: Garlic, Dried Blood, Whole Egg Solids, Clove, Fish Oil, Onion and Wintergreen
- Yield: One quart will yield 2 gallons of finished spray; One gallon will yield 8 gallons of finished spray
- Item Weight: 2.33 pounds
- Item Dimensions LxWxH: 0.4 x 0.19 x 0.81 inches
- Target Species: Deer, Rabbits, Squirrels, Chipmunks, Dogs, Cats, Raccoons, Porcupines, Armadillos, Birds, Rats, Mice, Beaver, Ground hogs, Skunks, Voles, Moles and Shrews
Repellents are one of the safest ways to keep rodents and possums away from your property. The ingredients used in Bonide Chemical Animal Repellent are safe for both humans and pets, but the effect is amazing.
The repellent affects possum’s nasal mucous, and acts like a trigger that scares these pests away. The Bonide product is also safe for the garden and your house; therefore, you can use one gallon to process the whole territory.
How to use: Just pour the repellent around the perimeter of your garden and house for the best effect.
3. Organic Possum Repellent: Shake Away 2852228 Fox Urine Granules
- Active Ingredients: Fox Urine 5%
- Item Form: Granules
- Item Weight: 2.08 pounds
- Item Dimensions LxWxH: 4 x 4 x 9 inches
- Target Species: Rabbits, Groundhogs, Possums and other small animals
This product works on the basis of the predator-prey relationship. Shake Away Fox Urine Granules is a natural repellent that scares away small pests like possums, mice, and rabbits. Possums are genetically programmed to avoid territories that are marked by bigger predators. And foxes are the most common predators to haunt on opossums.
How to use: Use the granules as directed in the instructions for the best effect.
4. Poison to Try: Farnam Just One Bite II Bait Chunks
- Active Ingredients: Bromethalin 0.01%
- Item Form: Bite, Chunks
- Item Weight: 10.56 Ounces
- Item Dimensions LxWxH: 19 x 16 x 9 inches
- Target Species: Norway Rats, Roof Rats, Cotton Rats, Polynesian Rats, House Mice, Eastern Harvest Mice, Golden Mice, Meadow Voles
Once again, before using lethal traps or poisons, I urge you to check information on your state’s official web resource to make sure whether you’re allowed to kill possums. Anyway, if you chose to take extreme measures, Farnam bait might be helpful in the battle for your territory.
Bromadiolone is the active ingredient of the product, and it is what kills possums. The animal dies after eating only one dose of the poison.
How to use: Use as a separate treatment or as a bait in the trap.
5. Coon Gitter Bait: Best Possums Trap Bait
- Work great in traps
- Item Form: Pellets
- Item Weight: 12 ounces
- Item Dimensions LxWxH: 8 x 5 x 2 inches
- Target Species: Mouse, Raccoon
Another humane option to catch a possum. The Coon Gitter Bait was originally designed for luring raccoons, but the experience shows that it also works for smaller pests.
For the best effect, I recommend using it with the cage trap. Put some bait inside the trap and catch the uninvited guest easily. The ingredients used for the product are safe and non-toxic for pests and pets as well.
How to use: Put the stated amount of the bait inside the trap and wait until the animal comes for the smell of it.
These creatures are pretty smart, and getting rid of them may be a difficult task. High intelligence and dexterity allow possums to get to any feeding trough or to get deeply planted bulbs from the ground. Their strong paws help them to achieve any food they want.
The easiest way to deal with possums is to prevent their appearance. It is much easier to control animals outside than trying to drive them out of your house. Therefore, you have to do everything so that possums won’t show up on your territory.
To deter possums from your yard and apartment, you have to follow some simple rules.
Eliminate Its Source of Food
The only reason why possums have settled in your property is that they need food. You already know that these animals eat almost anything. So, make sure you got rid of insects, snakes, wood, dead plants, etc.
Seal the Trash
The most visible sign of possum activity on your lawn is the scattered garbage. Remember that possums do like to get into the trash bins to find treats, so you have to make sure your leftovers and other trash are safe from these pesky little destroyers.
Protect Your House
Possums are likely to settle in the house attics. So, it is better to clean the attic and check whether there are materials that can be used to make a nest. You can also scatter the hair of pets. A constant smell of predator’s presence will frighten pests.
If you can not cope with the possums, then just feed them. Make a special feeder and provide them with their favorite food. Set the feeders in open spaces, so the possums can easily find them, or sprinkle the seeds outside the area. The pests will remember where to find food and probably won’t bother you anymore.
How Do Possums Get into Your House?
They can get into the house through the window or the door. The risk increases if you have greenery around the house, since possums are likely to set in tree hollows. Be careful when you ventilate your rooms. To prevent possum appearance, consider getting special window grids.
What Attracts Possums?
Possums come to human residences in search of food. As you already know, possums eat everything, so it isn’t hard for them to find a treat in your house or backyard.
How to Get a Possum Out of Your House?
The best way is to catch the animal with a rodent or specially designed trap and let it out outside. If you don’t want to deal with it yourself, call your local pest agency and ask for opossum extermination help.
How to Get Rid of Possums Naturally?
Sometimes, to deter possums from yard or house is quite a complex task even for a professional. The thing is that possums are omnivorous, and they also can eat poisonous snakes, which makes them immune to almost anything. My advice to you is to keep your house and yard clean from trash, insects, and animal corpses.
Is Possum Pest Control Effective?
What to do with possums when they show up on your territory? They eat birds, eggs, spoil the grown vegetables, your favorite flowers in the garden, and turn everything upside down if they settle inside.
The fight against possums is not a single day task; it takes time and patience. If you want to get rid of dependents forever, you have to mobilize your knowledge and start the battle immediately.
What to do with a possum if you found it in your garden or house? The decision is up to you. In case you need more information on how to kill a possum and whether you’re allowed to do it, browse your state’s official source.
In this guide, I’ve tried to give complete information on how to keep possums away from inside and outside the house using both humane and more radical methods.
Still, maybe you have experience in getting rid of possums using other methods? I would like to know! Also, if you have any questions about opossum control, please let me know in the comments section below.
- Damage by Possums Trichosurus Vulpecula to Farm Crops and Pasture(Victoria University of Wellington):
- Cretaceous Period (Humboldt State University):
- Opossums vs. Possums? (Purdue University):
- A Guide to the Care and Use of Australian Native Mammals in Research and Teaching (National Health and Medical Research Council):
- What omnivores eat: direct eects of induced plant resistance on herbivores and indirect consequences for diet selection by omnivores (Journal of Animal Ecology):
- Possums and possum control; effects on lowland forest ecosystems (by I.A.E. Atkinson, D.J. Campbell, B.M. Fitzgerald, J.E.C. Flux, M.J. Meads):
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