Opossums are often regarded as a nuisance in and around the garden, particularly when they eat or trample plants. They can also search through trash cans and steal food from your pets. It can be difficult to get rid of an opossum, but with a little persistence, the backyard possum may be persuaded to relocate.

Identify Opossum

The only marsupial seen in North America, Opossums, are fairly easy to identify due to their pointed faces and large hairless, leathery ears, elongated heads, and rat-like tails. Generally gray, opossums can also be found in coats ranging from red to brown. Other recognizable features of opossums include defined whiskers, pink noses, black eyes, short legs, etc. They can grow to the size of house cats. Additionally, female opossums have a pouch on their stomach for carrying newborns.

Common Species of Opossums Found in New York

Common Species of Opossums

  • Virginia Opossum
    The only opossum species native to America, Virginia Opossums, could generally be 24 to 34 inches and weigh between 2.7 to 5.9 kg. Their fur colors could range from gray to black, while some opossums may have a slightly reddish or brown tint. Virginia Opossums prefer to build their homes in woodlands and brush, near water sources such as ponds, swamps, etc.
  • Common Opossum
    Common Opossums or Southern Opossums like habitats that are usually wet, like marshes, swamps, and streams, but they can also be found in urban areas. In size, they can be as much as a house cat. It can measure around 20 inches long, with large ears that are usually black, and its face is pale peach.
  • Gray Short-tailed Opossum
    They are relatively small animals, with a head-body length of 12 to 18 cm in the wild and weighing nearly 58 to 95 grams. Because of their size and small geography, they are relatively hard to spot. They can be more aggressive than other species, especially when mating.

How do you know if you have an opossum in your house?

If you spot opossums in your home and other areas on your property, it could be a sign an infestation is underway or has already occurred, which can be dangerous to people, property, and pets.

Although they like solitude and prefer to travel alone, they can still cause significant visible damage to property and even spread diseases, causing illness. If you are worried that you could have an opossum infestation at your home, check out for these signs and take immediate action to prevent further damage

  • Compared to other mammals, opossums defecate more often, and their droppings can soak into building materials and insulations, causing unpleasant smells.
  • Opossums can make a variety of sounds, ranging from shrieking, clicking, or hissing and more, as they build their nest and communicate. The sounds are not usually confined to a specific location, and you are likely to hear them wherever they are moving. Additionally, household pets are likely to recognize them before you do, so any strange behavior may signify opossum presence at home.
  • Disappearing pet foods can also be an indicator of opossum infestation at home. Opossums love to steal easy meals, so if you leave pet food outdoors and notice that the food is running out faster than they should, it may be a sign that opossums are nearby.
  • Opossums use their sharp and long nails to climb trees and other surfaces. They can scratch your home's exterior walls and roofs, causing structural damage. Any visible damages without any explanation may be a sign of opossum activity.

These are some of the strongest indications of opossum infestation. These critters can cause significant damage, prompting one to invest in costly future renovations at home. They can also expose people and pets to diseases. This is why they must be controlled and removed as soon as possible when detected. For fast, efficient, and humane removal of opossums from home, seek help from expert opossum removal specialists.

How to avoid Opossum this winter?

How to avoid Opossum

Their furs do not provide enough insulation from the cold. This is why they prefer to spend the colder months in safe, dry, and sheltered places, such as hollow logs, wood piles, burrows dug by other animals, etc. They protect their nests with dry grass and leaves and, if given an opportunity, would love to build their nests in your chimney, attic, and crawl spaces.

When it comes to how to get rid of opossums in winter or other times of the year, we first need to understand what could attract them to your property. Garbage, pet foods, and bird seeds can be easy and attractive food sources for them. Keep pet foods and bird seeds in sealed containers to restrict their presence and resulting worries. Do not leave the food outdoors at night. Make sure your trash bins are tightly sealed outside. Examine your property carefully to spot possible areas that opossums could use to gain entry. If found, seal or repair them immediately.

Using fencing can also prevent them from climbing over your garden. One can also use opossum traps to catch the critters at night when they are out. Please read the laws and regulations of your state before setting up the trap to catch opossums. To trap and relocate the critters safely, in a humane way, it is recommended to seek the help of experts. Whether you have already captured an opossum or need help getting rid of them efficiently and fast, they can help.

How to Keep Opossum Out of the Yard and Garden?

Understanding opossum behavior is the most effective strategy to address opossum problems. They prefer woodland regions or open fields near streams, though they will live in abandoned burrows, tree crevices, brush piles, and spaces beneath steps, decks, and barns.

Opossums are nocturnal creatures, which means they are active only at night and sleep during the day. As a result, it may be difficult to “see” them in your garden or on your property. They will, however, usually leave droppings, tracks overturned pet food bowls or garbage cans, and plant damage as evidence of their presence. Opossums are omnivores. They are known to consume fruits, nuts, insects, eggs, and small animals like frogs and mice are all eaten by backyard possums.

What Is the Best Way to Get Rid of an Opossum?

Repellents: When it comes to removing opossums, using pet furs can help. They usually avoid the smell of cats and dogs as an instinct to avoid competition. So, whenever you brush your pets, take their hair and scatter it in areas where opossums cause visible damage. Do not leave your pets out to deal with the critters since the latter can hurt them in a fight.

Alternatively, you can use chemical opossum repellents commercially available in stores and online. Please note these repellents can have strong foul smells, so use them outside the home, away from doors and windows to prevent the scent from entering your home.

Trapping: Trapping, when paired with other prevention methods, can be highly useful in getting rid of opossums. Before trapping, read your state's laws and regulations on how to deal with them safely and humanely. Traps can be of various types with differing mechanisms.

Read the unique instructions on how to use the trap once you have purchased it. Leave the trap at night where they feed, preferably near your trash and garden. Place the bait using dog or cat food, meat, fruits, etc. Check the trap regularly, and once an opossum is caught, relocate it safely. Do not leave a captured opossum unattended for long or it could die, and its carcass could attract other pests. Call opossum removal experts for help trapping and relocating an opossum safely and humanely.

Fencing: Fencing is another method to get rid of opossums in your gardens and yard. Invest in high-quality fencing to be installed around your vegetation. Doing this will not only keep opossums away but also other critters from your garden. Fencing is useful in the sense that they will pay off in the long run because by preventing them accessing your property now, you need not invest in pest control in the future.

Eliminate their entry points - Rather than building their own nests, opossums prefer good hiding places, such as attic, basement, and crawl spaces. So, one of the best ways to prevent their entry into your home is to check for their possible entry points and seal them off. Also, note that opossums are great climbers, so make sure to trim the trees that provide easy passage to your property. Close off all decks and crawl spaces. 

How to use opossum traps?

Opossums can be a nuisance if not controlled and removed on time. If you are searching for how to efficiently and quickly remove them from your property, you can think about trapping them. However, this works best when paired with other prevention methods so they won't return.

The first thing to learn about trapping an opossum is to understand the laws about these animals in your state.

Then, invest in a high-quality opossum trap. These traps can be commercially available in various types and sizes. Buy the one suiting your needs, and before using it, read its unique operating instructions. Uninformed usage may result in injuries or damages.

When everything is set, it's time to place the trap with bait. Any type of food with foul odors should attract opossums. The baits include slightly spoiled meat, strong-smelling fish, cheese, etc. We have mentioned a few others above. As far as the placement of the opossum trap is concerned, ensure to keep it in and around places frequented by opossums, such as areas where they come in search of food, such as gardens or trash. You can camouflage the trap using grass and dry leaves to give it the appearance of a hollow shelter and a hiding place for opossums.

Place the trap at night and check every morning. If the trap has caught an opossum, make sure to relocate it to a safe place, following all the guided rules. Do not leave the trap unattended. A captured opossum can become scared and anxious, thus harming itself and eventually die, and its carcass could invite other pests.

If you are looking for help setting up the trap and relocating opossums safely and humanely, contact expert pest control specialists with the needed skills, tools, and experience to remove opossums efficiently.

However, the best defense is to make the environment less desirable to opossums. Pruning overgrown trees and shrubs are necessary. Fruit that has fallen from trees should be removed. The garbage lid should be tight, and pet food should not be left out overnight. Close or block any entrances or openings under or around the house.

One of the leading humane animal removal services in New York is Metro Pest Control. We service New York CityBrooklynNassau County, the BronxQueens, and Westchester. Metro Pest Control was founded in 1977 and has been assisting residential and commercial customers with pest problems ever since. You can call us at 718-803-0000 or schedule an appointment on our website, https://www.metropest.com/ on our contact us form.