What to do if you have an oppossum

OPOSSUMS

If you are dealing with opossums in your yard, trapping may seem like a quick and simple solution to the problem.  But this is not the case for opossums.  Opossums are nomadic, with no fixed home range and are generally solitary animals.  So, when one opossum leaves another one may come.

Opossums (like most wild animals) are looking for three main things: food, water, and shelter/denning sources.  Remove these 3 necessities and most likely the pesky animals will move on. 

So, let’s look at possible ways of removing these necessities:

  1. Secure all trash cans with tight lids and bungee cords.  It also helps to rinse them out occasionally to remove the attracting odors.
  2. Do not leave any pet bowls, food and/or water, outside overnight. Bring them in as soon as your pet is finished eating.
  3. If you have a bird feeder, equip it with a baffle.
  4. Also, with bird feeders, clean up the ground around the bird feeder or use a seed catcher.
  5. Don’t leave water in the bird bath overnight.
  6. Clean your grill and surrounding area after use.
  7. Remove any other outside food sources, opossums aren’t picky eaters.
  8. Clean up brush and keep firewood stacked at least 12 inches off the ground. These areas can attract food sources (bugs, mice, etc.) for the opossums.

Deterrents are not known to work very well for opossums so it’s best to remove the attractions. Though you could try motion sensor lights, an electronic water repellent, also a radio left on talk radio during the day may discourage denning as well.

When it comes to shelter, opossums aren’t out to make their own.  They’re generally just looking for some where safe and dry to sleep for a day or two.

If an opportunity exists, opossums will welcome themselves inside your house.  To keep them out of your house, inspect theoutside of your home for any possible entries, even small entries and fix them immediately.

 Some areas to check: 

1.       Roof flashing                                                  5.   Behind gutters

2.       Rotting fascia                                                 6.   Vents on roof

3.       Check for secure chimney cap                       7.   Tears in vent screens

4.       Close cat/doggie doors at night

Additional measures: 

  • Keep tree limbs trimmed back from your house at least 10 feet
  • Trim low hanging bushes at least 12 inches off the ground
  • Another area that may be used for a den is the under the deck or porch. Enclosing it with hardware wire or lattice would be beneficial

If you see a sick or injured opossum or have an opossum in your house, contact Animal Control at 816-690-3773 ext. 1006.  Sometimes wildlife pest control can/must be used.