Although they are fairly unique, most homeowners simply see opossums as a pest. These animals are the only marsupials found in North America, but that doesn't stop them from making a mess of your property, eating your pet food, or causing other damage. The good news is that you can take some simple steps to get an opossum, or group of them, out of your attic. It will be a bit more challenging if babies are present, but even then, removing them is a possibility. Here are the basic steps to getting that pesky opossum out:
- 1. Find their point of entry
- 2. Check the attic
- 3. Set traps or an exclusion device
- 4. Relocate the opossum
- 5. Clean the attic
- 6. Prevent re-entry
Some steps may seem more complicated than others, but with the right tools and knowledge, every step can be simple. You can also hire a professional to assist you and make the job significantly easier and quicker.
Find The Entry Point
The very first thing you need to do is examine your home thoroughly to see how the opossums are getting into your home in the first place. The most likely entry spots will be along the eaves or roof, particularly if they are living in the attic. Once you find the entry point, you will know where to set traps or exclusion devices and how many holes you need to seal to get the opossums out.
Check Your Attic
If you feel confident in doing so, your next step would be to investigate the attic. In cases where you have trouble finding the possum's entry points, this can actually help. Simply go in the attic in the middle of the day without turning on lights and look for sunlight. This will lead you to any holes that the animals may be using to enter.
While in the attic, you need to evaluate the situation. Try to figure out if there will be enough room to set a trap up there or if you will need to do so in another location. You should also take this chance to try to figure out whether there are baby possums present. If this is the case, you may want to wait a little bit to try to remove the animals as it will be easier when the baby opossums are fully independent. When it is not possible to wait, you need to make sure that you never separate a mother opossum from her babies as this is essentially a death sentence for the little ones.
Now it is time to choose between trapping and relocating the opossums or using an exclusion device. To trap them, you want to invest in a large cage trap that will comfortably hold the animals without injuring them. No matter where you set the trap, you need to be prepared to check it frequently so the possum doesn't starve, become dehydrated, or suffer injuries from exposure to the elements. You can sometimes set the trap inside the attic. When doing so is not feasible, you should set it outside, preferably along a path that you know the animal uses. This can be next to the entry point the animal uses or by a known food source.
Use An Exclusion Device
Excluding the opossums instead of trapping them will involve fewer steps and doesn't require the effort involved in relocation. Instead, you start by sealing the majority of possible entry points that the possum is using, with the exception of one. Set up a one-way door or exclusion device at this hole so the animal can leave but not come back. After a few days, all of the opossums should be gone. You must always be careful with this method when babies are present as you don't want the mother to be trapped outside with the babies in the attic.
Relocate The Possum
Always relocate any young you find with the mother opossum. You should find a site that increases their chances for survival, meaning it should have ready access to food, water, and shelter. The best relocation site will be at least 10 miles from your property to discourage the opossum's return.
Clean, Decontaminate, And Repair Your Attic
Once the animals are all gone, you are ready to clean up the mess they made. Seal up the remaining entry hole and examine your attic for damaged wires, walls, insulation, or other items. You will also need to clean up the opossum feces and decontaminate your attic, which involves wearing protective gear. There are professionals that specialize in this service if you prefer not to do so yourself.
Prevent New Animals From Entering
Finally, it is time to make sure no animals take the spot recently vacated by the opossum. This begins with making sure there is no way for them to get into your attic. After that, you can take simple steps to discourage opossums and other animals from living on your property. This includes cleaning up garbage piles, firmly securing garbage cans, putting pet food inside, and raking up fallen nuts or fruit from trees.
Read the How to get rid of opossums
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