How To Kill An Opossum

Although many people simply think of opossums as another nuisance animal, they are unique. In fact, these are the only marsupials that live in North America, meaning that they carry their young in a pouch when they are growing. Despite their uniqueness, opossums to pose a problem for many property owners by rummaging through garbage, destroying pieces of the attic, or simply causing a threat to your pets. Some people will see killing the opossum as the only solution to the issue, but there are better alternatives. After all, killing an opossum simply leaves the path open for another to takes its place unless you also take preventative action. In addition, killing the animal for no reason is inhumane. Instead, you should consider live trapping and relocation or consulting a wildlife expert. If, however, you are set on killing the possum, here are some things you need to know.

Lethal Traps
A common choice is to consider using a lethal trap to kill the opossum. This is a tempting option because you do not have to physically kill the animal yourself; the trap does all the work. The thing to remember, however, is that opossums are similar in size to cats and small to medium dogs. This means that any trap that would successfully kill a possum would also injure or kill these pets, posing a risk to your family's pooch or the neighborhood animals. Additionally, there is no guarantee that a lethal trap will actually kill the possum instantly. If this happens, the animal would suffer a slow and painful death, something which is very inhumane.

Poison is another method of killing an opossum that is easy for some people to mentally handle since they are not directly involved. You could theoretically leave some poison in a bit of bait or the garbage and wait for the possum to eat it. Keep in mind, however, that there aren't any poisons on the market approved for use with opossums so you won't find one that effectively and humanely does the job. Additionally, sometimes poisoned opossums will not die; instead they will become unpredictable and more dangerous. As with lethal traps, there is always a risk with poison that the wrong animal will be targeted. A final issue with killing an opossum using poison is that even a potentially effective poison will not work immediately. This gives the animal time to find a hidden spot to die, making it impossible or incredibly challenging to recover the carcass.

If you feel that you have the necessary skills, you can kill an opossum by shooting it. Before considering this option, consider that opossums are nocturnal. This means you are unlikely to see them during the day and will most likely have to spend the night watching for them and waiting to take a clear shot. Additionally, this type of animal will usually bleed a lot and as it may be infected with bloodborne diseases, you will need to practice extreme caution and thoroughly decontaminate the entire area.

Other Concerns
In addition to there being numerous other options to take care of opossums, killing them is also sometimes illegal. In some states, only those who are licensed or otherwise certified may legally kill possums and the methods used for killing may even be restricted. There are also likely to be laws concerning what to do with the carcass, particularly because opossums have a risk of carrying disease. This means that you may need to drive to a distant location with the carcass to dispose of it or have to follow specific instructions of what to do with the body.

Prevention As An Alternative
If killing an opossum is not encouraged, then you may wonder what you should do instead. The best way to deal with opossums is to prevent them from ever becoming interested in your property in the first place. Keep them out of your home by sealing up all possible entry points (after making sure there are no animals inside) and blocking the area underneath your porch with large rocks. Make your property less appealing by securely closing all garbage cans, keeping pet food inside, and cleaning up fallen fruit or other food items that can tempt opossums. You should also remove grass piles and trim overgrown shrubs so possums can't find an ideal shelter for denning on your property.

Consider Live Trapping
In some cases, the preventative techniques mentioned above simply won't be enough to stop opossums from coming onto your property or taking up residence in your attic. When this happens, live trapping and relocation is a good alternative. Simply check your local regulations and then buy or rent a live trap and select a spot to bring the possum that has access to shelter, food, and water. A professional can help you trap and relocate an opossum and ensure that all babies are found so your problem is completely resolved.

Read the How to get rid of opossums page for helpful information and to learn more about How To Kill An Opossum

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