How to get rid of opossums without killing them

Opossums are interesting animals. They are not attractive, and do not make good pets. Most people do not really know what purpose they serve in the circle of life (they are nature’s groundskeeper, cleaning up carrion, bugs, and snakes). Homeowners only know that they do not like opossums rooting through their trash, tearing up their yards and spreading their stinky smell everywhere. If you find an opossum has taken up residence under your porch or anywhere else on your property, there are steps you can take that do not involve killing it.

1) Remove any source of food and water. Do not leave unattended pet food out. Put you garbage in sealed containers. Properly store animal feed. Pick any ripe fruits or veggies in your yard. Dump standing water so it does not collect larvae (which they will eat) and they have nothing to drink. Make sure bird and squirrel feeders are inaccessible. Keep your BBQ grill clean and empty grease traps. Make sure your yard is free of clutter that would attract rodents, frogs, and lizards, as opossums will feed on them as well.

2) Eliminate likely shelter the opossum can use. Do away with woodpiles and other debris that they could live in. Put underpinning around your house, porch, and outbuildings to keep the opossum from moving in. Make sure the doors to any sheds or your garage close securely. If an opossum has already moved under your porch, or elsewhere in your home, identify his entrance and seal it up after he leaves, or fit it with a one-way exclusion funnel so that when it leaves its den it cannot return. If you “lock” the opossum from its nest, make sure that there are no babies left behind to die.

3) Make your yard inhospitable by keeping on bright lights and letting your dog(s) out often. Scatter mothballs and ammonia under your porch and other buildings to offend the opossum’s nose. You can also buy commercial opossum repellants to use. You can also install motion activated sprinklers, or lights. Set out a live trap. Using wet pet food is extremely effective bait. A live trap will catch the opossum without harming it. You will have to take the opossum at least 6 miles away to assure that it does not return to your yard.

If you follow the above steps, you should be able to clear your yard of opossums in a short amount of time. To ensure they do not return, keep up your yard maintenance and inspect buildings and fences for damage regularly. This will not only keep opossums away, but help deter other nuisance pasts as well.

Read the How to get rid of opossums page for helpful information and to learn more about How to get rid of opossums without killing them

How to get rid of opossums without killing them

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