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Opossum Control Methods

Opossums can be a real nuisance to home owners, and especially home gardeners. Their diet is quite varied, and like Raccoons, Opossums are often scavengers in garbage cans. These climbers, can be seen at night hanging upside down by their tail, munching on peaches, grapes or other fruits.

Possums, as they are also called, are marsupials. Their young are nurtured in their mother's pouch (similar to a Kangaroo). There are about 60 species of Opossum.

While some people consider them "cute", others see them as ugly and rat-like. Their long, bare tail, gives this appearance.


Opossum Lifestyle and Habitat:

Opossum are found throughout North America, They are grow to about 2 1/2 feet from nose to tail, and weigh 8-13 pounds.

Opossums are generally nocturnal. On occasion, they can be seen during daytime hours. They live in the woods, but are increasingly comfortable in suburban neighborhoods. These opportunistic animals scavenge for human food left in garbage cans, as well as dog and cat pet foods left outdoors.

 Opossums make their home in a hole in a tree, or simply move into the abandoned nest of another animal.

"Playing Possum" - A survival technique for a Possum, is to roll over an play dead. When threatened, a possum will roll onto its side and lie perfectly still, with its eyes either closed, or open and staring. It will sometimes extend it's tongue, all to appear to be dead.


Opossum Diet:

Opossums  eat a wide variety of foods, including:

  • Carrion- a wide variety of dead animals

  • Animals - birds, frogs, snakes,  maggots

  • Earthworms 

  • Nuts

  • Chickens - they have been known to invade chicken coops

  • Fruits - grapes and peaches are particular favorites

  • Vegetables

  • Mushrooms

  • Human foods -  they will scavenge in your garbage can, if allowed

  • Pet foods - Dog and cat pet foods left out side. They are very fond of canned dog food.


Opossum Control Methods:

There are limited methods for controlling Opossums. Possums are climbers. So, fences and screens are of little use. They will chew through plastic garden netting. The methods of controlling raccoons is limited.

Here are some Possum control methods that will help you to get rid of them:

1. Trapping: Hav-a-hart traps effectively capture Opossums. Once they are trapped, many towns will take them away for you.

Best bait: Try grapes, peaches, canned dog food.

Important: Before you trap any animals, check local laws. Many localities allow you to trap animals and pests. Your Animal Control Department may even supply the trap. But, you are not allowed to transfer or release an animal into another area. In this case, your Animal Control Department must be notified for Opossum removal.

3. Hunting:  If you can hunt in your area, this will obviously work..... if you are a good shot. Check local laws, for rules and regulations.

4. Eliminate food sources: - With scarce food supplies, hopefully they will move on to another area.

5. Repellents: It must be applied regularly, and after a rain.


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