Does anyone have any ideas how we can keep possums from coming in our yard? We have 3 very small Yorkies that we let out in our backyard, and we have to constantly put our flood lights on and go out first to make sure there are no possums walking around on the grass or walking across our fence.
These things are disgusting and are bigger than my dogs. I am tired of worrying if one of my dogs will be attacked by these things. We don't know where they are coming from but there is no place in our yard for them to be living. We will try anything at this point.
Jan from Long Island
Are the possums aggressive? I like to have possums in my yard (I have four cats and a mini dachshund), because they eat slugs. When the possums are away, the slugs eat so many of my plants (hostas, herbs, veggies). When the possums are a regular part of my backyard flora and fauna, the slugs are under control and the plants thrive.
I have never seen or heard one attack the dog or the cats. If one were that aggressive, I would assume that it has rabies. They are very shy, unassuming creatures under most circumstances. (04/08/2005)
Possums have always been around my yard. They have never been a problem. Sometimes they even eat the cat food right out of the dishes on the porch alongside the cats! They aren't usually aggressive unless cornered, or if they would have rabies. If they really bother you I suggest trapping them and releasing them in a wooded area or using a 22 to eliminate them permanently. I think possums are so ugly that they are cute and the babies are just adorable!(04/08/2005)
The best way to get rid of the possums is to keep pet food out of their reach. Feed the pets inside or take up the bowl when they are done. Also keep any trash/garbage in a tightly covered container. (04/08/2005)
I work on a College Campus. The best way I was told to get rid of Possums is to spray vinegar in the area you want them to stay away from. I was told that possums do not like the scent. I know this means a big yard spraying for you. I would decide what is the most important area you want them to stay away from, and then spray that area. I've seen the grounds workers using spray bottles. Hope this helps! (04/08/2005)
I was told by my local Game Commissioner that it is very rare to find a live possum with rabies. They are non-aggressive and cannot defend themselves well. They are usually killed if attacked by another wild animal. Even though they have sharp teeth and claws, they don't react fast enough for defense. They usually try to climb a tree to escape confrontation. (04/08/2005)
Do some research on possums. They are terrific to have around. They do NOT get rabies and will keep snakes and other pests away. I love mine and feed them every night. You're lucky if you have one.
Rita from Texas (04/12/2005)
It seems that a lot of us know absolutely nothing about the opossum. At least that was the case with me. I too believed them to be vicious and or aggressive, that is definitely not the case. To learn more about these calm, slow moving creatures go to http://www.PossumRescue.com, and I know you will be pleasantly surprised. Generally speaking, the plight of our wildlife is a sad one, when you consider the massive urban sprawl, construction, new shopping centers, homeowners using poisonous chemical etc. And it really behooves us all to learn how to coexist peacefully and respectfully with our wild neighbors. Please be kind to animals, it will make you a better person. (08/04/2005)
I saw a thing on TV yesterday that if you put a cotton ball soaked in peppermint oil (not extract) it will keep all manner of rodents away, including possums. I had one get into the attic through a small opening and have babies. So now I'm trying to get momma and 4 youngsters out of the house! My dog got one once, and swung it around by the neck and carried it around for a long time. I thought it was dead and I buried it. The next day the hole was empty and the possum was gone. (08/23/2005)
It sounds to me that there are all sorts of possums out there. We have several large trees in the area and several communities of possums. Given that it's a suburb, the possums almost become domesticated and that can be a bad thing. They cause damage to the gutters, garages, can leave their droppings, we have slugs and the possums don't eat them and are generally a domestic nuisance. To my shock one of my two cats and a HUGE possum got into a fight a couple of nights ago and I must say it had petrified both of my cats and several injuries were sustained by my cat. Up until this point my cats never showed aggression to the possums and they lead a peaceful co-existence. After this episode I am adamant that possums can be lethal given when required and are detrimental to domestic life. They should be exterminated. (04/14/2006)
Vinegar or Fox urine will help you get rid of Opossums. You can buy dry Fox urine.
Yes, they do attack you when they feel threatened by you or your pets. Didelphimorphia: Opossums, they are commonly also called "possums", though that term is more correctly applied to Australian fauna of the suborder Phalangeriformes. Opossums are usually nomadic, staying in one area as long as food and water are easily available.
Thanks to their lower blood temperature, rabies is almost unknown in opossums. They move around at night so sprinkle, spray, or drop your vinegar when your Opossum is out for his/her dinner, of course on the spot she or he was seen last.
Please be nice to all animals on this planet. Thank you and good luck. (08/21/2006)
In general, opossums present a far lower health risk to humans than dogs and cats. They have a naturally high level of immunity to diseases. Opossums are more resistant to rabies than any other mammal. They can carry fleas and will bite if provoked. Learning and discrimination tests rank opossums above dogs in intelligence and more on the level of pigs.
Opossums are transient staying only 2-3 days in an area before moving on. They do not have a territory but are always on the move, going to wherever the food is. Females stay in a smaller area while they care for their young. Their dens are located in a variety of areas including stumps, vine tangles, attics, garages, hollow trees, rock piles, under buildings and in the abandoned burrows of other animals.
If attacked and unable to fight or run from danger it puts up a terrific bluff and can give the appearance of being really good at defending itself. As a last resort, it will collapse and play dead. This involuntary response causes the opossum to become comatose for a period of from 40 minutes to 4 hours. Give a "dead" opossum the benefit of the doubt and do not dispose of the body until you are sure it is dead.
Few opossums survive to become adults and those that do have a life expectancy of from only one to two years due to its many predators, man being the worst.
If there is an opossum in your area, just leave it alone, it should move on in a couple of days. However, if you find an opossum continues to return to your area, try eliminating the things that are attracting it:
Do not leave pet food out at night.
Pick up fallen fruit.
Clear away bushes, woodpiles and other hiding places.
Do not leave garage doors open at night.
If an opossum gets into your house or garage, it can be safely trapped by leaning an empty, tall kitchen trash can at a 30-45 degree angle against something the opossum can climb onto. Place cat food or ripe fruit at the bottom of the trash can. The opossum will be able to climb into the trash can but will not be able to get out. Immediately take the can outside. Tip the can on its side and the opossum will leave when it feels it is safe.
You can also try to leave a trail of cat food leading to an open door. Observe quietly at a distance. Once it leaves, shut the door. Do not try to push the opossum out with a broom. The frightened animal will freeze and not move.
If there is an opossum in your yard, leave it alone. If it is in your garden, it is helping you by eating the harmful pests that do damage. (09/20/2006)
Empty cans or containers
Rags to act as wicks
Step 1. You need to make the attic smell unpleasant. Soak the rag in ammonia then place it in the can or container. Pour extra ammonia in the can then place the can in the attic. The wick effect will disperse the ammonia in the confined attic space. Use enough ammonia cans so that the aroma is unpleasant but not so strong that the animal will be overcome and die of the lack of oxygen.
Step 2. Make the Attic Bright. Hang the portable light in the attic using a high wattage bulb. Leave the light on 24-hours a day until the animal leaves. The bright light will make the animal feel insecure because potential predators can see and cause it harm. It also makes it hard for the animal to sleep, so the animal will search for a darker and safer location.
Step 3. Invade the Attic with Loud Human Voices. Place a radio in the attic tuned to a talk radio station. Raise the volume so that the sounds reach the entire attic. Humans are deadly predators and strike fear in animals. Wild animals do not want to be around people and by providing constant human voices, you make the attic a scary place. Don't play music, only talk stations will scare the animals.
You have eliminated every reason the wild animal chose your attic. It is now a smelly, bright, and nosy place. The animal must now find a new home. If it is a mother with young babies, it isn't easy to create a new nest in one night. Give the mother time to move her babies because she can only take one at a time. Depending on the species, it may take three or four days to move the young animals. Once the animals have left, secure entry points to prevent a new animal from moving in.
*Adapted with permission from the Wildlife Care Center's publication "Animal In Your Attic? 3 Steps To Encourage It To Leave." (11/05/2006)
Cayenne pepper does not work. I sprinkled a pound around my shed where the beast lives, and later that evening it was shuffling around covered with the red pepper but otherwise unfazed. (04/22/2007)
I live in an area where it is illegal to kill possums but there is a huge possum that broke into my guest room and did tons of damage, and now it is just sitting in the garden and I hate having it there. I need to get rid of it permanently. It has already completely ruined my pool table, which is going to cost a fortune to get restored! I really need it gone. Thanks.
Editor's Note: You could try trapping it in a pet carrier by putting cat or dog food in there. Then take it to a wildlife rescue. Most places where it is illegal to harm wildlife also have places to take the animals. Good luck with this. (04/28/2007)
It worked! I read this on this thread:
"If an opossum gets into your house or garage, it can be safely trapped by leaning an empty, tall kitchen trash can at a 30-45 degree angle against something the opossum can climb onto. Place cat food or ripe fruit at the bottom of the trash can. The opossum will be able to climb into the trash can but will not be able to get out."
I gave it a try to get rid of the possum that has been getting under our house every night at 10:30 for the last 2 weeks. This morning at 5am, the unmistakable sound of claws on plastic woke me up. The flashlight confirmed my catch! I set the trash can upright and put a heavy lid on it. Later this morning I will drive him out to some woods far away from the house and turn him loose. Since I don't have a cat, I will give him some more of the cat food I bought for this purpose as a starter meal in his new surroundings. (11/11/2007)
Just set heaps of traps. (04/10/2008)
Possums do not get rabies, as their body temperature is too low to contract the disease. They act ferocious when cornered, but it is just an act. They are docile creatures. If you want to get rid of them, borrow a live trap from the animal shelter or buy one on eBay. You can get a large one for about $30 like I did. (06/02/2008)
By connie w
There's a reason why god created possums. They eat all the nasty bugs, snails, and overripe fruits that have fallen from the trees. They don't attack cats or dogs, although they show their teeth they're very harmless animals. It's the dogs and cats who kill possums so for those people who want to kill possums, it is a sin to kill an animal god created. Leave them alone. If you don't want them in your yard, cover your trash with something heavy so it doesn't overflow and invite possums or raccoons. They're just god's creatures, and they deserve to live just like you and I. (06/07/2008)
I live in Riverside, California and have had a possum problem for several years. I was driving home at about 1 a.m. a few years ago and saw a mother possum lumbering down my street with 5-6 babies riding on her back. Little did I know she was headed to my yard. Several months later they are living in my shed with a raccoon in the rafters. I used trapping cages and caught 9 of them and the City came by and picked each one up. Recently, I have caught 4 in the trapping cage. My neighbor bought it at Harbor Freight Co. for $20.
As far as possums just eating rotten fruit and nasty bugs, they eat all my fruit much of which hasn't had a chance to get ripe. So, even if they are God's creatures, they keep multiplying and cause too many problems. The City relocates them, by the way, to the riverbed locally. (07/02/2008)
By Dale Parsons
I have a solution for many of you concerned with ridding your yards or decks from the possums. However, as some of the commenters have indicated they are a useful creature and don't typically attack your pets; more of a nuisance than anything.
The solution is simple; lay a trail of moth balls around the border of your yard, deck, garage, etc. You will have to redo this exercise every few months as either weather or the disturbance of the trail will remove the necessary barrier.
Many dog pounds will loan or rent out humane traps. There may be other places you can rent one. Trap it and take it to the woods. No need to kill one of God's creatures. Make sure it's not a female with babies. Don't want the babies to starve without mother's milk. (07/20/2008)
Possums can carry Leptospirosis, which is recognized as a major cause of acute kidney failure in dogs. If you have possums in your yard, you need to get your dog vaccinated. My dachshund got lepto and almost died. Now she has to eat a special food because her kidneys are so damaged. She can't get her teeth cleaned because that requires anesthetic and her kidneys can't take it. (09/12/2008)
We have a possum issue, so I called the animal control for a cage. My husband is picking it up right now, but he is going to take the possum to the woods, because when I asked what they do with them, they said they put it down.
I'm am not an "animal lover", but I do respect that everything has it's purpose whether I like how it looks or what it's purpose is, so I can't knowingly have it killed. I also understand that it is man that is encroaching into wildlife's domain and not the other way around. (12/01/2008)
We have an occasional possum in the yard. And fortunately for me, my dog (half lab, half German Shepard) likes to bring them to us.
The only aggression I've ever seen is hissing and baring teeth. Twice by a mother with babies, and the other by a very young one that my dog had cornered under a step. Her nose got a nice swipe but other than that, none of them have ever attacked her. Instead, when she moves in to grab one, every single time, they have played dead. When we finally get the dog to drop it, we let it go in the crawfish or rice ponds nearby.
I know people freak when they hiss at you but think about it--if someone was swatting at you with a broom or shoving you off or whatever, wouldn't you hiss and bare teeth?
I don't particularly like them, and while I love my dog, the whole retrieving for me does make things interesting when I let her in for the night, but I wouldn't kill one unless I absolutely had to. (02/03/2009)
By In Louisiana
Check with your local animal control office or state university agricultural extension service for advice and resources on getting rid of the possum.
On the other hand, the way the economy is going, we'll all be eating "possum pie" before long; this should solve the problem everyone is having. :) (02/13/2009)
By Possum Pie
I came across this series of exchanges by accident and was saddened by the ignorance and fear of possums and a general alienation from nature.
In Australia we have a great site called Candobetter.org, and it has a possum lifestyle writer called Gloria O'Possum. You can read about how she lives indoors in a possum box and how she got there here:
I think possums are more fun than most things. (07/31/2009)
I've had a possum living under my house for over two years. He gets in and out through an opening on the side of a grill that only partially covers the hole. I first saw him when he was a baby and started feeding him. He's never left. Have never had a problem with him - and I don't have other possums. There are others in the neighborhood I've occasionally seen, but he seems to be the only one that lives under my house. I feed him Vienna sausages and pieces of chicken and sometimes cat food and pieces of fruits. I only see him at night. He pokes his head through the grill and I put the food near the opening for him - he eats and hides back in there. I have a big bowl of water nearby that I put out all the time for pigeons or stray cats. No doubt he drinks water from there too.
I've never seen him attacking anything or anyone. He doesn't destroy anything. He doesn't get into my garbage because he gets clean food. I don't mind sharing my living space with him. Considering how much space we've taken away from animals I figure that helping out a little guy that isn't harming me in any way is the least I can do. I don't know if he's helping with this but I have no mice and hardly ever see insects in my house. Before he moved in we used to have a problem with big palmetto bugs and occasionally with spiders. I don't spray because I don't like insecticides, so I suspect my "roomie" is helping.
As for the suggestions I've read above - if you really want to get rid of the possums in a humane way make sure to trap for a few days even after you catch one, because there may be more wherever they were hiding and if you seal that area up right away you may end up sealing one in there alive to die a horrible death. When you catch them just release them in a wooded area somewhere where they may at least have a chance. Good luck. (08/04/2009)
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