How to Get Rid of a Possum

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While possums are unique in that they are the only North American marsupial, they are almost always considered a pest. These nocturnal mammals are about the size of a house cat and resemble overgrown rats. Often they disturb gardens, frighten or even fight with pets, and disrupt outdoor garbage cans. Possums are also carriers of many types of diseases as well as fleas, lice and ticks. They frequently make their home underneath buildings, making them difficult to get rid of. Fortunately, there are several methods for eliminating this pest.

Things You'll Need

  • Chicken wire
  • Mesh hardware cloth
  • Flour
  • Cat or raccoon trap
  • Overripe fruit or bread with jam

Habitat Control

  • Eliminate anything a possum may find appealing from your yard. Overgrown shrubbery should be cut back to avoid the possibility of a possum making its home in your yard. Any tree limbs that overhang the roof should be cut back so they are at least 5 feet from the roof. This will prevent possums from roosting in the attic.

  • Remove pet food from outdoors prior to nightfall. Any fallen fruit should be removed at regular intervals. Ensure that any outdoor garbage bins have tightly closed lids. If possums frequently disturb the trash, you may want to consider an enclosure for the bins.

  • Stack firewood tightly to prevent possums from making a home in the gaps. Any scrap lumber or other items stored outdoors should also be orderly. If possible, keep these items at least 2 feet off the ground.

Eliminating the Pest

  • Construct a fence from chicken wire around any garden areas. The fence should be at least 4 feet high and without any support. The top of the fence should turn outward. The lack of support will make it impossible for the possum to climb the fence. This method can also be used to prevent possums from climbing trees.

  • Prevent possums from making their den underneath a building by blocking off the area with small mesh hardware cloth. If the possum is already residing in an area, sprinkle a smooth layer of flour at the entrance. Check for tracks soon after nightfall, then close off the area. Small mesh will also prevent smaller pests, such as mice, from entering.

  • Set a raccoon or cat trap if the possum remains a problem. Use overripe fruit or bread with jam as bait, as using pet food frequently results in the accidental trapping of a house pet. It is illegal to relocate these animals without a permit, so contact your local animal control once the animal has been trapped.

Tips & Warnings

  • In some areas, it is legal to shoot possums. Check with your local wildlife department regarding any restrictions as to which methods of control you can use to get rid of a possum.
  • In many cases, animal control will set a trap for you without charge. If not, check with other pest control centers in your area.
  • If a possum feels threatened, it may scratch or bite. If a possum appears overly aggressive, it is best to back away.
  • Poisons should never be used to control possums as they are usually illegal and are frequently ingested by pets.

References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images
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