That 2-foot, tannish-furred critter knocking over your garbage cans that is neither raccoon nor household pet is most likely a possum, the only marsupial native to the United States and Canada. Also called opossums, these scavengers often visit residence areas in search of food, which includes nuts, eggs and fruit as well as small animals, birds and insects. Keep them away from your yard and out of your pet's food with simple yet effective, and mostly inexpensive, methods.
How to Get Rid of Possums in the Yard
Things You'll Need
Trash cans for yard debris
Motion-activated sprinkler system (optional)
Possum traps (optional)
Ensure your yard is well maintained and therefore less attractive to possums. Keep all garbage cans in your garage, shed or other fenced-in area that possums cannot breach. Make sure the lids are always on the cans and fitted properly. Pick up fallen fruit from any fruit trees you may have on your property regularly, and keep shrubs and trees pruned and long grasses mowed. Possums like to make nests in tree crevices, under housing and brush piles in addition to being attracted to food sources.
Block off any entrances to the home, including porches, decks, holes or open areas under the home, fences and dog doors.
Install a motion-activated sprinkler system to go off upon movement if dealing with more than one possum or one that persists despite your best efforts.
Set up possum traps in areas they seem to frequent. Look for droppings and tracks to identify high-traffic possum areas. Call your local animal control to remove the possums.
Bring all pet food dishes inside for the evening each night.
Sprinkler systems may also go off when other animals, such as squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, dogs and cats, run in the affected area, which scares pets and wastes water.