If you’ve noticed possum activity around your house, don’t worry. Possums are generally solitary animals who keep to themselves. They rarely carry diseases and are not aggressive unless provoked. Furthermore, possums tend to move on just as quickly as they’ve been spotted.
However, sometimes a possum chooses to move into your home or onto your property, and this can be somewhat of a nuisance.
In this article, we are going to learn about possums and the problems they cause, and discuss how to get rid of possums safely and effectively.
What Are Possums?
Possums are an animal in the marsupial family.
Possums may look like a cross between a rat and a raccoon, but these animals are in fact most closely related to kangaroos and koalas. They are the only marsupial found in North America, and despite being seen by many people as a problematic pest, these animals are actually very important to our ecosystem.
Wondering how to get rid of possums? It’s no wonder. Possums are most often blamed for raiding trash cans and nesting beneath porches, in garages, in crawl spaces, and in hollowed trees.
Still, while they can be a disturbance if they nest near your home or property, it’s fascinating to learn about just how unique they really are.
This video talks a bit about how possums differ from other animals commonly seen as pests.
Of course, as interesting as possums can be, you may not find them so cool if you are dealing with possum-related property damage.
Keep reading to learn more about how to get rid of possums.
Possum Damage – How To Recognize A Possum Problem
Possums can be destructive if they get into your home.
Possums are active all year round, so possum problems can come up at any season. Possums are nocturnal creatures who are most often seen at night roaming around on the side of roads, digging through garbage bins, or traipsing through yards looking for a meal.
Being the opportunistic animals they are, possums will often make their dens in pre-sheltered areas. This is why so many possums are discovered in garages, roofs, sheds, and crawl spaces. Are you wondering if you have a possum problem and how to get rid of possums?
Some common signs of a possum on your property include:
- Strange Noises
Possums are loud creatures. They make scratching, ripping, clawing, and scurrying noises that are especially noticeable if they have made a den in an enclosed space like a garden shed or in your roof. Possums are also vocal, making lots of hissing, clicking, shrieking, and lip-smacking sounds. If you do hear lots of vocal sounds coming from a possum den, then chances are you have a mother and babies nesting there.
- Foul Odors
Because possums are large animals, their waste will create a foul odor, especially if they have invaded your home. Possums also release a foul smelling scent when frightened, which can be downright nauseating. This odor alone is enough to make you look into how to get rid of possums asap.
- Exterior Damage
If a possum has gotten into your home, you may see signs of where he entered. Usually you will notice torn roof shingles, ripped or damaged siding, or disturbed gutters and eaves.
- Repeated Possum Sightings
If you are repeatedly seeing a possum or signs of possum activity around your home or property, you may have a possum living somewhere nearby.
How To Get Rid Of Possums – Three Popular Methods
There are three common methods you can use to get rid of possums.
Possums may be a nuisance, but they are solitary animals who tend to live on their own, meaning once you remove a possum it really only takes implementing some preventive measures in order to keep other possums from returning.
But how do you get rid of possums once you know you have them? There are three popular methods you can use, including:
- Professional Removal
Trapping is usually the most effective method for how to get rid of possums, especially if you have a family of possums dwelling on your property.
Most people prefer to use catch and release traps as this is the easiest and most humane way to get rid of them. However, please note that trapping and relocating possums may be illegal in your region without a license and may require you to contact a professional.
Repellents are perhaps the best tool you can use for how to get rid of possums because it is safe, legal, and humane. Using possum repellents usually does not require the use of chemicals or poisons and usually works to not only repel possums, but also other pests like raccoons, rabbits, coyotes, and more.
One of the most common methods people use for how to get rid of possums is contacting professionals. Since possums are protected in many areas, you may find that only a licensed professional can help you remove and relocate possums safely.
Before investing in repellents and traps, we encourage you to do some research into the possum protection laws in your state or region.
How To Get Rid Of Possums Using Traps
Trapping and relocating possums is an effective and humane way to get rid of them.
As we mentioned above, before investing in a possum trap we suggest you do some research to ensure trapping and relocating possums in your region is legal. Keep in mind that many states only allow you to trap and relocate possums if you have a license.
That said, using a catch and release trap is an effective and safe method many people use. Once you have successfully trapped and removed the possum, you can move on to using repellents and preventive measures to keep them from returning.
We have listed some of our favorite live animal traps for how to get rid of possums below.
Havahart Large Animal Trap
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The first trap on our list for how to get rid of possums is this catch and release trap by Havaart. The trap is specifically designed to catch larger animals like possums, raccoons, armadillos, and groundhogs. It has smoothed edges inside so that the possum does not get injured, especially if it is frightened and thrashing about while you relocate it.
It works using a spring loaded door designed to reduce the number of escapes. It is also weather and rust resistant, and you can use it as many times as necessary to control your possum problem.
OxGord Live Animal Trap
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Another trap we like is made by Oxgord and is again designed specifically for those looking to use the catch and release method.
We recommend this live trap because it again is designed for larger animals like possums and raccoons, and provides a safe space to hold these animals until you are able to relocate them.
You can bait the trap to entice the possum to enter. The door works with a pedal trip and comes in different color options including a camouflage green.
HomGarden Humane Live Animal Trap
The HomGarden live trap is another trap we like for catching possums and other pests like cats, rabbits and raccoons. It is made with sturdy metal that reduces the rate of escape and uses a pedal trigger.
The handle at the top has a protected metal base for safe relocation, and the trap is designed with animals of a larger size in mind. That said, this trap t will not catch smaller animals, so you know you are getting the animal you are targeting.
Havahart Two-Door Possum Trap
Last on our list of live traps for how to get rid of possums is another product by Havahart. This is a larger possum trap that utilizes two doors, making the release of the possum much easier. This is also ideal if you are dealing with a family of possums or very large possums on your property.
This cage is made with rust resistant mesh and uses two spring-loaded doors to help increase the chances of catching that pesky possum.
How To Get Rid Of Possums Using Repellents
Repellents can help you better control any possum problem you may be having.
Most experts will tell you that repellents are the best choice for how to get rid of possums on your property. Possums are sensitive creatures to certain smells, sounds, and lights, and are easily deterred with the proper methods.
Let’s take a look at some of our favorite repellents for how to get rid of possums below.
Critter-Repellent Natural Shake-Away
This product by Critter-Repellent uses the same formula that many possum repellents use for how to get rid of possums, which is predator urine.
These urine granules help get rid of possums in a natural way because they are completely safe to use in your yard and around children and pets. This product is also mess-free and simple to use. We love that you can simply shake it around the perimeter of your house, yard, garden, and trash cans to help repel and reduce possum activity around your home.
Havahart Critter Ridder
Another repellent we like is offered by Critter Ridder.
This is a spray repellent, although this company also provides granules and other forms of possum repellent. This spray uses ingredients that help repel pests like possums by using oil of black pepper.
The oil works by causing a harmless irritation to a number of pests including possums, raccoons, squirrels, and even feral cats. The product is safe to use around people but it can cause irritation to cats and dogs, so use it carefully around pets.
PMart Coyote Urine Spray
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One of the most effective remedies for how to get rid of possums is going to be the use of predator urine. This may sound strange or even gross, but the scent of predator urine helps deter all kinds of pests, from possums to raccoons to squirrels and skunks.
The scent of predator urine leads possums to believe there are predators nearby, therefore naturally encouraging them to stay away. This method is safe to use around children, pets, and people. However, coyote urine may attract other coyotes, so keep that in mind.
Predator Guard Solar Powered Light
Possums are nocturnal, so any type of light that suddenly turns on or makes them feel exposed or vulnerable is going to help get rid of them or scare them away.
We recommend this solar powered light by Predator Guard as one of our solar options for how to get rid of possums using repellents. It is easy to set up and you can put it anywhere you need, including gardens, trashcans, around your property, near your garage, on your porch, etc.
This light also repels raccoons, skunks, bars, and more.
Duranom Ultrasonic Animal Repellent
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Another ultrasonic pest repellent product we like for how to get rid of possums is made by Duranom. This is a motion sensor possum repellent that uses a strobe light to help scare away possums and keep them from coming back.
It is easy to use and, because it is solar powered, it allows you to simply set it and go about your business. You can use this in your yard, around the perimeter of your house, and near your porch or trees to help keep possums and other pests away like mice, rats, skunks, bats, raccoons, fox and more.
Motion Activated Sprinkler
The last repellent on our list for how to get rid of possums using repellents is this motion activated sprinkler by Orbit. This is a safe and humane way to deter all kinds of unwanted wildlife from your property and helps deter possums, fox, coyotes, skunks, raccoons and more.
This sprinkler uses a motion sensor to spray water at unwanted visitors. It works during the day and night and It is battery operated.
How To Get Rid Of Possums – Why Poisons Are Not Recommended
Lethal remedies for possum removal and control may be illegal in your area and are oftentimes ineffective anyway.
Possums may be seen as a nuisance to many across the United States, but these animals are actually quite rare and play an important role in our ecosystem.
Infact, possums are helpful to our gardens and landscaping. They eat a number of pests, including insects and rodents and are even credited for helping reduce the tick population.
Of course, possums can still be problematic, especially when they nest on our property or in our homes.
Still, when wondering how to get rid of possums, most experts suggest steering clear of lethal methods and poisons.
Killing possums may actually be illegal in your area. Furthermore, possums have incredible immune systems and are able to tolerate high levels of poisons and venoms. In fact, it is even rare for possums to carry rabies.
We should further point out that using poisons is not usually necessary, considering these solitary animals live alone and tend not to infest homes or properties in large numbers.
If you are looking for some effective and legal methods for how to get rid of possums, we have some great home remedies you can take a look at below.
How To Get Rid Of Possums Using Home Remedies
Mothballs can help deter possums and other pests.
As we’ve mentioned, the best way to avoid having a possum problem on your property is to use repellents. But did you know not all possum repellents must be purchased commercially?
That’s right! There are plenty of household items you can use to get rid of possums. Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite home remedies below.
Mothballs are commonly used to get rid of a number of household pests including possums, squirrels, roaches, spiders, lizards, and more. However, we should note that mothballs use toxic chemicals and the fumes can be irritating and even harmful to people and pets, so use this method with caution.
If you still want to know how to get rid of possums using mothballs, simply place the mothballs anywhere you notice possum activity, including under your house, around certain trees, and near garbage cans.
Ammonia is a strong deterrent for many pests. That said, it can be toxic to people and pets so use this method carefully. You can soak rags or cotton balls in ammonia and place these items around your home or anywhere you want to keep possums from entering or returning.
- Molasses, Water, and Dish Soap
Wondering how to get rid of possums using molasses? All you need is a liter of water, a few tablespoons of molasses, and a few drops of liquid dish soap. Simply combine this formula together and apply it to trees and around plants or the perimeter of your home to keep possums away. You can repeat this process after it rains or as often as necessary.
- Cayenne Pepper
Hot peppers like cayenne pepper, black pepper, and crushed red pepper are natural deterrents you can use for how to get rid of possums because they irritate a possum’s eyes and nose when walked through.
- Cat or Dog Fur
Cats and dogs have the same effect on possums as possums’ natural predators do, and their hair will help encourage possums to vacate the area. You can use pet fur clippings or even fur that has been shed and place it anywhere around your home or outside you want to keep possum-free.
Quick Facts – What You Should Know About Possums
The possum is the only marsupial in North America and is closely related to the Kangaroo.
Although widely considered a nuisance and pest to many US residents, the possum is actually a fascinating animal and is the only marsupial found in North America. Possums are direct relatives of kangaroos and koalas, although they move much more slowly.
Possums are also much less delicate, having incredible adaptation skills and natural immunities to certain poisons, venoms, and diseases.
Let’s learn a bit more about the possum and why these animals are so unique.
- Possum Habitat
Possums are nocturnal and traditionally prefer to live near streams and other water sources, although they are highly adaptable to many living conditions. Possums are often found nesting in garages, sheds, attics, crawlspaces, beneath houses, and even in abandoned animal dens.
They are animals of opportunity who live solitary lives and prefer to live close to their food sources. This is why removing the possums food source is so important for those looking at how to get rid of possums for good.
- Possum Diet
Speaking of food sources, did you know possums are omnivores? This means they eat both meat and plants and is why they are often found raiding gardens, fruit trees, and garbage cans.
They prefer to eat fruits, insects and grains, but have also been known to eat pet food, fish, birds, and other small mammals.
- Possum Lifespan
Possums generally live between one to four years, with their average life being just two years. Possums have very short lifespans in the wild due to the amount of natural predators they have, but even in captivity, possums typically don’t live past the age of four.
- Possum Reproduction
Possums are solitary animals and generally only come together to mate. Once mating is complete, the male possum, known as a jack, goes about his business and leaves. Female possums (aka jills) give birth twice a year and each litter can contain up to 20 young, although usually only about half of those young survive.
The babies, which are called joeys, are the size of jelly beans at birth. Jills have pouches similar to kangaroo pouches, where their bean-sized infants live for the next 100 or more days before they will crawl out and ride on their mother’s back. Joeys take between six to eight months to mature.
How To Get Rid Of Possums – When To Call A Professional
If you are concerned about possum damage, it may be time to call a professional.
When you are working on how to get rid of possums, the good news is that possums are generally harmless and will usually be on their way within a day or two. However, if you have noticed that you have a recurring possum problem, it may be time to call a professional.
Bear in mind that trapping, relocating, and killing possums is illegal in many states and regions, as possums are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act of 1974.
That said, licensed professionals can safely trap and relocate problematic possums humanely and safely.
Once you have removed possums from your home or property, you should immediately go about using preventative measures to ensure they don’t return.
Let’s talk more about how to get rid of possums using preventive measures.
Tips On Preventing Future Possum Problems
There are several preventative measures you can use to help keep possums away.
When dealing with how to get rid of possums, most experts agree that prevention is key. These nocturnal animals are simply following their natural instincts to eat, nest, and survive, so as long as you make your home and property inhospitable to them, you are likely to keep them at bay.
Some of the best steps you can take to help prevent future possum problems include:
- Removing A Possum’s Food Sources
Possums are omnivores, which means they eat both animals and plants. You can help reduce a possums activity around your home by removing the things that will attract them. The best way to do this is to pick up any fallen fruit from fruit trees as soon as they drop, bring in harvestable crops from vegetable gardens, clean up after outdoor picnics and barbeques, and bring in any pet foods.
- Do Some Cleaning And Landscaping
Possums prefer homes and yards with overgrown trees, bushes, and grasses. Trim long branches and keep your yard nice and tidy. Rake dead leaves and clean up any clutter on your property that may attract possums.
- Get Pest-Proof Garbage Bin Lids
Another method you can use is to invest in some pest-proof garbage lids. These trash lids will help seal in the scent of garbage and help repel other pests like raccoons and bears as well. You can also help keep possums at bay by not leaving your trash cans outside overnight.
- Perform Routine Home Maintenance
Possums enter homes the same way many other pests do – through unchecked entry and exit points. Cover vents and caulk and seal loose sideboards, windows, crawl space entrencances, and more. Also keep a close eye on your attic and any loose or broken roofing where a possum or pest could enter. Possums also like to make their dens beneath houses, so making sure you seal up any entryways below your home will help as well.
What are your thoughts? Do you have other ideas on how to get rid of possums? Let us know what your thoughts are on possum control and removal in the comment section below.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.