Posted on: August 20, 2008 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 3

Do you know what the Didelphis virginiana is? It’s a pest you can find throughout North America and Central America. You can also find it in Costa Rica up to Canada’s southernmost area. If you have seen a nocturnal creature as big as a cat in any of the aforementioned areas, then you have spotted a didelphis virginiana. In layman’s term, it’s called virginia opossum, or just opossum.

More About Opossums

The opossum came South America, but now, it has already gone to as far as the northern part of the States. Today, it can be seen near towns, by the roadside and in garbage bins.

There are many reasons why an opossum is unique. The opossum is the only marsupial in North America. The female opossum can carry up to 13 babies in its belly pouch. It can nourish all 13 offsprings until it gives birth to all of them. It can hang using its prehensile tail. Sometimes, an opossum is called a “playing possum” because it knows how to act or play dead to get away from being killed. Faking death is one of its defense mechanisms.

If an opossum is fully grown, it can be as heavy as 10 to 14 pounds, and can be as long as two feet. It eats garbage, but it can also eat carrion. An opossum is an omnivorous creature. It can eat pet food, leaves, grass, fruits, berries, rodents, snails and insects. It lives in several types of habitats, and your home is not spared.

The Opossum Is A Pest

There are many reasons why people might want to get rid of an opossum. It goes inside your house, lives in your attic, and creates noise and an unbelievable mess. It harasses your pets by stealing your pet food and garbage, or anything that your own pets may still need. An opossum can live under a shed or a porch, and since it has a short lifespan, it can die in your attic or under your home, with a very disturbing and strong odor.

You need to get rid of an opossum because aside from the fact that it is a parasite, it is also a carrier of rabies. It can even bring other parasites inside your house. It can also give you diseases as it is a carrier of various bacterias and germs.

Controlling Opossums the Natural Way

You can only get rid of an opossum through natural methods since devices and chemical sprays don’t work on it. Some people even get the urine of a fox or a coyote (among many other types of predator urine), but that does not lure an opossum. Ultrasonic sound emitters sound interesting and effective but they do not help in getting rid of an opossum.

  • Check with your local government agencies. Use live traps. Have-a-Heart is a brand your local center for animal control surely has. Ask for help from an agent of the Department of Agriculture or your local equivalent. You can also ask for help from the State Wildlife or the State Fish and Game Department. Never hesitate to ask these departments as they may offer you live traps that you can rent.
  • Find a trap. If you are lucky enough, you can go to your local center for city animal control to get a live trap for free. If you have tool rental centers in your community, visit them because they surely have something to offer to you when it comes to getting rid of opossums and other pests. The traps that you get from the government agency are a big help because not only do they issue the traps for free, they sometimes haul the pest off in a particular area for your convenience.
  • Use bait. Trapping an opossum is not just as simple as setting up the trap. You need proper timing and the right bait. The good news is, anything that is appealing to your pet is good enough as a bait for the opossum. You can use food like cucumber, tomatoes, raw or cooked corn on the cob, pumpkins, melons, muskmelons, cantaloupes, watermelons, grapes, raisins, bananas, pears and apples.
  • Time it right. An opossum is a nocturnal animal, meaning it is active at night. This is where proper timing comes in. Before the sun goes down, set the trap. During the day, you can close the trap. Just do not forget to leave the bait inside the trap because opossums can smell baits, especially a sun-cooked melon. There are times when the bait grows dry. If this happens, add something fresh to make it effective. You will only have once chance to catch the opossum in the trap. If you do not catch it the first time it gets near the trap, then it won’t go back to that place anymore because it already knows that it is a trap.
  • Look for holes. If the pest is in the attic, look for holes. The opossum may be hiding in the holes, so cover them while the pest is not there. You can also create a “house” for the opossum. Make sure it is made of cotton wood. Seal the hole to catch the critter.

An opossum can never be a pet; it’s a pest. If you see one living in your house and you don’t do something about it, expect it to bring bacteria, dirt and diseases inside your house. It’ll mess up your things and infested your food. Expect to live an unhealthy life with an opossum, unless you act now and try the tips above.

Click here for more information about how to get rid of opossums

3 People reacted on this

  1. Wow. Is there a hysterical girl in the house?

    Possums are ugly, and I don’t blame you for wanting to get rid of them. And they are animals, so it’s certainly not a sanitary situation having them in the house, but they are hardly the plague infested vermin the author seems to think they are. And they are not parasites. I mean where the hell did that come from? Do you even know what a parasite is?

    Opossum can carry rabies, but there low body temperatures make them very resistant to it. It’s VERY unlikely that a possum will carry any kind of disease. They are personally fastidious creatures, very much like cats.

    They are ugly as hell, that’s for sure. And scary when they start hissing and showing off their teeth. But they are very inoffensive creatures. If you call their bluff they generally curl up in a ball and play dead.

  2. Hmm. No, opossums aren’t likely to give you rabies, diabetes, the black plague, etc.

    They do make a mess. They do die and stink if they can’t get out of whatever place they’ve gotten into. They will scare the heck out of you if you happen to walk into a room of your house and find one there eating from the cat food bowl.

    It may be inhumane, but in cases of home invasion (or attempted home invasion) I’ve killed them with firearms, or even by bludgeoning one to death (please don’t try this if you’ve a weak stomach … or if you have a wife, kids, or other relatives who will witness it).

    It would be far better to trap them and remove them to another location. I’ve done this also. In addition to the trapping method above, since opossums love to get in your trash cans (especially when no other food is available), you can just “bait” an empty can and leave it in a place where the opossums can get in. They *can’t* get out … they don’t climb that well. Some authorities suggest leaning the can up against a wall, the front porch/stairs, etc.

    In the morning, you’ll likely have an opossum staring up at you. Load the trash can in the pickup and drive a mile or two (more if you’re in the ‘big city’ LOL) — then dump your furry, err, friend to make the best of it by himself.

    Also, try and identify why you’re being invaded by opossums in the first place. They aren’t there to sleep in a comfy bed or watch your DVD collection. Cover your trash cans with tight-fitting covers. Eliminate mice, rats, and other pests (including bugs) that the opossums like to eat. Seal all openings in the foundation of the home. This is a *great* idea. There are things much worse than opossums that can get under there. Prior to getting all the concrete work done on a new addition to my place, I had snakes and skunks also. An opossum ain’t nothing compared to that 😉

  3. Oppossums RARELY acquire rabies – the seem to be immune to most diseases which is why they can handle rotted food – antibodies. It is WONDERFUL actually that they eat worse pests such as mice, rats, insects and grubs; all the stuff we spend thousands on trying to control all summer long. BUT…this does not mean I want to bunk with one. WE MAY HAVE ONE LIVING UNDER OUT SHED! I saw a fairly large (fat) animal foreging aroung the neighbourhood last night. It was going in circles on my neighbour’s lawn with 2 feet of snow on it, then waddled down my driveway to the back yard and directly (it knew) under my shed where I had noticed a big hole with small branches sitcking out of it back in fall. It did have a short rats tail, but in the dark appeared dark brown. It was big as a cat so not a rat! I have seen tracks in my snow around my shed with 4 feet and where it’s body was rubbing in the snow along as well – the body trail is about 7 – 8″ wide so this tells you how big. The feet tracks are about 4″ apart sideways and about 6 – 8″ long ways and in the snow each foot track is 1″ in diameter. WHAT DO I DO NOW???? Both my neighbours and I, have seen holes all over our lawns and I thought they may be snake holes, but of course, there are too many for that. (I hope). Do Oppossums go in circles when foreging? I thought this a strange behavior and know other animals do not do this. It went in circles continuously until getting on the pavement where it began to waddle. Do they walk close to the ground? Can they be dark brown in winter? (or maybe it was just the lighting) I did not see its head, but maybe on the white dirty snow, it may have blended in so I could not see it. I was too focused on its body and rats tail I think, and running to the back window to see where it went. DOES ANY OHTER MAMMAL OTHER THAN OPPOSSUM AND RAT HAVE A RATS TAIL?

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