Possum in the Attic

How to Get Rid of Opossums In the Attic - The opossum is a notoriously nomadic and opportunistic animal. This marsupial will remain near a constant food source, scavenging anything edible out of garbage bins and compost piles. This animal is not a picky eater. Its omnivorous nature makes living near humans ideal. If a source of food is constant and plentiful, the nomadic opossum will consider choosing a long term home, often in the shed, out building or attic of a nearby household. Opossums are untidy, eliminating waste wherever they travel. Because of their size, waste piles and puddles are often sizable and messy. An attic floor with an opossum resident can quickly be covered with feces and debris, resulting in a putrid stench and damage to underlying flooring.

With any wild animal, the best way to keep and opossum out of your home to eliminate any reason the opossum might want to stay there to begin with. What are the animal’s sources of food? Make sure your garbage bins are sealable. Edible food waste should be placed in bags or containers to eliminate any luring aromas. Do not place tied bags next to the curb or outside without a bin or sturdy receptacle. Pet food and bowls should be kept inside, or the pet’s food should be taken away after the outside animal has finished with it. Leaving bowls of food and unsealed garbage out is a welcome sign to wild animals. Sometimes you may do everything in your power to eliminate the food source near you home but some obstacle is standing in your way. Some people live near local dumps or have neighbors who refuse to abide by trash and pet food recommendations. In this situation, the best method is to seal up your home or out building as best as possible. An opossum will not be as industrious when it comes to breaking into a home as a raccoon would be, but any hole or flaw in the structure can provide entrance. As an opportunistic animal, an opossum won’t need much coaxing to invade an area.

Once inside the home or property, resist the urge to poison the small marsupial. Animals suffering from the effects of poison will not die immediately. They will seek the safety and shelter of their dens, sometimes traveling closer to heat and water sources and places of quiet. For a homeowner, this could mean you will soon have a large, decomposing animal body somewhere under or inside your home. Unlike smaller animals which dry up in a shorter amount of time, a carcass as large as that of an opossum will take months to reach the stage where smell is no longer an issue. Until then, the odor will permeate the home and remain as long as the body remains.

The most common repellents for opossums are based on the science of predation. Fox urine is the most common, commercial chemical repellent available. Electric current repellents are also marketed with supposed success. Most professional wildlife removers will tell you that, in truth, repellents and deterrents are worthless. Fox urine will cause a heightened state of awareness in a prey animal such as the opossum, but without other stimuli (such as the physical presence of a fox) the opossum will learn there is no associated danger at that particular location. Electric current repellents can work if there is only one access point to where the animal is living, however, the risk of scaring the animal further into the home is just as reasonable as the chance you might scare it away. Even in the off chance that the opossum does relocate, what happens if there were young left behind?

In reality, the best way of getting rid of opossums is to trap and remove them. Because they are considered a large nuisance animal, lethal trapping is not usually practical for the average homeowner. Live traps are available and should be left, unset and baited, for a few days to allow the opossum to become comfortable with taking food from the baited pressure plate. Set the traps on the roof near the entry hole, or on the ground below the entry hole. You can even set the traps inside the attic if you want. Opossums are very easy to trap. When caught, opossums are usually easy to relocate, providing no offspring were left behind. If relocated to a place with an abundant source of food and adequate protection, the nomadic nature of the opossum will take over and keep them from intentionally returning to your home.

The job is not done until the entry hole that the possum was using to gain access to the attic is sealed shut with professional repairs.

Learn more about these other animals: raccoons in attic - rats in attic - mice in attic - possums in attic - bats in attic