Opossums can be a nuisance because they scavenge for food and like to make their homes in attics, under decks and houses, and even inside walls. The best way to get rid of an opossum is to have it trapped and relocated by a professional.
Opossums are the only marsupials (mammals that carry their young in pouches) native to North America. They have pointed snouts and skinny, naked tails, making them resemble rats. They have 50 sharp teeth, the most of any mammal. Adults weigh 10 to 14 pounds.
Opossums mate in January. After the young are born, they climb into their mother’s pouch and grow. Then they cling to her back, and finally leave to live on their own. Opossums generally only live two or three years.
Opossums are opportunistic eaters and omnivores that rummage at night for food. They will eat almost anything, but they prefer meat, even rotting carcasses. They will also steal pet food or garbage, making them a nuisance to people.
Opossums are nomadic, but they often establish a home base, such as a house or shed. They frequently make their homes in attics or inside walls, where they can leave droppings or die, creating a foul smell. They also sometimes live in basements or under buildings. Females with young are especially likely to stay in one place for a period of time.
While they generally do not carry rabies, opossums can spread fleas and parasites, and their droppings can spread diseases.
Opossums are not very fast, will stand their ground and bear their teeth if they feel threatened, and may attack pets. In extreme cases, they will “play possum,” either pretending to be dead or passing out from fear.
Repellents and high-pitched noises will not work to get rid of an opossum. You should not try to trap one yourself due to the risk of getting bitten. If you have a problem with an opossum, contact the professionals at Anderson Wildlife Control, who can safely and humanely trap and relocate it.