Opossums sure do cop a fair share of controversy. Sure they may appear cute and cuddly on movies, however they’re annoying, cause unnecessary damage and have extremely sharp teeth that can chew through your trash can leaving behind a huge mess for you to clean up in the morning. Therefore, it’s understandable that you’re trying to find out how to trap opossums.
In order to successfully trap an opossum, you need to position your trap in the area it’s frequently visiting. Once you’ve placed any traps in those specific areas, entice the opossums towards your trap by using bait.
You will learn techniques on trapping opossums (which you’ll be able to start using straight away) throughout this article, as well as learning information on the different bait you can use, what traps you may want to consider as well as other interesting facts.
4 Steps to Help You with Getting Started on Trapping Opossums:
- Decide what trap to use. Take into consideration what area you’re having the most trouble with as there are a variety of traps you can choose from depending on where the opossums are situated.
- Once you’ve decided what trap you’ll use, ensure to keep any pets or small children nearby within a safe proximity of the opossum traps.
- Place any trap/s in your area of focus, leave it overnight and check back the next day. Consider using bait such as fish or canned animal food to lure the opossums towards your trap.
- Once successfully trapped, release the opossums into the wild away from your property or the property of others. Take caution however when releasing any opossums as they can attempt to claw or bite you especially if they’re not feeling the happiest that day.
One other method that you may or may not want to consider is killing them directly. If you do decide to proceed with this method, you will want to carefully learn your country and state laws around the killing of opossums and do your own individual research.
Some people have tried “do it yourself” methods on trapping opossums such as throwing a blanket or a towel over the top of it, however, I would not recommend any DIY methods as opossums will claw you if they have to and you could seriously injure yourself. The last thing we need is a trip to the hospital and an opossum still on the loose!
In relation to the variety of traps you can use to trap opossums, I have personal experience with using a live capture cage trap. A live capture cage trap is a one door large cage that will lock shut once an opossum has walked inside. The trap works great for areas around your home and thankfully is children and pet friendly, which is a plus! In my opinion, this would be the most humane method and trap to use as it does not kill the animal, but instead locks it inside therefore requiring you to release it elsewhere.
If you are not interested or too keen on releasing the animal yourself, the next best thing to do is to call your local animal control to take care of it and release it for you or consider hiring a professional.
How to Trap an Opossum in Garage
Are you having trouble with opossums living wild and free inside of your garage? Are they causing you frustration? Well keep reading to learn how to trap an opossum in your garage!
In order to trap an opossum that’s inside your garage, you’ll want to decide on the type of trap you want to use considering your state laws and personal preference. Once you have decided on what trap you’ll be using, start off by sealing any open holes that the opossum can use to escape from. You can then set up your traps and it may not hurt to consider using bait or lure to entice them inside of your trap. To increase your chances of a higher capture rate, it may also be a good idea to have one or two traps located outside of your garage. Once captured, release the opossums into the wild or contact a professional removal company to rid them for you.
How to Trap Opossums in Attic
If you’re dealing with nuisance opossums causing havoc inside your attic, rest assured I know exactly how to help you. I’ve had my fair share of annoying opossums coming and going through a hole in my roof which lead to my attic, however, by using some of these methods I am about to share helped rid and prevent any opossums from coming back!
In my opinion, the best way to trap an opossum that’s inside your attic is by using a live capture cage trap. Place your live trap/s either in the corner of the attic or in the exact area the opossums are frequently going to and wait it out overnight to see if they’ve been captured. When setting up your traps, place something sweet inside of the trap such as jam or peanut butter to lure them towards it.
Another method for trapping opossums inside your attic is using mothballs and placing them all throughout your floor board. Alternatively, you can opt for using opossum repellent instead. Simply spray repellent throughout the inside which should be enough to rid them out of your attic. If you do decide to use either of these two methods (such as the mothballs or opossum repellent), you’ll need to ensure the opossum has an escape route in place! Seal all open holes but leave one open in order for the opossum to exit your attic.
At absolute desperate measures, you can attempt to keep your attic open with all doors and windows inside of your home shut except for the front door. This should serve as a last resort/alternative to try to get any opossum to leave your attic. I personally would not use this alternative as you run the risk of the opossum causing internal damage to your property along with spreading possible diseases the opossum may be carrying.
Keep in mind to be careful when you’re dealing with or handling opossums, as if they get close enough to bite or scratch you it could end badly. It wouldn’t hurt to wear protective gloves, protective clothing or a mask to ensure you’re keeping yourself safe. You should also actively remember to keep any pets or young children away from the attic when trapping opossums.
How to Trap an Opossum in Yard
If you’re constantly seeing holes being dug out in your backyard, rest assured you’re not alone. The unwanted occurrence of opossums hanging out in your yard can cause frustration and costly repair, so don’t worry.. I’ve got you covered when learning all you need to know on how to trap an opossum in your yard.
Although using traps are helpful, try resorting to using a repellent instead. Spray opossum repellent around trees or holes they’ve dug out on a frequent basis (every few days), and notice a disappearance from them within a week! If you have the cash to invest, you can also look at purchasing electronic repellents or scare devices (such as sprinklers) to prevent any opossums potentially roaming your yard.
Opossums have extremely sharp claws that they use to climb trees and sharp teeth that can bite your pets if they feel necessary to do so. Make sure to keep a watchful eye on any pets, especially when they’re nearing the area of the opossums. You may prefer to keep them away from the yard entirely until the opossum problem has dispersed just to be safe.
If you’re not having much luck with using repellent, try opting for the use of live capture cage traps. You can order them online or simply pick one up from your local walmart. If you’re not interested in releasing them afterwards, hire a professional to deal with it. If you do decide to use a live capture cage trap, it will save you the time you would need to use for frequently spraying repellent over your yard every so often and it has a higher capture and prevention rate.
What Bait to Use for Opossum Traps?
If you’re struggling with frequent visits from opossum’s, then you may want to consider using bait in order to entice them towards any traps you’ve set up. Continue reading to find out what bait to use for opossum traps.
The best bait to use for opossum traps are canned pet food or fish. Opossum’s eat just about anything however using canned pet food such as cat/dog food or fish will entice them to head directly for your trap!
Opossum’s can also eat items such as animals (deceased animals), fruits, plants, eggs and insects so if you’re noticing that for some reason the canned pet food or fish are not working you can try some of these other foods.
When I used a live capture cage trap inside my attic, the bait I used was peanut butter. All I did was spread peanut butter over the cage and left a piece of tuna inside, within a night the capture worked along with the bait I used.
As previously mentioned, opossums eat just about anything (including garbage) so you could practically use anything as bait. Whatever bait you do use, make sure it’s away from your own household pets.
Are Opossums Dangerous?
Ahh yes, the most commonly asked question.. “Are Opossums Dangerous?”. In general, opossums aren’t dangerous or pose an imminent threat to humans, however, they can react aggressively when they feel threatened or in danger.
Opossums are actually shy and laid back type of creatures who mainly seek out food (and lots of it). Many people have experienced sighting opossums in their backyard or down the street but have never been attacked by one, instead the opossums themselves slowly meander away when in visibility or too close to humans. Thankfully for us that means we do not need to worry about them as much as other animals, however that’s not to say that they will never do any harm to us.
If for any reason an opossum starts to become aggressive or dangerous towards you, attempt to hiss or growl directly at them and remove yourself from their path immediately. The hissing should be enough to cause them to retreat and run away. It’s said that some opossums can also carry diseases such as rabies, so take extra caution if you’re physically handling an opossum.
How Fast Can Opossums Run?
How fast can opossums run you may ask? At their absolute fastest, opossums can run up to 16mph (25kph).
What does that mean for humans? Well thankfully for us, it’s unlikely that an opossum would ever chase after a human, however, that’s not to say it may never happen. If you’re ever chased by an opossum, the suitable thing to do would be to get the heck out of there, immediately! Although highly unlikely, I wouldn’t take the chance.
Possums also run rapidly when they feel threatened or are chasing after prey!
How Far Can Opossums Jump Horizontally?
If you weren’t already aware, opossums can jump fairly high horizontally however aren’t exactly the best at jumping vertically.
On average, an opossum can jump twice as high as their own height. Opossums are not afraid to take a leap of faith especially when chasing after animals or food they desperately want so watch out!
How Long is an Opossum’s Tail?
We all know that an opossum’s tail is super long, but how long really is an opossum’s tail? Well on average, an opossum’s tail can range from 20 – 42cm’s. Depending on the type of opossum and where that specific type of opossum originates from (such as North America, Mexico, or Australia) will determine their tails exact length.
In comparison to their body, an opossum’s tail is approximately a third of the length of their body. Specific types of opossum’s also use their tail to wrap themselves onto things such as tree branches or to assist them when climbing.
Tips for Trapping an Opossum
Trapping an opossum is fairly easy as long as you have a plan set up prior. I’ve listed below a few tips for trapping an opossum no matter where they’re causing you trouble (yard, attic, garden) etc:
- Use bait to entice them towards your traps!
- Spread possum lure inside of your cage trap and on any surrounding structures such as trees, garden structures or wood to better your capture rate.
- If opting for kill traps, ensure to segregate the opossum away from any other animals.
- Keep children, and pets away from any traps to ensure safety!
- Use a blanket or towel to cover your trap cage.
- If possible, trap the opossum at night or with no light (they absolutely hate light and will go crazy if exposed directly to it).
Other tips for preventing opossums or removing them without using traps:
- Keep your rubbish bin locked.
- Ensure there is no easily accessible food around.
- Spray chemical repellents around your garden or garden structures to avoid possums from eating your fruit or plants.
- Soak cotton balls in ammonia and lay it around their main “hang-out” area. The smell will be enough to rid any possums from going back.
- Consider purchasing motion-activated devices to scare off any pests!
- Trim any tree branches or bushes that are covering your homes structure to avoid them climbing the trees and coming into your home or attic.
- Seal any open holes that could possibly be used as an entrance for the opossums both internally and externally
If you decide to use chemical repellents, don’t forget to go back frequently and re-spray the area to ensure the longevity of the chemicals. You may also want to consider hiring a professional to assist in the removal of opossums after you’ve trapped them especially if you’re not fond on attempting to release them yourself.
What Types of Opossums are There?
There are many different species of opossums all over the world. One common mistake however, is the difference between a possum and an opossum. (They are two completely different animals!)
Both opossums and possums come from a family of marsupials, however, the opossum is located within North America whereas possums are located in Australia and surrounding regions. Opossums originated in South America until migrating to North America.
The main difference between opossums and possums are their physical appearance.
North American opossums are generally greyish-white in colour with black ears while possums that are located in Australia can vary in colors such as greyish-white, brown, black and gold. It’s also noted that both possums have similar diets and characteristics.
The Didelphis Virginiana or more regularly known as the Virginia opossum (or opossum) is native to North America. Fun fact, It’s the only North American marsupial. The Virginia opossum is approximately the size of a domestic cat have roughly 50 sharp teeth!
Although it can be debated that possums are good for nothing, they do contribute by eating bugs or insects wandering our neighbourhood along with other dead animals that may be causing a stink.
How to Release an Opossum?
If you have successfully captured any annoying opossums that have been causing you havoc, congratulations! Now that you’ve captured it, the last thing you need to do is learn how to release an opossum, which thankfully is quite easy.
Once you’ve arrived at a suitable location (ideally in the wild), you can simply open the trap door as per the instructions and the opossum should crawl right out. If it doesn’t seem to be budging, try to grab the opossum’s tail while also carefully gripping it by the neck to place it on top of the cage where it should eventually leave within a moment or two.
As I have previously mentioned in this article, if you do not wish to release the opossum yourself you can hire a professional or contact your local animal control to rid them for you. This will however cost money so ensure you get a few quotes.
A handy tip to remember when releasing opossums are to be careful with any direct handling of them as their claws are super sharp! If it’s your first time releasing an opossum into the wild, you may want to wear safety gloves or protective wear. This shouldn’t be necessary long term however it doesn’t hurt if it’s your first time.
What is the Difference Between a Male and Female Opossum?
If you were ever curious about distinguishing the difference between a male and female opossum, look no further.. It’s quite easy to spot the difference.
A male opossum is generally larger than a female opossum, weighing approximately 3-4kgs (6-8lbs) less than a male. Along with distinguishing male and female’s from size, it is believed you can also notice the difference between that a male opossum’s fur as it looks different in colour compared to a female opossums fur, as well as females having a pouch which is used for carrying their babies.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare