How to Attract Opossums? (And Why You Might Not Want To)

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Opossums may not be the cutest animals you’ll encounter. Many people actually regard them as ugly and dirty. However, contrary to how people perceive them, opossums are clean animals that are extremely beneficial to have in the backyard.

If you’re interested in further understanding this cute creature and reaping the benefits of having one live in your yard, join us here in Floofmania as we explore how to welcome opossums onto your property, or of it’s best to avoid them altogether!

Can I Feed Opossums In My Yard?

Opossums are naturally cautious, trying to avoid being spotted by humans. They are also hard to spot because they rarely wander around during the day. But if you encounter them, the best way to make them feel welcome on your property is to feed them. They are easily attracted to areas where food is plentiful

While you can feed opossums in your yard, you still have to consider whether it is legal to do so in your area. Many counties and cities have rules against feeding wildlife. You also have to be discreet about it with your neighbors, because once they find out that you’ve been feeding an opossum, they are likely to blame you if they, too, get visited by opossums. 

Opossum looking out from its hideout between dead branches and leaves.

Is It Bad To Feed Wild Opossums?

It’s actually a tough call. It is generally advised to avoid feeding any wildlife, as this practice can be extremely harmful for the following reasons:

  • Setting up an area on your property to feed opossums can attract other opportunistic animals that might be hanging out in your neighborhood. You can’t just have a feeding area with the sign “opossums only” and expect that no other animals will get in there. 
  • Feeding opossums might impede their primary diet, and this will be detrimental to them in the long run. While it is a generous act to offer them food, you should remember that they are still wild animals, which means that they need food from nature such as grains, insects, and fruits. Most importantly, opossums need to eat dead animals with bones and cartilage to get the proper calcium ratios. It’ll be hard to satisfy this if you just feed them anything available in your house. 
  • Opossums might grow fond of you and your neighborhood. This might be a good thing until they start causing problems. Once opossums get used to the food you offer, they will be more confident in roaming around your property, scavenging and leaving waste behind. 

What Can I Feed An Opossum?

As omnivores, opossums can eat pretty much anything available in their environment. Their primary diet includes fruits and vegetables, which are the safest foods you can feed them.

For fruits, opossums prefer to eat overripe ones because they are easier to chew and digest. So if you want to feed them fruits, you may opt to give them ripe apples, bananas, berries, pears, and grapes. Even fruit that has gone bad is fine for opossums!

In addition to fruits, opossums also eat a variety of vegetables. Opossums have a particular interest in crunchy vegetables such as carrots, celery, potatoes, and even peas. They also enjoy squash and pumpkins.

If you want to go the extra mile and satisfy the opossum, you can also look around for dead animals and insects to feed them. Dead animals, or carrion, are essential to an opossum’s diet as they provide them with the calcium they need. You may also offer them meats, bones, and even whole eggs with their shells as an alternative calcium source. 

Do Opossums Make Good Pets?

In general, it is not recommended to keep opossums as pets. Yes, they can adapt to living with people at first, especially if they were taken in as pets when they were still very young or just out of their mother’s pouch. They can also be tender and loving toward their adoptive parent. However, as they mature, they begin to behave like wild animals and exhibit animal instincts.

And when they start acting like wild animals, your only option is to relocate them or release them into the wild. This is dangerous for the opossums, as they are not used to fending for themselves. Their chances of survival are slim because they lack the essential skill required to survive in the wild. 

Can Opossums Be Affectionate?

Yes, but only if you have been raising them since infancy. They can be affectionate and social if you have been with them since they were young. They usually crave their owner’s attention and like to rub and cuddle when they feel comfortable.

But if you just recently encountered them, it will be impossible for opossums to be affectionate towards you, even if you have been constantly feeding and petting them. 

How Do I Befriend An Opossum?

Opossums are solitary animals, so they spend most of their time on their own. This makes it challenging to befriend them, especially if they are fully grown and set in their ways. Here are some of the things you might do to befriend an opossum:

  • Feed them. Food is definitely the way to an opossum’s heart. If you feed them, they will be more inclined to return to your area and approach you. Also provide a bowl of water near the food, as water is precious to opossums. 
  • Try to be gentle with the opossums. In attempting to get close to them, you have to make sure that you are gentle, avoiding moving too quickly. Opossums are slow-moving animals, and quick movements usually startle them. 
  • Provide opossums with an environment that is ideal for them. Having a garden is a nice thing, as opossums thrive in this environment. They enjoy the insects in your gardens, such as snails and beetles. You may also plant shrubs with foliage and branches that hang low to the ground. They are ideal as they provide cover for opossums. 

However, don’t forget that opossums aren’t really meant to be befriended by humans. They might be cute, but it is in your and the opossum’s best interest if you just let them do what they do. 

What Attracts Opossums?

If you’re very much invested in attracting opossums to your property, you have to consider the things that attract them. You can entice an opossum by providing food and nesting areas. They will be drawn to your yard if there is plenty of food, may it be fresh, overripe, or rotten. Since they are scavengers, even your overflowing garbage cans are enticing to them. 

When it comes to the environment, opossums do best with tall grass or potted plants, as these can be their hiding spots. They also like damp environments, so yards next to ponds, rivers, or streams are more attractive to opossums. 

Are There Smells That Attract Opossums?

Yes. Here are the smells that opossums find very inviting:

  • Sweet-smelling fruits and nuts;
  • Odorous trash cans, compost heaps, rotten fruits; and
  • Smells of pet food, bird feeders, and chicken coops.

Can I Attract Opossums With Food and Drink?

Foods and drinks are the most enticing things for opossums. Having a garden with fruits and vegetables is ideal. Opossums eat these, and at the same time, these fruits and vegetables also attract insects, snails, and slugs that opossums also eat. 

Of course, like most animals, having a water source is essential. 

How Can I Make My Yard Comfortable and Secure For Opossums?

If you wish opossums to visit your property more often, you may do these things:  

Plant bushes, shrubs, and trees near your fence and in your yard. Having a plant near your fence makes it easier for opossums to enter and leave your property during their visits. On the other hand, the plants in your yard are helpful for opossums, as they can serve as their covers when roaming around your property and looking for food. 
Avoid setting up artificial and motion-activated lights. Opossums do not like the presence of light, especially when they are looking for food. Thus, if you don’t want to make opossums feel uncomfortable, provide them with a dark environment that they like.
Keep your pet indoors at night. As solitary creatures, opossums do not get along well with other animals. Opossums are more comfortable when they feel that there is no threat from pets that might attack them any minute. 

Things To Consider Before Starting To Attract Opossums

Attracting an opossum is more complicated than you think. As such, you might want to consider these things before attracting them to your property. 

  • Legality. You have to make sure that it is legal to attract them or keep them as pets in your state. For reference, here’s the list of states where it is legal to have a pet opossum.
  • Your neighbors. Once you start attracting opossums, it is inevitable that you will also attract other animals like raccoons, skunks, squirrels, and even rats! If you know that you and your neighborhood aren’t ready for this, then you might want to weigh your actions better. 

Infestations. While attracting opossums to your property serves a purpose, they can also bring harm to you, your family, and your pets. They sometimes carry bacterial diseases such as leptospirosis, tuberculosis, and spotted fever. They can also be flea hosts for cats and dogs.

Author: Clarisse Jane Javier

Hello, there! I’m CJ, and I’ve been writing since primary school. I love to write about a variety of topics, from pets to the arts. I have had an endless fascination for animals since I was a kid. Until today, I always looked forward to learning more about the diverse species we have on Earth.

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