Are Opossums Pests? How Do I Repel Them From My Yard and Property?

More likely than not, the opossums that frequent your area have been frustrating you already. While opossums are quite beneficial in keeping pests at bay, they can also be destructive at times, so if you want to find a way to get rid of them, you’re probably not the only one.

But don’t worry! Now that you’ve found Floofmania, your life will be easier, as we will provide you with specific guides on repelling opossums from your property.

Keep reading!

Is It Bad To Have Opossums Around Your House?

Opossums are often misunderstood as harmful animals because of their appearance and behavior.

But while they generally have a bad reputation, opossums only pose little harm to animals and pets. They only appear to be dangerous when threatened, as they respond to the perceived threat by hissing, drooling, baring their teeth, and playing dead. 

Are Opossums Dangerous? Do They Spread Diseases? Are They Dangerous To Pets?

Some of the opossum’s behaviors might cause you to think that opossums carry rabies. However, you have nothing to worry about because that is just a bluff that they use to protect themselves!

The truth is, it is extremely unusual for possums to carry rabies because of their low body temperature, which can go as low as 94° F. Their low body temperature makes them naturally resistant to the disease. 

Although opossums carrying rabies are rare, we should still be wary of them as they sometimes carry bacterial diseases such as leptospirosis, tuberculosis, and spotted fever.

While opossums consume more than 90% of the ticks they encounter, those that live in residential areas can also be hosts to cat and dog fleas, so you should be cautious about exposing your pets to them.

There isn’t really much to worry about in the presence of opossums around your house. As stated by the National Society of Opossums, “They are far less of a health risk to you or your children or pets than nearly any other wild animal.”

An opossum being held in a man's hands

Are Opossums Dirty? Do They Stink?

Contrary to popular belief, opossums are clean creatures who constantly groom themselves using their tongue and paws. They only stink when they play dead as a response to a threat. 

During this state, opossums emit a foul odor similar to that of a decaying corpse, which will help in making their predators think that they are already dead. This will eventually drive the predators away. 

Can Opossums Damage Your Garden or Property?

No, opossums cannot damage your garden and property. They are actually helpful in keeping your garden intact because they feed on insects, snails, rats, toads, snakes, and even dead animals that might harm your plants. 

There will only be a few times when possums can pose a danger to your garden. This is when they take occasional bites of your fruits and vegetables.

Overall, possums have more of a tendency to clean up and not clean out your garden. 

Why Might Opossums Be Good To Have Around?

Although many people easily assume that opossums are pests that are a nuisance to the environment, the opposite is true because they generally clean up messes rather than make them. 

Do Opossums Keep Pests Away?

As omnivores, possums eat almost everything in their environment, including rats, cockroaches, ticks, and snakes. They act like vacuum cleaners that eat about 95% of the ticks that try to feed on them. They can eat as many as 5,000 ticks in a single season!

Possums also keep cockroaches and rats at bay by competing with them for food or by eventually eating them. 

Cool, right? That’s some serious pest control, folks. 

Opossums Clean Up Fallen Fruit and Carrion

Aside from being nature’s pest controllers, we can also consider opossums as nature’s sanitation engineers because they help maintain a clean and healthy environment by consuming fallen, overripe fruits, and dead animals of all types. 

Fun fact: Because possums are prone to developing a Metabolic Bone Disease that results in severe crippling or death, they need to consume high amounts of calcium. Possums satisfy this need by eating the skeletal remains of any animal, particularly those killed on the roads. 

By eating fallen fruits and carrion, opossums eliminate diseases from carcasses and food waste that could otherwise spread easily in the area. 

How Can I Repel Opossums From My Property?

Are you tired of opossums ripping your garbage sacks open or stealing fruits and vegetables from your garden? Have you been frustrated with them for making a mess of your roof, attic, or garage?

If you’ve been experiencing any of these, continue reading on this page because we know a trick or two that can help you repel them. 

Repel Opossums With Chemical Repellants

Repellants work with possums when they affect the animal’s senses, usually through their smell, taste, texture, or “mouth feel”. 

Since opossums have a strong sense of smell, you can get rid of them by using scents that they dislike. Chemical repellants work best when they emit odors that replicate the scent or smell of the predator’s urine, such as those from foxes, and bobcats. 

To guide you in easily choosing chemical repellants that might work in your area, we listed below some compounds that have been reported to deter them, together with how they are used, and their method of repellency.

The method of repellency is denoted by (S) for products intended to repel possums by smell and (T) for products intended to repel possums by taste. 

Chemical RepellantUsage
Ammonia  (S)You can either directly pour ammonia into a container with a rag and place them in areas that opossums usually visit, or mix the ammonia with water and spray it on garbage cans, sheds, and crawl spaces.
Garlic Spray (S, T)Place two tablespoons of freshly crushed garlic in four cups of hot water. Mix them and let them sit overnight. After that, transfer them to a spray bottle and spray on foliage that opossums commonly eat. 
Tea-based repellant, specifically the Lapsang Souchong tea (S, T)Boil at least four tablespoons of Lapsang Souchong tea, put it in a spray container once cooled, and spray on over plants and areas the opossums seem to like. 
Tabasco Sauce (T)Combine Tabasco sauce with water and spray it on your garden plants and in other areas where opossums stay. 
Quassia chips (T)Boil 50 grams of these chips of bark from a South American tree into four cups of water. Strain, then spray around your yard or garden. 

Natural Smells That Repel Opossums

The smell of their predator’s urine, such as that of foxes, coyotes, and bobcats, naturally scares opossums away. Since they are aware that their predators commonly mark territories with urine, possums will not dare to enter the territory.

However, if you’re planning to use predator’s urine to get rid of opossums in your area, just be careful as they may, in turn, attract those predators to your yard. 

Repel Opossums With Lighting

Being the nocturnal animals that they are, opossums do not like the presence of light. When roaming around, they try to avoid artificially lit areas as much as possible. 

Thus, if you want to scare opossums away, you may try installing motion-activated lights. Although utilizing this method is quite expensive, expect that it is effective in immediately making opossums uncomfortable, which will drive them away.  

Repel Opossums Using Sound

If the abovementioned methods of repelling an opossum don’t work, you can resort to using sounds to drive them away. 

Although the opossum’s hearing isn’t so keen, which somehow makes them resistant to loud noises and sounds, there are still ways to effectively utilize sounds to drive them away. 

Using ultrasonic sounds paired with strobe light is effective in repelling opossums. These ultrasonic deterrents use high frequencies that the human ear cannot hear.

When opossums hear these sounds, they become disoriented, which will eventually lead them to move away from the area.

Pets and Animals That Repel Opossums

Opossums are considered to be non-aggressive and readily retreat to trees, brush piles, dens, and other available covers when they perceive that there are predators near them. 

Among the animals that can easily scare opossums away are coyotes, foxes, bobcats, raccoons, and other relatively large aggressive animals. 

Your pet dogs and cats can also act as possum predators at times. Although they aren’t known as typical opossum predators, dogs and cats can keep opossums away by barking or chasing them. 

If you’ve come this far reading the article, you already know that an animal’s urine, such as that of foxes, is used to mark a predator’s territory, which in turn, scares the opossums. 

The same is the case with your pet’s fur and urine. They work to get rid of possums by establishing a predator territory.

Since opossums only stay in areas where they feel safe, the presence of fur in the places where they commonly stay may be perceived by possums as threats. 

Can I Trap And Relocate An Opposum?

Yes. Setting up a trap and relocating are appealing methods to totally get rid of opossums. They are also nice methods to consider if you don’t want to euthanize or poison them and instead want to give them a chance for a new home. 

What’s The Best Bait To Trap Opossums?

The process of trapping an opossum can be quite tricky because you need to consider a lot of things, including the best bait to use. But since you’ve discovered Floofmania, we’ll make the process easier for you. 

Among the best baits that you can use to trap opossums are the following:

  • Fish and meat. Since opossums have a good sense of smell, it will be best to bait them with stinky foods that they can already smell from a short distance. If you’re thinking that they won’t eat that, don’t worry because opossums are not picky eaters. They eat anything from garbage to carrion. 
  • Canned cat and dog food. Like fish and meat, canned pet foods can also do the trick. Opossums are easily attracted to the strong scent of canned goods which makes them an ideal bait when trapping them. 
  • Fruits and vegetables. You can say that opossums are fruit and vegetable lovers. This is why they love to stay in your yard or gardens, where these are readily available. Fruits and vegetables are enticing baits that will make the trapping process easier for you. 

As you place your bait, it is important to keep an eye on it regularly to ensure that any animals that weren’t supposed to be caught are released immediately.

You may also opt to use the bait to create a small trail of food that leads to the trap. There is a high possibility that they will follow that trail. 

You should also make sure that you are putting the bait in a position that will force the opossums to step on the trigger plate. The trigger plate is the part of the trap that will close the door when stepped on. 

Where Should I Place An Opossum Trap?

To easily catch opossums, place the trap in areas that they frequent. If possible, put them near the possum’s den. But if you don’t know where the den is, then place the trap in areas where you have noticed the most activity. 

Remember to keep these things in mind in determining the proper placement of your trap:

  • Place the trap in the middle of the room if the opossum is living in your attic, shed, or another similar structure.
  • Place the trap about 3-5 feet outside the entrance if the animal is dwelling somewhere less accessible, such as under your porch, in a crawlspace, or inside a tree hollow. Seeing something outside the place they stay will entice possums to come close to the trap, which will eventually catch them. 
  • Place your trap on an even surface. Also, add a brick on top of it to make sure that it is in a steady position. Ensuring this will help in preventing opossums from flipping over the trap.

You shouldn’t forget that opossums are nocturnal animals that are most active at night. Thus, for you to successfully trap them, place the trap just before nightfall. 

Where Should I Release The Opossum?

Now that you have successfully trapped the opossum, it is time to release them in an area where it will thrive, far away from where you live! You can either release the opossum by yourself or by contacting your local wildlife management agency. 

Because opossums have a strong sense of smell that can lead them back to areas where there is food, shelter, and water sources, it is best to release them at least 25 miles away from your home. 

But before doing that, you have to make sure that the area is a humane relocation. What typically qualifies as a humane relocation are areas like wildlife preserves, farmlands, or woodland areas near streams, and ponds. 

Can Opossums Easily Find Their Way Back?

Trapping and relocating an opossum aren’t permanent solutions to the problem. They are only band-aid solutions, as opossums can still find their way back. Although, most often, it isn’t the same opossums that are back, just opossums in general. 

For as long as there are attractants in your areas, such as food, water, and shelter, opossums will still return. Thus, removing all that can attract them to your place is more effective and efficient than going as far as trapping and relocating them. 

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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