What Causes Opossums to Die Under Homes?

As many homeowners across the United States are aware, there is a very real possibility that you encounter some unwanted guests from time to time on your property. One of these guests is the opossum, a fairly small, furry marsupial. An opossum will very often crawl underneath your house if there are any holes or cracks big enough for the animal to squeeze through. 

Why? Many are in search of shelter. The place beneath your home consists of an ideal, dark, and rocky space for a female opossum to bring up her young.

Though the idea of an opossum invasion is unpleasant enough as it is, sometimes these furry creatures will die underneath your house, which will cause a terrible smell, not to mention attract other unwanted creatures. So in this article, we will look at some of the most common causes of death for opossums nestled under a house.

Causes of Death

1.  Natural causes

Quite often, an opossum will die underneath your house from natural causes, unrelated to you or any other potential predators outside.

2.  Predators

It’s also possible that the opossum has taken shelter underneath your house trying to escape a predator. Common opossum predators are big dogs, raccoons, and coyotes, among others.

In this case, there is a possibility that the predator managed to injure the opossum before it crawled beneath your house, and it died as a result of that wound.

3.  Infection

It’s not uncommon for an opossum to die under a property from an infection it has developed. This can happen especially if they have been bitten or scratched by other animals, but they could also have gotten hurt in the wild on their own.

4.  Poisoning

In fairly rare cases, an opossum might ingest poison left out by the homeowner for rats or other such pests around the property. This will, of course, also make the opossum sick, causing it to die.

5.  Entrapment

Although this situation is rare, an opossum may die because a homeowner has identified the opossum’s entry point as a potential hazard and sealed it with the opossum still inside. This is not only very cruel, it is also a very bad idea, as opossums are fairly good diggers. They will make their way out of the crawl space, even if they need to bust another hole in your property.  And that, in turn, can attract more opossums, snakes, and other such creatures.

What to Do

If you have reason to believe there is an opossum living underneath your house, a good idea would be to call a professional wildlife removal service. They will get the opossum (or opossums) out safely from under your house, and (ideally) relocate them to a far-away area so that both the opossums and the humans can live in peace.

Only after you’re sure that the crawl space is clear of creatures should you begin sealing it. It is important that you seal any such holes and cracks thoroughly, to avoid other creatures from crawling in.