Removing Opossums From Under Your Shed or Porch
The home page of this site details the many benefits of having a native opossum in the garden. However, there are occasionally times when these creatures cause a nuisance and require removal. Opossums have the unfortunate habit of sleeping or living under enclosed wooden spaces, such as sheds, porches, or decking. Some people are, unfortunately, allergic to these animals too, and to have an opossum in close proximity at all times would be incredibly problematic. Luckily, these large marsupials are relatively easy to remove, either with professional help or without. Here are some tips on how to go about it.
Avoid Catatonic State
An uncontrollable evolutionary instinct of the Virginia Opossum is to go into a catatonic state – that is, to essentially play dead when threatened. The way the opossum goes about it, however, can be alarming as not only does it completely freeze its body, but also it slows down all its vital organs to a bare minimum to refine the effect of looking dead. It can, therefore, be quite tempting for those who want a quick, DIY removal, to simply attempt to trigger that state before carrying the creature out of the garden with a towel. THIS IS NOT ADVISED! It is impossible to predict when the opossum will wake up, and if it does so while being carried, it will not hesitate to sink its sharp teeth into the hand clamped around it. If you do wish to attempt this, thick gloves are a necessity, but we advise you to avoid this at all costs.
Eliminate Food Sources
For those who see the removal of the opossum as not an urgent matter but rather a long-term strategy, slowly eliminating their food source is a sure-fire way of succeeding. The opossum feasts on rotten fruit and garbage, as well as small insects and snakes. We understand that it is difficult to immediately change garden habits, which is why this method could take some time.
- Start small, and make sure your garbage is secure and regularly emptied. This discourages scavenging, a popular pastime of the opossum.
- After this, consider storing compost in a sealed container. This ensures that the opossum cannot access the treasure trove of small insects found in compost heaps, one of the main attractive points of gardens. This has an additional benefit, as the more worms kept in your soil instead of eaten by opossums, the more fertile your soil will be in years to come.
- If your grass is long, give your lawn a regular mow, as opossums love feasting on the ticks found in long grass. Lawnmowers are just as effective as opossums at removing ticks.
- If you have fruit trees in your garden, make sure to regularly inspect the soil below them so you can remove fallen fruits before opossums do. This further reduces the incentive for the opossum to live in your garden.
- Finally, consider blocking possible entrances under sheds or decks so that the opossum cannot access shelter in your backyard. This can be done relatively easily with stones or wood.
Once you have finished this guerrilla campaign, the opossum will no longer have access to garbage, fruit, shelter, or the majority of small insects within your garden. Therefore, your backyard will have lost its appeal, and the opossum will decide there are better places to go elsewhere.
Call in a Pro
The easiest but most expensive way of removing opossums is to call in professionals. Expert animal removal companies are found throughout the country. Look for your local removal service using either the internet or a directory, and consider doing a little research on the ethics of the company, as contrary to popular belief, many animal removal companies are very respectful towards the animal and attempt to remove the animal with as little harm done as possible. Make sure the opossum is removed humanely, ensuring that you and the animal can coexist peacefully, at a distance.