Is Opossum Urine Toxic? (and how to remove the smell)
Opossums are generally gentle creatures. They seldom attack anything, and their primary defense is to play dead, known as “playing possum”. But this does not mean that they are entirely harmless. Though they may mean you no harm, when they choose to establish a home in your house they bring certain dangers with them, however inadvertently.
Wherever there are possums, there is opossum waste, as they certainly don’t use a lavatory. The nearest wall or floor will do, and if these are your walls and floors, you may be in trouble. While opossum urine is sterile, it is certainly an indication of unwanted guests in your home. The urine itself is yellow, just like most mammals, but will show up as a darker brown stain on floors or drywall. And the smell can be quite pungent, perhaps just a little more so than other small mammals.
Evict the Opossum
If you suspect you have an unwanted boarder in your attic or under your home, you should take steps to evict them. While opossums do not usually carry rabies, they do harbor other diseases, such as leptospirosis or toxoplasmosis, which can be dangerous to both your pets and yourself. In addition, opossums carry fleas, mites, and ticks which can hitchhike into your home with all the diseases they can carry. In addition, if the intruding opossum is carrying diseases, they can leave this behind in the soil in your garden, making it dangerous to consume anything you grow. So, as you can see, as gentle and harmless as they may seem, it’s not a good idea to have them in your home.
If you have seen signs of an opossum infestation in your home, particularly in your attic, one of their favorite spots, it would be wise to call a wildlife professional to deal with the problem. This can be expensive, but the problem will be dealt with properly and effectively.
Once the animal has been evicted, the cleanup begins. First, remove any and all droppings you may find. Then dispose of any softer items which may have absorbed the urine smell. For harder surfaces, there are a variety of ways to deal with the problem:
- Enzyme cleaner. There are a variety of enzyme-based cleaners available on the market specially designed to eliminate animal urine odors. This is the type generally used by professionals. Use these as directed on the packaging.
- Bleach will work to eliminate stains and odors. Try a solution of one part bleach to ten parts water. At this strength, there will not be enough chlorine to react adversely with the ammonia in the urine, and it should provide a safe and effective cleaning tool.
- Lysol concentrate. Not the spray we are all so familiar with, but the type that comes in a brown bottle. You can apply this to multiple hard surfaces.
Whatever you choose to use, first apply it to the wall or floor with a rag or spray bottle. Then, scrub the wall thoroughly, and, finally, rinse. If a puddle has gathered on the floor, sweep this outside, if possible, you may want to add a fan to speed up drying time. Repeat the procedure as needed. Sometimes, the urine smell can be very persistent, disappearing for a while, but making a return at a later date, usually after rain.