How To Keep Possums Away From Your Yard, Garden And House

Keep possoms out of your garden with these tips

Opossums can cause a lot of trouble for people. If they find a good food source they can and will break in to get it. They can make a mess out of your yard and also tear holes into your roof, attic, and under your deck. So how do you get rid of these pests once they’ve moved in and how do you deter them from coming onto your property? Here are a few ideas.

  • Take Away Their Food Source
  • Choose Good Fencing
  • Use Motion Sensor Lights
  • Use Motion Sensor Sprinklers
  • Cat Or Dog Hair
  • Use Bad Smells
  • Chemical Repellents
  • Trap The Invaders

Let’s look at each of these separately and find out the pros and cons (if any) of each.

How to keep possoms out of your garden
Photo Credit: Flickr Donald Hobern

Take Away Their Food Source

If you have pets make sure you’re bringing in their food at night and cleaning up any spills that may have happened. Also, make sure your pet food is in a tight container that isn’t easily opened.

Make sure garbage cans have a tight lid. If the opossum smells something in your garbage they will scatter the contents everywhere in order to get at it. Keeping a tight lid on it keeps the smell inside and makes it harder for the pests to open and get inside.

If you grow a garden or have fruit trees protect them with fencing and keep fallen fruit picked up. Fruit and veggies are easy meals for possums so find a way to keep them out or you may not enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Installing A Fence

Installing a fence is probably one of your best defenses. Make sure you choose a material that is hard to climb such as metal. You will want your fence to be at least a few feet high so they can’t be jumped by a determined opossum and you’ll want to bury it at least twelve inches in the ground since the little critters can dig.

Some recommend using chicken wire and bending the top at an angle away from your garden. The angle makes it more difficult for them to climb over the top.

Use Motion Sensor Lights

Opossums are nocturnal and hate the light! Place motion sensor lights that can detect animals around your home and near places opossums may frequent.

When the lights turn on the opossums should run back into the darkness.

Use Motion Sensor Sprinklers

Not only can this be good for your yard but it’s also a great deterrent. Place them where the opossums frequent and anywhere else you want to keep them away from.

Once the motion sensor goes off the pests will get sprayed. Hopefully, they will learn quickly and stay away from the area.

This may not be a permanent solution, however. Opossums can get used to the water so you may need to move the sprinkler around so they don’t get used to it in one place.

How to scare possoms away from your chickens
Photo Credit: Flickr Donald Hobern

Cat or Dog Hair

Having cats and dogs  can help deter possums away from your property. But don’t worry if you don’t have any. You don’t actually have to have a cat or dog, all you really need is their hair or fur.

Find a friend or neighbor or possibly ask a local pet store or vet for any fur or hair they might collect after grooming the animals.

Sprinkle it around the areas frequented by the opossums and also around areas you want to keep them out of such as a garden.

The idea is to make the opossums think there is a predator nearby so they stay away. You will need to replace the fur frequently so it doesn’t its scent or get blown away.

Using Bad Smells

Opossums have a great sense of smell. This can be both bad and good.

The reason it’s bad is because they can smell garbage, compost, pet food, etc from a distance and they will come in search of a quick, easy meal.

You can, however, use it against them as well. Just like being attracted by good smells they can also be repelled by bad ones.

Smells like mothballs, ammonia, and garlic can help repel the pests. When using these options make sure you also understand the risks to your environment.

  • Garlic is safe to use around your home and property. For best results smash the garlic to make it more potent and put it in areas you want to keep possums away from. The sent will fade so you’ll need to replenish the garlic often.
  • You can spray ammonia around your house and on garbage cans but the scent might also drive friends and neighbors away so choose your locations carefully.
  • Mothballs can also be used and is a cheap option, however, mothballs are also toxic. Be very careful when using mothballs. If pets and other animals ingest them they could die. The fumes are also toxic and a lot of exposure to it could have negative effects on humans.

When using these options make sure you read labels and warnings. Only use in accordance with the directions.

Chemical Repellents

In most home improvement or hardware stores, you can find chemical repellents. Many of these repellents include some kind of predator urine.

They have had some success but, unfortunately, in most cases this option is temporary.

Opossums will eventually figure out you’re tricking them and come back. Chemical repellents could be a good option however if you use it while creating a more permanent deterrent such as installing a fence and patching holes.

Setting Traps

If your home has already become home to an opossum, you might have to trap them to get rid of them.

Before going out and buying a trap make sure it’s legal in your area by contacting your local game commission.

When trapping a possum use something very aromatic such as fish, apples, or even canned pet food. Spread the smell not only in the trap but on it and around it as well. This will help make sure the opossums catch the scent.

If you are also allowed to release the opossum make sure you release it at least 10 miles from your home so it doesn’t find its way back.

Call Your Local Game Commission

Another way to get rid of opossums is to call your local game commission to come and remove them.

This is the easiest and safest way to get rid of them.

What Are Opossums

Opossums are the only marsupial that lives in North America and are nocturnal. They have long tails, tiny legs, a pointy snout, and are about the size of a house cat.

When they are startled or threatened they have an involuntary response to play and act dead. This is where the phrase “play possum” comes from.

Opossums have a great sense of smell and are quite stinky themselves. They are great climbers and swimmers. They have opposable rear thumbs that they use to help them climb.

They don’t build their own dens instead they use abandoned animal dens, burrows, woodpiles, hollow trees and logs, and even attics, sheds, and other man-made structures.

Opossums can give birth to 4-8 joeys at a time and can have around 2 litters per year. Once the joeys are born, they will spend just under 2 months inside their mother’s pouch. From there they will move to their mother’s back before heading out on their own.

What Do Possums Eat

Opossums are omnivores. Their favorite foods include dead animals, plants, and insects. They will also hunt small animals such as chicks and other small birds.

But, they are not picky eaters.

They will search through trash cans, eat pet food, and help themselves to anything else that is quick and easy to get.

How Do You Know You Have Opossums

Opossums can cause a lot of problems on your property. Some ways to tell if the damage is from an opossum are:

  • Their tracks
  • Opossum droppings
  • Scattered material from trash cans, compost, or bird feeders
  • Holes in attics, sheds, and other man-made structures
  • Torn drywall, ductwork or insulation
  • The smell.

Related Questions

How do possums get into your house?

Opossums are good climbers and can easily find access into your home. They can climb trees to get up to your roof. If there are any holes the possums can make the hole larger and get in.

They can also burrow and dig so getting into the crawl spaces beneath your house is also possible.

How dangerous is a possum

Opossums are rarely dangerous. However, if they feel threatened they have been known to attack.

Some good news however, is that they rarely get rabies since their body temperature is too low for the virus to thrive.

The bad news is they can carry diseases such as tuberculosis and spotted fever among others.

Can a possum climb a brick wall

Opossums are very good climbers. If they can get a foothold they can climb, even with babies on their backs.

Brick walls are no different, opossums can climb up and down them very easily.

Photo credit: Flickr Fraser Mummery

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