Have you ever noticed strange noises coming from under your porch at night? Do you wake up to find your trash cans knocked over and scattered around your yard? If so, you may have an opossum problem.
Opossums are notorious pests for making themselves at home under porches and other structures, causing damage and leaving a mess in their wake. These critters can be quite a nuisance if left unchecked.
Ignoring the issue can lead to severe consequences, including damage to your property and potential health risks.
It’s essential to address the problem as soon as possible to prevent further damage and ensure the safety of yourself and your family.
From humane trapping to natural repellents and ultrasonic repellers, we’ll cover everything you need to know to deter pests and regain control of your property.
Whether you’re looking for deterrents safe for pets or effective pest control methods, we’ve got you covered. So let’s dive in!
Understanding Possum Behavior
Habits and Characteristics
Possums, also known as opossums, are nocturnal creatures active at night. They are known for their distinct appearance, with a pointed snout, sharp teeth, and a prehensile tail.
These critters are opportunistic feeders and eat almost anything they can find, including insects, small mammals, fruits, vegetables, and garbage.
Some people keep possums as pets, while others use critter control methods to keep them away from their homes.
Possums have a unique defense mechanism called “playing possum.” When threatened or frightened, they will go into a state of shock that makes them appear dead. This behavior is meant to deter predators from attacking them.
In addition to their playing possum behavior, opossums, as an animal, can easily climb trees and structures.
Their sharp claws allow them to grip onto surfaces tightly, making them difficult to control as pets. Critter control may be necessary to prevent any unwanted interactions with opossums.
Attracted to Decks
Possums are attracted to decks and similar structures because they provide shelter and protection from predators.
They can easily crawl under the deck or hide in the space between the ground and the floorboards, which can be problematic for pet owners. Implementing critter control measures such as deterrents is essential to prevent possums from becoming unwanted pets.
Furthermore, decks often provide access to food sources such as pet food left outside or garbage cans not adequately secured.
These food sources can attract opossums to your property, posing a threat to your pets. Installing deterrents around the house can help prevent their entry.
To remove opossums under your deck, you need to understand their behavior patterns to effectively remove them without causing harm to your pets or house. Here are some tips on how to do it using deterrents:
- Remove Food Sources: As a result, eliminate any potential food sources around your house’s deck area by securing garbage cans with tight lids and bringing pet food inside at night to prevent opossums from being attracted to your pets’ food.
- Install Fencing: Install fencing around your deck area at least 4 feet high with an outward-facing overhang of 12-18 inches at the top.
- Use Repellents: Use natural repellents such as predator urine or ammonia-soaked rags around your deck area’s perimeter.
- Block Entry Points: Block any entry points under your deck by using mesh wire or wood boards to seal off the space.
- Call a Professional: If you are unsure how to remove possums from under your deck safely, it is best to call a professional wildlife removal service that can handle the situation.
By understanding possum behavior and taking preventative measures, you can effectively eliminate opossums under your deck without causing harm to these creatures.
Assessing the Situation
Inspect the Area Under the Deck
Before removing possums under your deck, you must know if they’re there. The first step is to inspect the area under your deck thoroughly.
Look for any signs of activity, such as droppings, tracks, or chewed-up materials. Possums are nocturnal animals and typically come out at night, so it’s best to inspect during the day when they are likely sleeping.
Identifying Possum Tracks, Droppings, and Other Indicators
Once you’ve inspected the area under your deck and found some potential signs of possum activity, it’s time to identify them correctly. Here are some things that will help:
Opossum tracks resemble tiny handprints with five fingers on each foot. They are about 2-3 inches long and wide and have a distinctive shape different from other animals.
Possum droppings are small black pellets about 1/2 inch in length. They may be found scattered around areas where possums have been active.
Other signs of opossum activity include chewed-up materials like insulation or wiring and damage to plants or gardens nearby.
By identifying these indicators correctly, you’ll be able to confirm whether or not you have a possum problem under your deck.
Like any other wild animal, possums are attracted to food and shelter. One of the most effective ways to eliminate possums under your deck is by eliminating all possible food and water sources.
Clearing food sources such as pet food and bird feeders can help reduce the chances of attracting them to your property. Secure trash cans with tight-fitting lids and eliminate easy access to the garbage that might contain leftover food scraps.
Seal Entry Points
Possums usually enter decks through openings or gaps in the structure. Identifying and closing any spaces or holes in the deck can help prevent possums from entering your home.
Use sturdy materials like hardware cloth or metal mesh to block access points, keeping them out while allowing air circulation.
Inspecting your deck regularly for any entry points that may have developed over time due to weathering or wear and tear is essential. Trimming any tree branches close enough for a possum to jump onto your deck would be best.
Keep Your Deck Clean
Keeping a clean deck is crucial. Possums are attracted to cluttered areas where they can hide. Hence, removing debris such as leaves, sticks, and other yard waste is necessary.
If you have potted plants on your deck, ensure they are not overgrown or spill soil onto the ground.
You should regularly sweep your deck surface and remove any standing water since stagnant water attracts insects that opossums love eating.
Install Motion-Activated Lights
Motion-activated lights can be an excellent tool to prevent possums from coming near your property at night. They are triggered by movement within their range, giving off bright light that will scare away nocturnal animals like possums.
Ensure you install motion-activated lights around your deck area and cover every possible entry point. Also, check the batteries regularly to ensure they are working correctly.
There are several natural repellents that you can use to keep opossums away from your deck. One of the most effective is using garlic and chili pepper powder. Opossums have an acute sense of smell, so the pungent odor will deter them from coming near your property.
You can also use predator urine, such as coyote or fox urine, around your deck perimeter. The scent of a predator will make opossums think twice before entering your property, too.
Call in Professionals
If all else fails, it’s best to call in professionals specializing in wildlife removal. They have specialized tools and techniques for safely removing possums without harming or damaging your property.
Create an Unfavorable Environment
Opossums are nocturnal creatures that love to hide in dark and cozy places. If you want to eliminate them, the best thing you can do is make your deck less inviting to opossums.
Here are some ways to create an unfavorable environment for opossums:
- Install motion-activated lights or sprinklers: Possums hate bright lights and water, so installing a motion-activated light or sprinkler system around your deck will help keep them away. The lights or sprinklers will turn on when they come near the patio, scaring them off.
- Use loud noises or ultrasonic devices to deter possums: Another way to make your deck less inviting is by using loud noises or ultrasonic devices that emit high-frequency sounds that only animals can hear. These sounds are unpleasant for possums and make them want to stay away from your deck.
Suppose you’re looking for a more natural way to keep opossums away from your deck. In that case, several plants and substances act as repellents.
Plant mint, garlic, or other strong-smelling herbs around the deck: Possums have a keen sense of smell and dislike strong odors like those produced by mint, garlic, and other herbs. Planting these herbs around your deck will help repel possums naturally.
Spray a mixture of vinegar and water in the vicinity: Vinegar has a strong scent that possums don’t like. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray it around your deck regularly to keep possums at bay.
Scatter predator urine or pet fur as a deterrent: Possums fear predators like dogs and cats, so scattering their urine or fur around your deck can help keep them away. You can also buy commercial predator urine products that mimic the scent of predators.
Trapping and Removal
Live Trapping: How to Set Up a Trap Properly
Live trapping is an effective way to remove possums under your deck. However, setting up the trap properly is essential to ensure success. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Choose the correct type of trap: Different kinds of traps are available in the market, including cage and box traps. Ensure that you select a trap suitable for possums.
- Place the trap in the right location: Possums usually move around at night, so it’s best to place them in their path or near their den entrance. You can also put some bait inside the trap to lure them.
- Check on the trap regularly: It’s crucial to check on your trap every few hours to ensure that any caught possums don’t suffer from hunger or thirst.
- Relocate possums far away: Once you catch a possum, you need to relocate it far away from your property, preferably more than 10 miles away.
Checking Local Regulations Regarding Trapping and Relocation
Before setting up a live trap, it’s vital to check local regulations regarding trapping and relocation, as they vary depending on your location. Some areas may require permits before trapping wildlife or prohibit relocation altogether.
It’s essential not only for legal reasons but also for ethical ones since relocating wildlife into unfamiliar environments can cause stress and even death due to a lack of food or shelter.
Therefore, research local regulations before attempting trapping methods and seek professional help if necessary.
Contacting Wildlife Professionals
If you’re unsure how to remove possums under your deck or if live trapping seems too daunting, contacting licensed wildlife removal experts might be a better option.
Here are some benefits of seeking professional intervention:
Expertise: Wildlife professionals have experience dealing with possums and other wildlife species. They can identify the best methods to remove possums from your property without harming them.
Safety: Possums can carry diseases, and handling them alone can put you at risk of contracting these illnesses. Wildlife professionals have the necessary equipment and protective gear to handle possums safely.
Prevention: Wildlife professionals remove possums from your property and recommend preventing future infestations, such as sealing off entry points or eliminating food sources.
Maintenance and Long-Term Prevention
Regularly Inspect the Deck and Surrounding Areas for New Entry Points
Possums are excellent climbers, so it’s essential to inspect your deck regularly to ensure there are no new entry points. Possums can squeeze through small gaps, so even if you think a hole is too small, it’s always best to seal it up.
Start by checking the perimeter of your deck and sealing any gaps or holes in the foundation. Check underneath the deck, particularly where the deck meets the house. If there are any gaps here, possums can use them as entry points.
You should also check for any tree branches that hang over your deck. Possums can use these branches to climb onto your deck, so trimming them back will make it more difficult for them to gain access.
Maintain Cleanliness and Remove Potential Food Sources
Possums are attracted to food sources like pet food bowls left outside or trash cans that aren’t appropriately secured. To discourage possums from entering your property in search of food, you must maintain cleanliness and remove potential food sources.
Ensure all trash cans have tight-fitting lids, and keep pet food bowls inside when not in use. You should also clean up fallen fruit from trees near your deck since possums love fruit.
Keeping your yard tidy can also help discourage possums from coming onto your property. Trim back any overgrown bushes or shrubs where possums could hide and remove piles of leaves or debris.
Implement Ongoing Deterrent Measures to Discourage Possums from Returning
While sealing entry points and removing potential food sources can help prevent possums from coming onto your property initially, you may need ongoing deterrent measures to keep them away long-term.
One option is using motion-activated lights around your deck area. The lights will turn on when possums come onto your property, scaring them away. You can also try using a motion-activated sprinkler system to deter possums.
Another option is using natural deterrents like peppermint oil or vinegar. Possums don’t like strong smells, so spraying these around your deck area can help keep them away.
If you have a persistent possum problem, you may need to call in a professional wildlife removal service. They can trap and relocate the possums safely and humanely.
Regularly inspecting your deck for entry points, maintaining cleanliness, and implementing ongoing deterrent measures can eliminate possums under your deck and keep them from returning.
Now that you better understand possum behavior and how to assess the situation, it’s time to take action.
Prevention measures such as sealing off entry points, removing food sources, and keeping the area clean can help deter possums from making your deck their home. Humane deterrents like motion-activated lights and sprinklers can also be effective.
If prevention measures and humane deterrents are insufficient, trapping and removal may be necessary. Using humane traps and releasing possums safely far away from your property is crucial.
Regular maintenance is critical to maintaining a possum-free deck in the long term. Keep the area clean and free of debris, seal off any potential entry points, and continue using deterrents if necessary.
Handling possum removal with care and respect for these creatures is essential. Possums play a vital role in our ecosystem and should be treated humanely.
Take action to remove possums under your deck before they cause damage or become a nuisance.
Is it legal to trap and remove possums?
Trapping and removing possums in most states is legal, but regulations may vary depending on where you live. Check with your local wildlife agency for specific guidelines.
Can I use poison to get rid of possums?
No, using poison is not recommended as it can harm other animals and pose a risk to children or pets who may come into contact with it.
How do I know if there are still possums under my deck after taking preventative measures?
You can monitor for signs such as droppings or tracks around the area. Motion-activated cameras or lights can also help detect any activity under your deck.
How often should I perform maintenance on my deck to prevent possums?
Regular maintenance should be performed at least once a month. Still, doing so more frequently during possum breeding season (May-August) is recommended.
Can I relocate possums independently, or should I hire a professional?
Hiring a professional wildlife removal service is recommended to safely and humanely remove possums from your property.