6 Signs of Possums in Your Yard: Spot Them Now!

Have you ever walked into your yard and noticed an opossum infestation lurking in the shadows? Opossums with beady eyes and long tails that scurry away when they see you are not the only critters you need to worry about. Raccoons and skunks may also be part of the problem.

Possums and raccoons are nocturnal creatures that love to roam around at night. They often make their way into yards looking for food, water, or shelter, causing an opossum infestation that can be a nuisance. While opossums and raccoons may seem harmless, they can cause quite a bit of damage if left unchecked.

That’s why knowing the signs of opossums and raccoons in your yard is essential. By identifying these signs early on, you can take action for opossum infestation and rodent control before any severe damage is done.

So buckle up and get ready to learn how to spot these sneaky critters like raccoons, skunks, and ticks before they cause any infestation trouble!

Sign 1: Damage to the Building Exterior

Types of Damage Caused by Possums

Types of Damage Caused by Possums

Possums, raccoons, and skunks are notorious for causing damage to buildings. They are known to chew on wood, insulation, and electrical wires.

They can also scratch and dig at building materials, leaving visible signs of damage. An infestation of opossums, raccoons, or skunks can result in extensive property damage.

One of the most common types of damage caused by opossums and raccoons is chewing. They have strong teeth to gnaw through wood and other materials.

This can cause significant damage to the exterior of a building, especially if it goes unnoticed for an extended period. Critter control experts can work to prevent and mitigate this type of damage.

Another type of damage caused by opossums and raccoons is scratching or digging.

Opossums and raccoons often scratch or dig at building materials for food or shelter. This can result in visible scratches or holes in walls, roofs, and other surfaces.

Critter control work may be necessary to prevent further damage.

Finally, opossums may also cause damage by urinating or defecating on building materials.

This can not only leave unsightly stains but can also lead to decay and deterioration over time.

If you’re experiencing this issue, consider contacting a critter control service to help remove these garden pests.

Examples of Visible Signs on the Building’s Exterior

If you suspect that there may be opossums living in your yard, there are several signs you can look for on the exterior of your home.

  • Chewing marks: Look for small chew marks on wooden surfaces such as decks, fences, and siding caused by critters like opossums. Consider implementing control measures to prevent future damage.
  • Scratches, holes, and critter control: Check for scratches or holes in exterior walls and roofing materials to prevent opossums and other critters from entering.
  • Droppings: Opossum droppings are typically dark brown or black and may be found near entry points into your home. Control the infestation by identifying and sealing these entry points.
  • Urine stains: Look for yellowish stains on walls or other surfaces where opossums may have urinated. Consider implementing control measures to prevent further opossum activity.
  • Nests: Opossums may build nests from leaves, grasses, and other materials near your home’s foundation. To control their presence, take necessary measures.

Taking action quickly before the problem worsens is essential. If you notice any of these signs on your property, taking action quickly before the situation worsens is critical.

Opossums can cause significant damage to your home and property and carry diseases harmful to humans and pets. It’s essential to implement effective opossum control measures to prevent further damage.

Sign 2: Disappearing Pet Food

Possums and Pet Food

Possums and Pet Food

Possums, also known as opossums, are opportunistic feeders, meaning they will eat almost anything.

This includes pet food left outside. Pet food is an excellent source of nutrition for possums or opossums, and they will often take advantage of it if they can find it.

It’s important to remember that possums or opossums are nocturnal animals, so they are most likely to come out at night to search for food.

To control the presence of possums or opossums, removing any potential food sources and sealing off any entry points to your property is recommended.

Indicators of Disappearing Pet Food

If you have noticed that your pet’s empty food bowl has less food than usual, it could indicate opossums in your yard.

Sometimes, the opossums tip over the bowl or move it around while searching for food. Another sign of disappearing pet food is finding pieces of kibble scattered around the yard or near the feeding area.

Secure the feeding area and prevent opossums from accessing your pet’s food to control the situation.

It’s also important to note that opossums and other wildlife, such as raccoons and stray cats, may be attracted to pet food left outside. To control their access to the food, store it properly and avoid leaving it out overnight.

What You Can Do

To control opossums from eating your pet’s food, try feeding them indoors or bringing their bowls inside after eating. If you must leave their bowls outside overnight, ensure they are placed in an area where wildlife cannot easily access them.

Another option is to switch from dry kibble to wet canned food as this pet food doesn’t have as strong a scent as dry kibble and may not attract opossums as much.

In addition to taking measures with your pets’ feeding areas, ensure any trash cans or compost bins are securely closed, as these can also attract opossums looking for an easy meal.

Sign 3: Frequent Animal Vocalizations

Possums’ Vocalizations and Communication

Possums, also known as opossums, are recognized for their unique vocalizations to communicate with other possums.

These sounds can range from hissing and growling to screeching and clicking. While some of these noises may sound alarming, it’s important to remember that opossums are generally not aggressive animals.

Recognizable Sounds and Frequency of Possum Vocalizations

One of the most recognizable sounds that opossums make is a hissing noise.

This is often a sign that the animal feels threatened or scared. Another typical sound is a low growl, which can be heard when the opossum feels territorial. Screeching and clicking noises are also common, especially during mating season.

If you hear frequent animal vocalizations coming from your yard after dark, there’s a good chance that you have an opossum living nearby.

Common Areas and Times for Hearing These Sounds

Common areas where you might hear possums include roofs, attics, sheds, garages, trees, fences, and under decks or porches. If you have fruit trees or vegetable gardens in your yard, these may also attract possums looking for an easy meal.

It’s important to note that not all scratching noises are caused by possums – other animals, such as raccoons or squirrels, could also be responsible. However, if you hear these sounds regularly and suspect that possums are the culprits, it’s best to take action to remove them from your yard.

Sign 4: Pervasive Unpleasant Smells

The unpleasant odors associated with possums

One of the most significant signs that you have possums in your yard is the pungent and unpleasant smell they leave behind.

Possums emit a strong, musky odor that can be overpowering, especially when feeling threatened or scared. This scent is produced by special glands on their body, which they use as a defense mechanism against predators.

The smell of possums can be strong during the breeding season when males mark their territory to attract females. If you notice an intense odor coming from your yard, it could indicate multiple possums living nearby.

How to identify and locate the source of the smell

If you suspect that there are possums living in your yard, but you’re not sure where the odor is coming from, there are a few things you can do to identify and locate the source:

  • Look for droppings: Possum droppings are relatively large and cylindrical. They often contain undigested seeds and other plant material.
  • Check for tracks: Possum tracks have five toes on each foot and look similar to a small dog’s.
  • Look for damage: Possums are notorious for digging through trash cans and gardens for food. If you see any signs of damage around your property, such as torn-up plants or overturned garbage cans, it could be a sign that possums have been present.
  • Use your nose: Follow your nose to locate the source of the smell. It will likely lead you directly to where the possums are hiding.

Once you’ve identified where the possums are hiding, you must take steps to deter them from returning.

If the problem persists, you may need to contact a professional pest control company to help safely remove the possums from your yard.

Sign 5: Nesting Materials and Damaged Trees

Possums’ Nesting Habits and Materials Used

Possums' Nesting Habits and Materials Used

Possums are opportunistic creatures that can make their nests in various places, including trees, attics, crawl spaces, and even abandoned burrows made by other animals.

They usually prefer a sheltered area hidden from predators, providing warmth and comfort. Possums are nocturnal animals, so they tend to sleep during the day in their nests.

Possums use a wide variety of items found in their surroundings. These materials include leaves, grasses, twigs, bark strips, feathers, fur, and paper products like shredded newspapers or cardboard boxes.

If you notice an accumulation of these materials in your yard or around your house’s exterior walls or eaves troughs’ corners, it could indicate that possums have taken up residence nearby. You may also see droppings near the nest site.

Indications of Damaged Trees and Foliage Caused by Possums

Possums are known to cause significant damage to trees when they forage for food at night. They can strip bark from trees using their sharp teeth to access the sap underneath. This process can weaken the tree’s structure and lead to its eventual death if left unchecked.

Another sign of possum activity is damaged foliage caused by them feeding on leaves or fruits. If you notice large chunks missing from plant leaves or fruits with bite marks, it could indicate that possums have been feeding in your garden.

In addition to damaging trees and plants directly through feeding activities, possums can also cause secondary damage by trampling on plants while moving around at night.

To prevent further damage by possums to your yard’s greenery, try placing barriers such as chicken wire fencing around garden beds or individual plants where possible.

Possums also avoid certain plants, such as lavender or rosemary, so planting these in your garden could help deter them.

Sign 6: Sightings of Possums

The significance of direct possum sightings

Spotting a possum in your yard is one of the most obvious signs that these creatures live nearby.

While some might mistake them for rats or other rodents, possums have several unique features that set them apart.

For starters, they have gray fur and a long, pointed snout. They also have sharp claws on their feet that help them climb trees and other objects.

If you’ve seen a possum in your yard, taking action as soon as possible is essential.

These animals can cause damage to your property and may even carry diseases that can be harmful to humans and pets alike.


You likely have a possum in your yard if you’ve noticed any of the six abovementioned signs. While they may seem harmless, possums can cause significant damage to your property and carry diseases that can harm humans and pets.

To prevent possums from causing further damage, it’s crucial to take action as soon as possible. This could involve securing your garbage cans, removing potential food sources, and sealing entry points into your home or garage.

Remember that if you’re uncomfortable dealing with possums on your own, professionals can help. Don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance if needed.

You can protect your home and your family from potential harm by taking the necessary steps to keep possums away from your property.


Are possums dangerous?

Possums are generally not aggressive toward humans, but they carry diseases such as leptospirosis and salmonella, which can be harmful.

What should I do if I find a baby possum?

If you find a baby possum alone without its mother nearby, contact a wildlife rehabilitation center for advice on properly caring for it.

How do I know if a possum is nocturnal?

Possums are nocturnal animals meaning they are active at night. If you notice activity in your yard during the night hours, this could indicate the presence of a possum.

Can my pet get sick from encountering a possum?

Yes, pets can contract diseases from contacting a possum or its feces. It’s essential to keep pets away from these animals and their droppings.

Will repellents work against possums?

Repellents such as mothballs or ammonia are ineffective in keeping possums away. The best way to deter these animals is by removing any potential food sources and securing your property.

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