Have you ever heard the phrase “playing possum?” This actually originates from the tendency of the opossum (or simply “possum”) to involuntarily play dead when startled or threatened.
Opossums are marsupials; in fact, they’re the only marsupials residing in North America. While they like to create dens in hollow trees or the vacated burrows of other animals, opossums can also find a home under your deck, shed or house. Because of their unspecialized biology, flexible diet and reproductive strategy, opossums are successful colonizers and survivors even when their habitat has been disrupted.
While opossums may be good at playing dead, it doesn’t mean they’re harmless. All that digging and burrowing can compromise the foundation of structures, one of the reasons why you need to send them packing if you discover them on your property. They’ll also feast on just about anything, including your garbage.
Get Rid of Possums: How to Trap an Opossum
Opossum traps come in a variety of sizes and styles. Possum trapping tips include placing traps wherever you’ve seen signs of their activity, such as burrowing. Before setting a trap, always check with your local game commission to ensure you’re allowed to trap in your area. Also, avoid trapping during early spring and summer to prevent separating babies and mamas.
Baiting Possum Traps with the Best Bait for Possums and Other Opossum Baiting Tips
Although they aren’t particularly finicky eaters, the best possum bait is fish or apples. Baiting opossum traps with canned pet food also works well. While there are differences of opinion as to the best bait for opossums, all professional trappers agree, the smellier the better. (No, your old sneakers won’t do the trick!) One of the most important opossum baiting tips is to smear the bait in, on and around the trap.
How to Deter Possums
Chicken-wire fence is a good method to ensure you won’t find a possum in your yard. Construct a fence that is four feet high with the top 12 to 18 inches bent outward away from the garden. You can “possum-proof” standard fencing by attaching an electrically charged wire along the top. However, if you’re like most, you’d rather not detract from your landscaping. If you really want to say goodbye to a possum in your garden and in your yard, apply a liquid or granular repellent that targets their sense of smell and taste.