What do opossums look like?

Opossums are marsupials that can grow to lengths of 21-36 inches, and weigh from four to fifteen pounds as adults. These furry pests have cat-sized bodies covered in gray fur, with small dark ears and dark legs. The easiest way to identify opossums is by their long, hairless tails, much like rats. Opossums with babies may be seen to have a pouch, or several small opossums clinging to their bellies or backs.

opossum outside of a san antonio texas home

Are opossums dangerous?

Opossums are famous for playing dead when they are disturbed or fear that they may become prey for a larger animal. This is their first line of defense against threats. They do not usually bite but may if provoked or sick. As with all wild animals, care should be taken to avoid being bitten or scratched by opossums, as open wounds are susceptible to secondary bacterial infections. If you find opossums on your property do not attempt to move the animals. Instead, call a professional to assess the situation.

How do opossums get inside?

Unlike many other invasive pests, opossums do not build their own burrows. Instead, they look for abandoned nests and other structures in which they can make their homes. This is one of the reasons they are commonly found nesting inside garages, sheds, and garbage cans. They can fit into surprisingly small holes or gaps around door frames, pipes, and eaves. Opossums are skilled climbers so they may enter your home or garage by way of overhanging tree branches and limbs. They can jump up to ten feet, which allows them to access high places such as attics. Opossums are attracted to chicken coops. If you have chickens, extra vigilance is needed, as opossums will steal both eggs and small chicks. Opossums can dig, so care should be taken to fill in any holes or gaps around the base of your chicken coop, and be sure to watch for new holes or chew marks.

How do I get rid of opossums?

Opossums are wild animals, and large pests. If you suspect that you have opossums living in your home, or within a structure on your property, it is best to call a professional to humanely trap and remove the animals. Family offers eco-friendly options for Wildlife Removal, and our team of trained professionals are available for scheduled removals.

Family Pest’s opossum prevention tips

Here are a few tips to help you prevent attracting opossums to your property:

  •  Make sure that all garbage, excess food, compost, and more around your property is properly disposed of or stored. Opossums are scavengers at heart, and will gladly eat pet food that is left outside, as well as birdseed.
  • Opossums are attracted to easy nesting sites, such as log and brush piles, and to garbage, so remove these from your property if at all possible.
  • Inspect your home for holes in screens and windows, and fill gaps around pipes and door frames to discourage opossums from entering the home. Care should be taken to patch holes in ductwork or vents, as these spaces can serve as an access point for these pests.
  • In some situations, fencing may help to keep opossums from entering your property.

A consultation with one of our trained professionals can help you to determine which prevention measures are best suited for your home.

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