Opossums are found throughout the eastern, central, and southern United States. Where opossums live, they live in large numbers. Opossums aren’t particularly picky about where they live, either. They prefer to be near water, but other than that, they’ll make a home wherever they find themselves. Often, they’ll even move into something else’s home--either another animal or yours!
Opossums are one of the most common wildlife troublemakers we deal with every day. Their particular brand of lazy, meandering opportunism tends to bring them by homes quite often. Luckily, that same lazy opportunism means it’s not difficult to turn them away, either. If you can make your home less accessible to opossums, they’ll simply find somewhere else to live. Here are six easy ways to do that.
1. Cover Your Trash
This is our top tip for a reason: opossums love trash. There’s tons of it, it’s easy to find, and they don’t have to work to get it. To keep opossums out of your trash, make it scarce, hard to find, and even harder to get. Don’t let your trash pile up, either in your dumpster or in your cans. Store all trash in sealed plastic bags. Rinse out pungent materials before disposing of them. Most importantly, tie your garbage bin closed with bungee cords or rubber bands to keep opossums out of it. Make your garbage hard to get, and opossums will find their meals elsewhere.
2. Block Off Your Deck
Like we said, opossums really aren’t picky about where they live. Failing other options, they’re perfectly happy to build a burrow under your deck. They may even move into a pre-existing burrow you didn’t know about! Block off any openings beneath your deck or porch with mesh wiring. Make sure you dig the mesh wiring several inches underground to prevent opossums from digging under it. If there are pre-existing burrows under your deck, make sure they’re empty and then fill them in. If you suspect they aren’t empty, give us a call right away.
3. Secure Your Garage
Opossums love to sneak into garages, especially to get at bird seed or pet food. First, you should make sure they don’t have an easy way to get inside yours. Keep your garage door down whenever you’re not actively using it. Make sure the door, opener, and rubber sealing aren’t damaged or compromised. Then, take away their reasons for entering your garage in the first place. Keep bird seed, pet food, and other opossum food in sealed, airtight containers. If they can’t smell it, they won’t know it’s there.
4. Repair Damage
Opossums tend to access yards and homes by digging under or squeezing through existing damage. They’ll find their way under a hole in your fence or wiggle through a gap in your garden mesh. Walk the perimeter of your fences looking for damage and patch it up as you find it. Remember: opossums are climbers, so you’ll have to look up and down. Consider installing some subterranean mesh to prevent opossums from digging under wire mesh fencing to get at your garden. Install screens over your vents and chimneys, and check to make sure they aren’t damaged periodically.
5. Trim Branches & Bushes
Despite their unassuming appearance, opossums are famously capable climbers. They love to scamper up trees and bushes to make nests amongst the leaves. Often, they’ll even use high branches as bridges to other, more secure nesting locations. Those secure nesting locations may even be your roof! Cut branches and bushes away from the sides of your home. Make sure nothing touches or overlaps with your roof, in particular. If opossums can’t access your roof, they can’t enter your vents or chimney.
6. Clear Your Yard
Opossums are attracted to yards that offer them food, shelter, and cover. They’ll eat their way across your yard from hiding place to hiding place until they reach the home itself. Periodically walk around your yard and remove any possible opossum food or shelter. Pick up fallen fruits, berries, leaves, twigs, or birdseed. Remove trash and other debris the wind blows in. Don’t leave piles of leaves or firewood sitting out. The clearer and cleaner your yard, the less attractive it will be to opossums.
Opossums are very tenacious little beasts. No matter what life throws at them, they keep on keeping on. To do that, however, they can’t dwell on any one opportunity. If you can make accessing your home tough enough, they’ll move on pretty quickly. That’s what they have to do.
In the event that a particularly problematic opossum makes a pest of themselves on your property, however, don’t panic! Just give Varment Guard a call anytime. We’ve yet to meet an opossum we couldn’t dissuade, and yours won’t be the first.