Opossum Removal and Control Methods
Opossums or Possums can be trapped with a variety of methods. Live Traps, Body Gripping traps, snares, and foot traps. There are no effective repellents for possums or Opossums.
Opossums can raid chicken houses, live in attics, barns, and under sheds. They may get into bird feeders, dog and cat food or just be a general nuisance.
General Biology, Reproduction, and Behavior
Opossums usually live alone, having a home range of 10 to 50 acres (4 to 20 ha). Young appear to roam randomly until they find a suitable home range. Usually they are active only at night. The mating season is January to July in warmer parts of the range but may start a month earlier and end a month later in northern areas. Opossums may raise 2, rarely 3, litters per year. The opossum is the only marsupial in North America. Like other marsupials, the blind, helpless young develop in a pouch. They are born 13 days after mating. The young, only 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) long, find their way into the female’s pouch where they can attach to one of 13 teats. An average of 7 young are born. They remain in the pouch for 7 to 8 weeks. The young remain with the mother another 6 to 7 weeks until weaned.
Most young die during their first year. Those surviving until spring will breed in that first year. The maximum age in the wild is about 7 years.
Although opossums have a top running speed of only 7 miles per hour (11.3 km/hr), they are well equipped to escape enemies. They readily enter burrows and climb trees. When threatened, an opossum may bear its teeth, growl, hiss, bite, screech. and exude a smelly, greenish fluid from its anal glands. If these defenses are not successful, an opossum may play dead.
When captured or surprised during daylight, opossums appear stupid and inhibited. They are surprisingly intelligent, however. They rank above dogs in some learning and discrimination tests.
Although opossums may be considered desirable as game animals, certain individuals may be a nuisance near homes where they can get into garbage, bird feeders, or pet food. They may also destroy poultry, game birds, and their nests.