You might be surprised what kind of things would find your attic an attractive place to live in! Squirrels, rats, even opossums, if there are some on the area where you live – you can find them all one day right under your roof. Perhaps you are the one who faced this problem, so how to get rid of possums in the attic?
Probably, opossums are more likely than others, since they do not mind the living conditions (in fact, they could even occupy your porch or shed), they like to change places and are highly adaptive.
If you have ever seen an opossum or wondered “Can possums climb?”, you should know their appearance and how they have a prehensile tail and opposable thumbs, both of which are attributes of great climbers! All in all, climbing up to your attic would be a piece of cake.
“Where do possums nest” is not a question that crosses people’s minds quite often, thus when the problem comes up, it is usually a surprise, though quite an unpleasant one.
Opossums are kinda lazy, so if there is no pathway, it is unlikely they would make one, unlike raccoons. However, both of these two will not miss an opportunity to enter a building if there is already a way in, whether it is intentional or not.
People who already faced the problem of having opossums in their attics noted to see them mostly during two seasons: in spring and winter.
Spring for opossums is the birthing season – during this time female opossums have their babies who cling to their back right after the birth and stay there for a while, safe and warm.
To protect the younglings, opossums look for quiet, warm, and dry places, where they could raise their kids safely; if you check your attic with this perspective in mind, you will find it surprisingly fitting for the job! All that being said, if you meet opossum in the attic during spring, very likely you will encounter the whole family (or several).
Unfortunately, climbing skill for opossums is not something they possess from the moment of birth; it is a common accident that a baby would fall off its mama’s back and can even get stuck in some tiny hole, for example, down the wall, which would require cutting the wall to get it out.
In winter most opossums are quite mature and are able to wander around by themselves and not get into much trouble. Low temperatures, however, are not their forte, and again they are on the roll in their search for want and dry shelter. Unless your attic does not have a roof, it is very likely it gonna be warmer and drier than the outside, even if its condition is quite disastrous.
How to get rid of possums in the attic: step by step guide
Step 1: Check the surroundings
To understand and adequately estimate what is it that you will be working with, check the current state first: try to spot the intruders, get their approximate count, look for the damage caused, and what would need to be repaired.
The signs that you may look for will be an animal itself, or several of them, or their tracks, or feces, or various forms of damage, from scratches and bite marks to trails. If you see an opossum or even several, consider yourself lucky – opossums are one of the few animal kinds that you can catch by hand or snare pole quite fast, once you spot them.
Please note that it is unwise to jump in to catch an animal with your bare hands once you spot them; to avoid bite damage and possible infection, while catching with your hands use gloves.
It would be also an efficient move to check the exterior of the house. Since opossums are too lazy to make their own way in, it is very likely your home already has some pathways they found and used to get inside. These areas would be crucial for further reparation.
Step 2: Choose your strategy
As we discussed, if you see them – you can catch them. But what can you do if you don’t?
If you did not manage to get an image of the intruding possum in the attic, the best way for you to get rid of it would be to put around some possum traps.
We would also suggest putting several traps just outside, near the entry hole, bolting in on the roof. Like that, you will increase your chances of catching the intruders drastically. The trap cages for opossum rats should be large enough, parameters of 12x12x30 would be the perfect fit.
Another possible way would be to set one-way exclusions doors at the entrance and exit of the attic; once all the animals are outside, with all the babies, seal shut all the holes to stop the intrusion and prevent further ones.
It is essential to make sure that the attic is opossum-free before sealing it shut since if it’s not, you would very likely face issues like scratching in the attic and unpleasant possum noises, as well as terrible smell in case the animal dies – all the perks of locking up a possum in house.
If you are wondering “what do I do with a baby possum in my house?“, the answer is: possums usually do not leave their babies until they mature, which is why the parent possums will take care of the baby unless you force their separation.
Step 3: Clean up & seal shut
After you freed your attic from unexpected visitors, it is highly recommended to get cleaning services to bring it back to the inhabitable state and have a clear image of the reparations to be done.
Opossums leave behind a significant amount of opossum droppings and possum poop, which is why we would not suggest cleaning the place on your own, although the call is definitely yours. If you don’t know what does possum poop looks like, we suggest you Google it up; there is no better way to explain it than in an image.
When the cleaning is done, do not forget to seal shut all the holes that you identified earlier as a possible way in for the intruders. The internal reparations are important, however, sealing the pathways shut is what would give you your peace of mind and let you not worry about further unwanted attic occupation.
Cost of removing opossums from the attic
A short answer would be “it depends“. A long one, though, includes the discussion of the approximate number of the animals in the attic, the complexity of their withdrawal, the damage caused, etc. If you are lucky as your case is not too difficult and can be dealt with in one service visit, it can cost you around $100.
If you were not too lucky and your new occupants got too deep into your attic, or the damage caused requires multiple attic cleanups, home repairs, and service visits overall – very likely your bill will exceed $100 by a significant amount.
The cost would also depend on the city that you live in; all that said, we strongly recommend getting advice from the technician in your region.
A little word about opossums
How to get rid of an opossum” is in the center of attention, they are still quite interesting critters; one of the most interesting of those you can find in nature.
They are North American native marsupials, and usually prefer living on their own instead of forming a group. Young opossums live in their mother’s pouch until the moment they are mature enough to survive on their own. In a way, you can think about them as American mini-kangaroos.
Unfortunately, besides being fun and cute, opossums are quite messy, which does not allow them to be perfect neighbors. Opossums occupying your attic and bringing in with them their lifestyle may cause a bunch of problems for you and your family, including health issues.
If you are reading this article, the chances that you have already faced some of these are fairly high, though if not, it is a good strategy to learn about potential threats before you face them.
As we discussed earlier, the attic represents a perfect environment for opossums to live and thrive; we rarely visit the place, unless you have intentionally designed some personal space for yourself there, it is usually dry and warm (from all the warmth we generate in the rooms below the attic, the ones we live in).
Video: How to get rid of possums in the attic
In this video, you can watch opossum removal from the attic by professionals.
Is there a permanent solution?
We already discussed possible actions that you can take to get rid of opossums occupying your attic. Is there something that can once and for all make your home opossum-free?
There are, although their appeal would depend on what kind of outcome you would prefer. The most popular ones are to use the specialized poison or to hire an exterminator to get rid of the intruder for good.
These ways ensure your home will not be occupied by opossums again and would involve less effort input from you. Although you may face some moral issues in regard to these solutions.
Another possibility would be to get a professional to capture the intruding animal and moving it to nature; whichever solution you set your mind on, there is another factor that may influence your decision, and that factor is money.
Hiring a professional to get the job done will save you time and effort, not to mention sparing you the unpleasant experience, but it can cost quite a bit.
You can also try out the repellents for opossums; the most common ones are based on fox urine – a method invented and promoted by predation science. You will also find some electric repellents widely marketed out there.
However, if you ask professional wildlife removers, they will tell you that these repellents are in fact worthless for driving the opossums out. If they are good for anything, it is to create a state of alertness for these occupants and make it harder for you to catch them.
Unless you follow the repellent with the more efficient measure, the animals will soon learn that the natural trigger is in these conditions in fact harmless, and the repellent effect will quickly get to zero. All that said, we would not recommend wasting your money on repellents.
Once we have looked through the possible solutions, both expensive and cost-cutting, you have an opportunity to decide what it is that you want to do. We find the installment of one-way funnels to be a “golden middle” both in terms of cost and efficiency; it is simple in operation, fairly available in terms of budget and quite efficient.
All the equipment you need is the funnel itself (or very likely several, in case you have several holes-pathways in). And all you would need to do is to identify these holes and attach the one-way funnel.
Make sure you cover all the holes you have and that there is no other possible way in for the intruders. After all the effort and time put into getting them out, you will not want to have them back again.
Once the funnels are installed and it gets dark outside, it is your chance to draw the opossums out: turn on all the lights in the attic, make it as bright as possible and make the biggest fuzz you can. You can introduce your own measures, just ask yourself one question: “How to scare a possum?”.
The goal is to startle the animals and draw them out. Once they all leave the attic, make sure to seal the holes and block any further entry. The procedure is totally harmless both for you and the opossums since it does not involve any harmful equipment or chemicals whatsoever.
All in all
Opossums might be one of the easiest animals to deal with in case of intrusion, although they can be a piece of work too. To “get rid of them” you still need to invest some time, effort, and money; the proportions of the three will vary depending on the strategy you choose.
The good news is, the problem is solvable and can be prevented from getting repeated. Even if your problem sounds like “how to get a possum out of your house” or “how to get rid of possums under the house”, the strategy we discussed will still be applicable and as efficient as with the attic.
You now should have everything you need to be able to solve the opossum problem on your own or with professional help; look through the step-by-step guide above, estimate your capacities and study the opportunities.
If you have doubts and are wondering if backing off and leaving things as they are can be a good idea, we invite you to use your imagination and based on the damages you already have, try to get an image of the possible future damages and think about how much effort it would take to deal with them.
Whatever you decide to do, please bear in mind that these animals are living creatures, and although they did break into your property, it should not motivate you to deny them due respect.
Take the problem seriously, prepare profoundly and seek professional advice if needed. And please make sure not to let your pets handle the intruders, the possum vs catfight (as well as possum vs dog one) is not a solution.