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What Is An Opossum?
An opossum is a marsupial from the Didelphidae family. They range in size from that of a rat to a large house cat. Their identifying characteristics include grey-black fur, small, black beady eyes, a pink pointy nose, tail and feet and small black ears. They are omnivorous and eat mostly plants, berries, insects and small rodents. In its quest for food, it can and will make its way into your yard. Picking through garbage and even hunting small birds and domestic pets, opossums are a problem that you would rather not have.
Opossums are hermitical and nocturnal, meaning that they sleep during the day and are awake at night. You will want to avoid confrontation with opossums at all costs. They are aggressive animals, and will hiss and growl when approached. They have very sharp teeth, so be sure never to get close enough to be bitten. Opossums carry rabies, which can be fatal to humans.
How Do I Kill An Opossum?
Before you kill any animal that is damaging your property or threatening your pets, speak to local wildlife authorizes or animal control to see what the laws are where you live as well as instructions for proper disposal of the animals body.
You can kill an opossum using traps, poison, clubbing and even a firearm. With all of these methods, you will want to ensure that you are wearing gloves before handling the animals remains to prevent you from contracting any diseases that the animal might be carrying.
If you own a firearm it can be used to kill an opossum. Using any caliber rifle is effective but you will be shooting in the dark, which can make your task difficult. Take a light out with you and try not to startle the animal, as it will run away. You may consider bringing someone along to hold the light to ensure that you are steady and can properly aim before you shoot.
Using this method means you need to be close enough to the animal that you could potentially be bit or scratched. If you spot an opossum and manage to sneak up on it without alarming it you can kill it by striking it with a heavy blow from a club or large hammer. You may need to strike the animal several times in order to kill it. Do not attempt to touch the animal itself.
There are currently no poisons approved for the eradication of opossums. Many people have had luck using rat poison, but it is never suggested that you use a poison for anything other than its intended use. Poison is the worst way to wipe out pests, as you run the risk of it being consumed by other docile wildlife, domestic pets or even children.
I Have An Opossum Problem; Do I Have To Kill It?
Animals such as opossums can be a vital part of the ecology where they live, so you may elect to find alternatives to killing them. Here are some other options available to you:
A Quick Glance at Opossums
How to catch an opossum
How to get rid of opossums
Actionable Opossum prevention tips: How to Keep Opossums Away
Successfully remove that Possum from your Attic
Opossums can be particularly problematic on farms, where they will make their way into hen houses and kill the poultry. Keep opossums (and a host of other pests) out by securely fastening the doors and openings where you do not want them to enter. To keep them out of your garbage, you can use bungee cords to keep the lid down and the opossum out.
An opossum can be easily caught with a cage or box trap. Use a piece of fruit to bait the opossum into the available trap and once it is in, the door will close, locking the creature inside. Leghold traps can also be used, although they are generally recommended for bigger animals. This trap is not guaranteed to kill the opossum and in most cases will only trap it. If left for an extended period of time in the trap it will eventually die, but this is not recommended, as it is not humane.
Contact your local wildlife organization or animal control center if an opossum is presenting a threat to you, your family, pets or your personal property. Response times are generally good and having someone else look after the problem means that you don’t have to.