The Virginia opossum is the only marsupial found in North America. They’re about the size of a house cat, with a long pointed face, hairless ears, opposable thumbs, and a rat-like tail. They are solitary creatures that live alone with the exception of mating season. Homeowners in Dallas, TX find them especially troublesome because of the mess they make, smell they cause, and ability to live in attics, garages, and under decks.
How can I tell if I have opossums?
Opossums are a little more challenging to identify than other nocturnal creatures such as raccoons. You may not know that an opossum is in your home until you physically see it. In the wild, opossums live in hollow logs and trees, crevices in cliffs, abandoned burrows from other animals, and brush piles. They are highly adaptable and have hands with the ability to scale trees. When faced with a more urban environment, opossums can live under decks, within walls of human made structures such as residential homes, and in garages, sheds, or attics. It’s not unheard of for the occasional curious opossum to wander into your living space through doggy doors. Once they enter, they defecate, urinate, and breed. You may smell strong, strange odors, see droppings, find toppled over trash cans, or hear shuffling noises at night in your attic.
Why do I have opossums?
Opossums are widespread across Texas. The Dallas & Fort Worth area is no exception. Within both natural and manmade environments, opossums can thrive. As long as they have access to food, shelter, and water, they can survive. Their natural diet includes a lot of the things that homeowners would rather do without. This includes poisonous snakes, frogs, lizards, mice, rats, ants, beetles, grubs, carrion, and geckos. In more urban areas, opossums eat garbage, bird seed, and pet food to name a few. If their options for living are limited, opossums will seek out spaces such as under decks, in garages, sheds, and attics to hide from predators and stay safe from diurnal creatures. If you have these conditions present on your property, opossums may move in.
Are opossums dangerous?
They provide natural pest control, can’t carry rabies, and generally leave humans alone. So then what’s the problem with opossums? Let’s narrow it down.
- Disease– Although they don’t carry rabies, opossums can transmit disease through their saliva, feces, and urine including tularemia, leptospirosis, and salmonella. This can affect both humans and pets.
- Pests– Opossums are frequently infested with fleas, ticks, lice, and mites, which can easily spread to your pet.
- Physical Damage– Opossums that wander into your home, live under your deck, or live in your attic can ruin your belongings. Their urine and feces can stain belongings and leave behind repulsive smells.
- Dogs and Cats– If you have a dog or an outdoor cat, opossums could come in contact with them. As we mentioned earlier, they can transmit a wealth of diseases and pests that directly affect our beloved furry family members. Although opossums are generally docile creatures, they can become aggressive towards pets as a last resort for personal defense, even biting and scratching.
How can I prevent opossums?
You can prevent them by making your property as unappealing to opossums as possible. First order of business: remove the food sources you have control over. Pick up fallen fruit, don’t hang bird feeders, secure trash can lids, and always bring pet food indoors at night. Second order of business: close off entry points. Are there tree branches touching your roof or gutter? Trim them back to avoid these excellent climbers from accessing your roof. Repair broken or loose external vents that can provide access into your home. Make a habit of closing your garage or shed every night. With that being said, pest control professionals are always your best option for active opossum removal and prevention.
How does Certified get rid of opossums?
Every animal carries unique risks and requires different trapping tactics. When in doubt, it’s always safest to call a professional for help. Handling strange animals is dangerous, and they present a big challenge in capturing and handling safely. Our Wildlife Removal Plan, which includes opossum removal, is done by using the following steps:
- WILDLIFE INSPECTION – Our skilled technicians are trained to recognize signs that indicate the presence and type of animal including Opossums, Raccoons, Skunks, and Armadillos
- WILDLIFE REMOVAL AND ELIMINATION – We will make appropriate recommendations for safe and humane wildlife removal and then properly remove any wildlife
- WILDLIFE CONTROL AND PROOFING – We will provide recommendations and can offer services to prevent re-entry of wildlife animals
Do you suspect that you have an opossum living under your deck or in your attic? Give Certified Termite and Pest Control a call at 972-852-2847 or fill out the form on this page to set up an opossum inspection at your home!