Opossums under your house, deck, or in your crawl space? Those scents and sounds may well be an opossum. They are often considered nuisance animals. We trap and remove opossums. Call your local Critter Control office today at 800 CRITTER for effective opossum removal and exclusion services.


Opossums are the only marsupials native to North America, where they thrive in wooded and suburban areas east of the Rocky Mountains. Mother opossums give birth to litters of tiny, undeveloped babies the size of honeybees, known as joeys, which crawl inside the mother's pouch and continue to grow. Once the joeys become too large for the pouch, they ride upon the mother's back while she scavenges for food.

The nocturnal marsupials eat almost anything, including garbage, roadkill, rotten fruit, grass, insects, birds, and snakes. They have a reputation for playing dead by curling onto their back, sticking their tongues out, squirting foul fluid from their anuses, and staring off into space when confronted by predators. Opossums also attempt to scare predators by baring their teeth and hissing, which many people mistake for a sign of rabies.


Typically about the size of a cat or small dog, opossums have narrow snouts, small eyes, and long, hairless, prehensile tails that act as a fifth limb for climbing trees. Their bodies are covered in grayish white fur, and they have more teeth than any other mammal in the United States. Their sharp claws, opposable thumbs on their hind feet, and prehensile tails make opossums agile climbers.


Although opossums are native to forests and wetlands throughout North America, their omnivorous scavenging behavior allows them to fit in well among suburban environments. They prefer to nest in tree cavities or abandoned dens of other animals but sometimes take up residence in unoccupied attics, garages, sheds, or beneath porches. Opossums lead solitary lives, except when rearing joeys, and are almost exclusively nocturnal.


Are opossums known to enter homes or yards?
Opossums may become nuisances if they move into sheds, attics, or garages in residential yards. The marsupials construct nests of twigs, cloth scraps, grass, and other materials in dark, secluded places where they sleep during the daytime. At night, opossums venture into yards in search of easy meals in garbage cans and gardens. Opossums that are acclimated to living near people may enter houses at night through unsecured dog or cat doors.


Do opossums harm people or property?
Even though opossums have an unappealing, rat-like appearance, they do not attack humans. The marsupials prefer to play dead when confronted so as to throw predators off guard and escape. Opossums are a danger to humans and domesticated pets insofar as they can carry diseases such as tuberculosis, tularemia, spotted fever, toxoplasmosis, and Chagas disease, as well as fleas, mites, and lice.

The greatest opossum damage occurs in gardens, where the marsupials help themselves to fruits and vegetables. They will also eat unsecured pet food left outside overnight and rummage through garbage cans or compost heaps to find bits and scraps to eat. Opossums have also been known to enter chicken coops and destroy birds, nests, and eggs.

Control and Safety

To reduce the likelihood of opossums making their homes in residential yards, entrances to attics and garages should be sealed up, including the areas around garage doors and windows, attic vents, and gaps in walls or siding. Trimming overhanging tree branches and overgrown shrubbery also helps keep opossums from reaching attics.

Trapping and Removal

Though they are not prone to aggression, opossums are still wild animals. As such, any attempts at removal should be done by a trained professional. Critter Control specialists are educated in opossum behavior and can effectively eradicate infestations. Untrained individuals simply do not have the knowledge, resources, and certifications to safely and properly handle the marsupials as professionals do.