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How to Scare Opossums Away From Your House

Encountering wildlife around our homes can be a fascinating experience, but sometimes certain species, like opossums, may become unwelcome guests. If you find opossums causing disturbances around your property, it’s important to address the situation responsibly and ethically. This article will teach you how to scare opossums away from your house, and strategies to encourage them to leave the area peacefully.

How to scare opossums away from your house

Opossums play a valuable role in ecosystems by consuming insects, carrion, and even small rodents. While it’s understandable to want to deter them from specific areas, it’s important to do so ethically and responsibly. 

Tips and strategies for scaring opossums away from your house

1. Remove Attractants

Picking up fallen walnuts
Picking up fallen walnuts

Opossums are opportunistic feeders, so it’s crucial to eliminate any potential food sources that may be attracting them to your property. Secure trash cans with tight-fitting lids, and avoid leaving pet food or birdseed outside overnight. Clean up fallen fruits, and store firewood away from your house. By removing these temptations, you reduce the incentive for opossums to stick around.

2. Seal Entry Points

Inspect your home for any gaps or openings that could serve as entry points for opossums. Opossums are excellent climbers and can squeeze through surprisingly small gaps. Seal holes in your fences, close off gaps under decks or sheds, and ensure that attic vents and crawl space entrances are properly covered. By limiting access to potential denning sites, you discourage opossums from setting up camp at your home.

3. Install Motion-Activated Lights and Alarms

Motion-activated light installed in the backyard
Motion-activated light installed in the backyard | image by Rafael Castillo via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Opossums are primarily nocturnal creatures, so installing motion-activated lights can help deter them. These lights startle opossums and make them uncomfortable in well-lit areas. Additionally, motion-activated alarms can emit loud noises, which can startle and discourage opossums from coming too close. These non-harmful deterrents are a great, non-lethal way to keep opossums away.

4. Remove Shelter and Hiding Spots

Opossums seek out sheltered areas during the day, such as brush piles, overgrown vegetation, and stacks of debris. By clearing away these potential hiding spots, you make your property less appealing to opossums.

Trim overhanging branches near your house, clean up leaf piles, and maintain a well-maintained yard. An open, uncluttered environment reduces the likelihood of opossums considering your property as a suitable habitat.

5. Implement Fencing

Closed wooden fence in the backyard
Closed wooden fence in the backyard

Installing a sturdy fence around your property can act as a physical barrier, preventing opossums from easily accessing your yard or garden. Use hardware cloth or similar material with small mesh openings, burying it at least a few inches below ground to discourage opossums from burrowing underneath. Ensure the fence is tall enough (4 to 5 feet) and angled outward slightly to discourage climbing.

6. Utilize Scare Tactics

Opossums are cautious creatures, and certain scare tactics can be effective in deterring them. Place motion-activated sprinklers near areas frequented by opossums.

The sudden burst of water startles them, which can condition them to avoid those areas. You can also use visual deterrents like hanging shiny objects, such as reflective tape or wind chimes, on your property. Changing these tactics periodically increases their effectiveness.

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7. Seek Professional Assistance

If you’ve exhausted your efforts and opossums continue to be a persistent problem, consider seeking help from wildlife professionals or local animal control agencies. They have the expertise to evaluate your situation and provide guidance on humane and legal methods for opossum removal, if necessary.

8. Use Natural Repellents

Certain natural repellents can help deter opossums from your property. The strong smells of substances like vinegar, ammonia, or garlic can be off-putting to opossums. Soak rags in these solutions and place them strategically around your yard or near areas where opossums are frequently seen. However, be mindful of not using substances that may harm other wildlife or pets.

9. Use Repellent Plants

Lavender flowers
Lavender flowers

Certain plants are known to possess odors or textures that repel opossums. Consider incorporating plants such as marigolds, geraniums, or lavender in your garden beds or yard. These plants can act as natural deterrents, making your property less inviting to opossums.

10. Be Mindful of Opossums with Young

During the breeding season, opossums may seek shelter in dens with their young. It’s important to exercise caution and avoid separating a mother’s opossum from her offspring. If you suspect the presence of a den, wait until the young are old enough to leave before implementing scare tactics or deterrents.

11. Educate Your Neighbors

Opossums are adaptable creatures, and if your neighbors’ properties are more welcoming, the opossums may simply move from one property to another. Consider talking to your neighbors about how they can use these tips to keep opossums away from their yard and in turn, your yard.

12. Embrace Wildlife-Friendly Practices

Alternative wildlife habitat
Alternative wildlife habitat | image by Lake Lou via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Ultimately, fostering a harmonious relationship with opossums and other wildlife involves embracing wildlife-friendly practices. Consider creating alternative habitat areas, such as brush piles or designated wildlife-friendly zones, away from your main living areas. Providing suitable habitats elsewhere on your property may redirect opossums to an area of your property you might be okay with having opossums on. You can even get designated opossum houses!