Possums (the shortened term for opossums) are common animals in North America. They provide many benefits to ecosystems and even urban environments. However, a possum nesting on your property or in your home causes problems and damage. Removal costs vary based on the location on the property, number of possums, number of trips needed to catch the possums, complexity of sealing the entry point, and the degree of needed clean-up.
The national average cost ranges from $200 to $400, with most homeowners paying about $250 to remove a possum family from a chimney. Costs can be as low as $150 for removing a single possum living under a shed to as much as $500 for removing a mother and three babies from an attic, sealing the entry point, and cleaning up droppings.
|Possum Removal Cost|
|National average cost||$250|
Possums can be removed by hand, snare pole, or possum live or lethal trap. If possums can be removed indoors (usually in an attic) by hand or snare pole in one trip, the cost should be around $150 plus repairs and clean-up. Possums are easy to catch, so a snare pole or picking them up by hand is used if possible. If all possums can’t be located, live or lethal traps need to be set. The cost starts around $150 for outdoor locations or $250 for indoor locations. Outdoor locations provide easier access and require fewer repairs and less extensive clean-up. Costs increase for return trips, which cost about $100 each. Additional charges may be incurred to repair damage and seal off entry points.
Fumigants and possum repellent are not recommended, as none are known to be effective, and many can be harmful to humans. Live traps are preferred over lethal traps, which are actually illegal in most places and rarely used. Some homeowners deal with non-stop damage to their property and their peace being disturbed. Often, they look into lethal traps. However, live traps are usually used, and then the animal is humanely killed.
|Method||Starting Cost for 1 Possum|
|Hand or snare pole||$150|
|Setting trap outside||$150|
|Setting trap inside||$250|
Possum trapping generally costs between $150 to $250 for outdoor locations and $250 to $500 when possums are nesting inside your home. Some locations provide easier access than others. Various methods may be used to remove the possums. The number of possums and the amount of damage caused affects the price.
|Outdoors||$150 - $250|
|Indoors||$250 - $500|
The attic is one of the most popular locations to find possums. The cost to remove possums in the attic varies widely depending on the circumstances. Possums make homeowners aware that they are in the attic with the noise they make. A mother and her babies are almost always the culprits. If possible, the wildlife removal company uses a snare pole to catch the mother. Baby possums can sometimes be caught by hand. If all possums can’t be removed in this manner, traps will be set. Once all possums are removed, the entry point needs to be sealed up. Finally, the attic must be cleaned. All droppings need to be removed, and an enzyme cleaner used.
Sometimes babies living in an attic find their way into ceilings, air vents, and walls. In other instances, possums make their way into these places through an exterior hole. When a possum dies in one of these locations, the homeowner will notice a terrible smell. If the animal is in a difficult to reach place, removal and clean up can be tricky. Costs for these projects range from $250 to $500.
Crawl spaces and chimneys are other popular locations for a possum nest. Possum removal in a crawl space is similar to the attic removal process. If your chimney is not sealed off properly with a chimney cap, this is an easy spot for a possum to enter. Contact a chimney professional or wildlife removal company for help. Sometimes a possum in your garage or basement just accidentally wandered in and got stuck, or it may have found a way in and out and made a nest. This scenario could be common in the winter when you don’t go into your garage often. Similarly, a possum in a basement may have a nest, or the animal possibly wandered or fell in and can’t get back out.
If you have a trailer with skirting, a possum under the house can be a real possibility. Since it is difficult for a person to navigate this space, the best course of action is setting traps and then sealing up the entry point. If you find a possum living under the deck, shed, or porch, a few things can be done. When you are sure the possum is not at home, have the area sealed up. Place wire mesh from the bottom of your shed, porch, or deck to the ground and secure it so that wildlife can’t get in. A handyman can complete this task for about $60 to $90 per hour plus materials. Another option is to call in a wildlife management company to trap the possum. Costs for removal should be around $150 to $250.
If you see a possum in the backyard, it may not be cause for concern. The possum may be passing through. Keep an eye out for signs of a nest. If you find one, call a wildlife removal company for help. Possums can also be helpful to get rid of pests and insects in your yard, as they eat snails, beetles, and slugs, among other insects. A possum on the roof may also be simply passing through, but it is a good idea to look for signs of the possum getting into your house or chimney. If you see any evidence of a possum den, call for help.
A possum in a chicken coop may or may not be bad news. Sometimes a possum comes in, eats some chicken feed, and leaves. They will not always attack chickens. However, they might eat eggs and attack chicks or full-grown chickens occasionally. The best thing you can do is shut your chickens up at night and make sure no other creatures, such as possums, rats, or raccoons, can get into the coop. If you believe a possum has made a home near your chicken coop or attacked your chickens, call a wildlife management company for help in removing the animal.
Possum removal costs vary widely depending on the circumstances on your property. These factors include the level of possum infestation, where the possums are located, if the possums have caused damage, the amount of work required to seal up the entry point, and if it takes several trips to remove the possums. Selecting a reputable animal control company for possum removal is important. Many states have specific rules and regulations for humane possum removal, extermination, and relocation. Specific knowledge is required regarding how to set and bait traps and close up entry points into the home. The cost to remove possums ranges from $150 to $500. These companies can remove dead possums for around $150. If you see an injured or sick possum in the yard, call animal control, a wildlife rehabilitator, the state department of wildlife, or your local Opossum Society of the United States.
Possums search for food year-round and find places to live that are warm, dry, and safe. For these reasons, possums can easily become unwanted house guests. If you are concerned that you have a possum infestation on your property, look for signs. Watch for disappearing pet food or garbage that has been rummaged through. Check for damage to the exterior of your home or outbuilding. Look for damaged gutters, eaves 1, or siding, torn shingles 2, or ripped soffits 3.
Once a possum gets inside a building, many homeowners hear noises. These include scratching, hissing, shrieking, clicking, or lip-smacking. These noises are made by a mother communicating with her babies. Urine and droppings build up over time and create a bad smell. If a possum gets trapped and dies, you will notice an unpleasant smell.
If you are wondering, are possums dangerous to pets? A possum only bites if feeling threatened. Otherwise, they leave humans and pets alone. However, treat every possum as if it is infected with a disease. Wear rubber gloves if cleaning up excrement and be sure to keep your fingers out of a possum trap. If you do get bitten, clean the wound immediately with soap and water. After flushing and washing the wound, have it checked by a doctor.
Possums are not known to carry diseases as widely as other animals thanks to their above par immune system and lower than average body temperature. However, possums can carry disease. Possums can be especially dangerous to horses because they can carry a parasite called Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM). This infection of the central nervous system causes horses to experience weakness, spasticity, and dizziness.
People often mistake the possum drooling as a sign of rabies, but these animals rarely carry rabies. It is thought that they cannot have rabies due to their low body temperature. Despite it being rare however, it is possible.
Other diseases that occasionally present in possums are Chagas disease, leptospirosis, trichomoniasis, tuberculosis, coccidiosis, relapsing fever, toxoplasmosis, tularemia, and spotted fever. If a possum takes up residence in your home, the droppings can contaminate the area with leptospirosis or Salmonella.
The only marsupials living in North America, possums are mammals with a pouch for carrying their young. Possums are nocturnal and normally spend the day inside their den or other safe location. However, they are seen out during the day, especially during the winter when finding food is more difficult. When not in search of food, they sleep or spend time grooming themselves. Seeing possums together is uncommon, except for a mother with her children. They prefer to be alone. Possums can climb and swim but are most likely to walk.
Possums climb trees to get to safety, look for food, or search for a den. They wrap their tails around branches and support themselves for a short time. However, possums do not sleep upside down, hanging by their tails. This is a myth.
When scared, possums growl, hiss, and bare their teeth to try to look frightening. They try to escape by climbing a tree. If attacked, a possum will lay down and “play possum.” The animal lays on its side, opens its mouth and drools, curls its body, and defecates to appear dead. The possum can stay like this for a few minutes or several hours until it is safe to move on.
The possum life cycle is interesting. Possums mate twice a year. The male does not stick around. Gestation is only 12 or 13 days. Baby possums are called joeys, with up to 20 being born at a time. The babies are the size of jellybeans when born. They crawl into the mother’s pouch immediately after birth to continue developing. Young possums stay with their mothers for about 100 days, riding on her back wherever she goes. Only a few joeys from each litter survives. Possums typically live for one or two years.
Possums are similar in size to small dogs. They reach about 2.5 feet long from nose to tail and weigh about 9 to 13 pounds. Their fur is gray, white, and black, and their tail is long and hairless. Possums have a cone-shaped nose that has a pink tip and jagged teeth. Look for these features for possum identification.
Possums are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. They are known for digging through trash in the city, eating roadkill, pet food, snails, slugs, insects, and small rodents. Possums also eat fruit that has fallen from trees or still in trees, nuts, grass, snakes, worms, chickens, and wild birds.
Garbage and uncovered compost 4 piles attract possums. They also eat pet food and fruit that has fallen from the trees. Gardens can attract possums. They will also eat food from uncleaned barbecue grills. In general, if you leave food outdoors, a possum will likely pay a visit to your home. Access to denning sites can also be attractive.
Possums will often take over an abandoned burrow of another animal. They occasionally dig their own burrows and fill their homes with leaves or shredded paper. In addition to finding denning sites in nature, possums are drawn to human structures. Common places for possums to move in are under sheds, decks, or porches. They are commonly found in attics, crawlspaces, and chimneys, anywhere they can find an entrance from the outside.
A possum leaves behind a fair amount of damage if they have made a nest in your home. Possums can damage a roof by contaminating insulation and wood with urine and feces. This can leak down and stain the ceilings below. Insulation and ducts can be torn up. It is often easiest to remove and replace the insulation. Ducts can be repaired with foil tape or replaced. Damage also exists at the entry point of the home. Possums can damage yards and gardens. They like the taste of new growth on plants. A possum digging in the garden causes damage when they are looking for bugs in the soil. They are known to eat the buds on plants and trees, opening the door to possum damage to trees and plant diseases. Possums can cause lawn damage as they dig and look for worms and other critters for food.
Wildlife removal companies generally charge extra when coming out to any job after hours. At least $100 will be added to the bill for emergency trapping and removal services for a possum. The total for an outdoor emergency removal will be $250 to $350 and $350 to $600 for an indoor removal. An emergency should be declared if the possum threatens human or animal safety because of injury, disease, or acting maliciously.
It is important that you do not feed possums. Bring pet food in at night and secure your garbage so that possums can’t rummage through it. You should also pick fruits and vegetables as soon as they are ripe, and not leave anything rotten on the ground.
Secure pet doors at night, as opossums occasionally enter homes through pet doors. Once inside, they can generally be coaxed outside with a broom. Opossums seldom stay in one area for more than a few nights, so fear of them "taking over" an area should not be a concern. Occasionally a mother with babies might stay longer, but will leave after a brief period as well.
Bring pet food in at night and secure your garbage so that possums can’t rummage through it. Keep your pets in at night and also take care to prevent possums from wandering in through pet doors. Consider installing an electric, remote control, or smart dog door to keep wild animals out. These can be programmed to only open at certain times or when sensing a microchip in your pet’s collar. These electronic doors range in price from $100 to $400 or more.
Make sure possums can’t find a way in through the exterior of your home. Some common areas that are attractive for dens are spaces under porches, sheds, and houses, and in attics and chimneys. To keep possums out, install a chimney cap, and close any potential entries with wire mesh, boards, or metal flashing. Also, trim trees away from the roof so that possums can’t climb up and find an entry point. If you live in an area with possums, they will likely wander through your property. Possums can provide many benefits. You just don’t want them to make a den in your home.
Rules and regulations for possum removal and possum extermination vary from state to state. In some states, specific hunting and trapping seasons exist where possums can be killed. Some people even enjoy eating possum. Some localities allow a possum to be killed or released, although some places only allow you to release a possum where it was captured. This regulation means that if a possum is living in your attic, you can remove it, seal the hole, and then let it go again outside. Other places allow you to relocate the animal a few miles away. Poisons are considered inhumane. The only options for extermination are trapping and then killing humanely or hunting. Costs for removal and extermination will be between $150 and $250 for outdoor locations and between $250 and $500 for indoor locations.
Opossum is a synonym for possum. The terms have come to be used interchangeably. Possum is simply a shortened version. However, the official name of the animal living in North America is opossum, which comes from the word aposoum, which means “white dog” or “white beast” in Algonquian. An animal that lives in Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, and other locations in the Pacific carries the official name possum. These animals are very similar in their diet and behavior but look different. The possum has shorter fur of a more uniform brown color and a shorter snout.
A skunk looks different from a possum. A skunk has a mostly shiny black coat, white stripes down its back and head, and a bushy black and white tail. Skunks also have two musk glands that are located at the base of the tail. These glands emit the pungent smell that skunks are known for as a defense mechanism. Like possums, skunks make their homes in abandoned burrows, inside abandoned buildings, in hollow logs, and under large rocks. Skunks have a similar diet to possums. Both animals are omnivores and eat both plants and meat.
A groundhog is a warm brown color with smaller ears than a possum, a thicker body, and a less pronounced snout. Groundhogs are herbivores that eat grass, tree bark, fruit, and plants. They grow to weigh about 13 pounds. They measure 18 to 24 inches in length for their head and body with another 7 to 10 inches for their tail. The tail has more fur on it than a possum’s tail does. A groundhog rarely lives inside a structure. Unlike possums, groundhogs hibernate in the winter and do not venture far from their dens. Possums travel up to two miles away from their den, searching for food. Groundhogs only travel about 150 feet.
Most possum removal jobs cost between $150 and $500 depending on the location, the number of possums, and the extent of clean-up and sealing up entry points.
Wildlife management companies are best equipped to deal with possums. Some pest control companies have a wildlife department.
Removing food sources and access to common nesting places are the best ways to keep possums away.
A possum is not necessarily a pest unless it is causing harm or damage to people, pets, or property. Possums are wild animals who have adapted to life in urban environments. They are commonly seen in neighborhoods.
Letting a possum or any wild animal live under your house is never a good idea. They cause damage to insulation. Their droppings and urine contaminate the soil.
Possums generally do not attack humans or pets unless they feel threatened.