Male possum, Virginia Opossum, foraging for food in grass.

How To Keep Possums Away

Opossums are native to Australia and its surrounding islands, as well as North and South America. Despite their reputation as pests, opossums benefit the environment since they help keep insect populations under control.

Unfortunately, they can become a nuisance when they are set up a home in your property. Living alongside these creatures doesn’t need to be a problem if you follow simple tips on how to get rid of possums.

Key Pest Points:

Remove potential shelters such as brush piles and wooden structures that promote nesting opportunities for possums.

Eliminate food sources such as pet and bird food, outdoor compost piles, garbage cans, and fallen fruits to reduce access to grub.

Humane traps are an effective way to remove possums around your home.

Understanding the Habits of Possums

Possums are interesting creatures with many unique habits. Despite the possum’s similarities in appearance with rodents such as rats and mice, they belong to another mammal family altogether, marsupials.

They have opposable thumbs, which give them the unique ability to grip trees or branches tightly when running away from predators – making them skilled climbers.

When threatened by danger or obstacles, these nocturnal creatures usually feign death or ‘play dead.’ This can last several minutes until any threats pass. These animals also hiss, growl, and even show teeth like other mammals do as defense tactics.

But they mostly rely on their playing-dead technique instead of fighting. Mainly due to their lack of agility compared to many other species. So next time you run into one, don’t worry; there is nothing very dangerous about possums.

Possum Habitat

The habitats of possums are quite diverse; these fascinating animals can be found in urban parks just as easily as in remote forests. Many inhabit temperate rainforests or mountain bushland, while others opt for more sedentary lives near human cities, swamps, and marshes.

In Australia alone, there are over 30 different species of possum living in all manner of environments, including arid deserts to lush coastal regions. Their adaptability is one reason their population numbers remain healthy despite increasing habitat destruction from encroaching development activities like logging and farming.

As a result, we still get to see plenty of our furry friends scurrying around trees at night, so let’s keep preserving their natural homes.

Two Common Brushtail Possums Eating Peanuts at a Feeding Station, Australia.
Two Common Brushtail Possums Eating Peanuts at a feeding station.

Opossum Diet

The opossum has a diverse diet. This marsupial is an omnivore, meaning it enjoys eating plant-based foods and meats. In terms of plants, the opossum loves fruit, nuts, and berries.

When it comes to the meat, they’ll feast on small rodents like mice or birds’ eggs if available; insects are also part of the menu, such as crickets or beetles. They can also scavenge leftovers that humans might have discarded in urban settings. So, it’s worth keeping an eye on any food you leave out for your pet or wildlife.

Possums Size

While you may consider them all the same, the possum’s size can differ tremendously from species to species.

  • Brushtail possums: Measure 34-36 inches long, depending on where they live, with about 1/4th -1/3rd being their tail length.

These creatures have adapted to many different habitats and climates, making them enjoyable to observe in their natural environment.

Possums Mating Habits

Possums are nocturnal creatures known for their peculiar mating habits. Their mating season is from December through October. During this time, the male begins with vocalizations before touching his chosen partner.

Finally, he will mount onto her back and copulate until she’s ready to part ways. Afterward, both partners may search for new adventures but have made some memories.

A young possum in the backyard

How to Scare Possums Away From Your House

It is crucial to scare possums away from your house, as they can be carriers of diseases and parasites that can harm both humans and pets. Below are some humane deterrents that don’t involve harming the possums:

  • Keep Your Yard Clean: Keep your yard free of food and trash. Possums are attracted to messy places and will move in if a good food source is available.
  • Use Predator Urine: Predator urine triggers a fear response in animals like rabbits, possums, squirrels, or birds, who recognize it as an alarm that warns of potential danger nearby.
  • Set a Humane Trap: To set up these possum traps, find a bait that will attract the opossum into them, such as seeds or grains, and place it inside the trap. Then make sure all sides stay securely closed until capture has been made. This is a great way to safely remove possums from your property.
  • Remove Potential Shelters: Trim any trees, bushes, or thick grass around your home that could offer the possums shelter. This will make them less likely to stay in your yard for long periods.
  • Use Natural Repellents: They come in many forms, such as oils or herbs that can be used alone or combined with other natural ingredients. Certain plants give off odors that repel possums while encouraging other beneficial creatures into your garden.
  • Eliminate Food Sources: Take away any food sources like pet food, birdseed, and compost that may attract the possums. This way, they won’t have any reason to stay around your home.

These are some ways to humanely scare possums away from your house. But remember, the best way to keep them away is by ensuring your property is kept clean and free of food sources.


What smells do possums hate?

Possums do not like the smell of garlic, naphthalene, pepper, and ammonia.

What will make a possum go away?

Remove things possums like such as food, water, and possible dwellings. Restrict access to chimneys, vents, and any other gaps or openings.

What is the best possum deterrent?

Many products can help repel opossums, like garlic spray, English mustard, strong Tabasco sauce, Indonesian fish sauce, and White King® camphor naphthalene flakes are great for repelling possums.

What attracts possums to your house?

Possums are drawn to smelly, overstuffed trash cans, any outdoor-left containers, or exposed compost piles. They are scavengers, so any food source is attractive to them. Possums seek shelter in dark, safe places such as woodpiles, sheds, or crawl spaces. They love moist environments like under porches and decks that protect them from the elements.

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