You’ve heard strange scratching noises at night, and are convinced there is an unwanted pest living somewhere inside your home. If you’ve already ruled out all the usual suspects, including bats and raccoons, you might have a bigger problem on your hands: opossums.
Opossums are found throughout the United States, and if there is a lack of adequate food and shelter, they will make themselves at home in your basement or attic. If you suspect you have an opossum infestation, here are a few frequently asked questions you might have.
What Are the Signs of an Opossum Infestation?
Before you look for signs of an infestation, you should know how to identify an opossum. An adult opossum is typically the size of an average house cat and has a gray body and white face. The tail is long and thin, much like a rat, and the animal will have a long face and darker ears.
You should also be aware of the telltale signs of an opossum infestation. Here are a few:
  • Damage to your siding and roof. Opossums will scratch and climb your siding and roof to gain access to your home. This will result in noticeable damage to both.
  • Loud noises. Opossums are extremely loud, and you will notice them shrieking and scratching, especially at night.
  • Strange odors. Once an opossum enters your home and begins eating your food, it will defecate frequently. The smell of the opossum’s excrement and urine will be strong and offensive.
Another indication there are opossums in your house is missing food, especially if you have pets. A hungry opossum will be bold enough to raid your pantry and snack on your dog’s food.
Are Opossum Infestations Dangerous?
In addition to damaging your property, opossums pose a serious danger to your family and pets. Opossums carry a variety of potentially life-threatening diseases, including toxoplasmosis, tuberculosis, leptospirosis and tularemia.
Opossums are also known carriers of fleas, ticks and lice. An opossum infestation could result in a dangerous lice, tick or flea issue for your pet. These tiny creatures could cost a lot of money to eliminate from your pet and can cause health problems or your pet to be uncomfortable if you do not catch the problem quickly.
How Can I Get Rid of Opossums?
If you suspect there is an opossum in your home, one option is to trap the creature. Use a live trap that is baited with pet food. If you are able to catch the opossum, do not touch it or the trap. Before you remove the opossum from your home, you need to learn about the laws in your area regarding relocating animals.
Depending on where you live, it might be illegal for you to release the opossum in your area. If this is the case, contact a professional to legally and safely remove the opossum from your home and take it to a safe area.
Unfortunately, capturing an opossum yourself is difficult and dangerous. When an opossum feels threatened, it will begin to hiss, scratch and bite. Once again, opossums carry a number of life-threatening illnesses, and if you are bitten, you could become seriously ill.
The best option available is to allow a professional to capture, take away and release the opossum. An exterminator will have the tools and knowledge necessary to effectively set and bait the traps, safely capture the opossum and transport it away from your home.
If you suspect you have an opossum infestation and need help to remove these wild animals, or if you have any further questions about opossums, contact our professionals at Triangle Wildlife Removal & Pest Control, Inc.