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-   -   'Possum in My Yard... What Do I Do? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=500362)

PapSett 01-05-2009 07:09 AM

'Possum in My Yard... What Do I Do?
 
The last few weeks, my Setters have been acting positively nuts, trying to climb my privacy fence, and this morning it was worse than usual. I brought them inside, but left them out about a half hour later. That's when I saw it... a HUGE opossum sitting on top of my privacy fence. The thing is enormous, and hissed & snarled like crazy at us. I got the dogs in, but now I have a possum problem.

It cannot life in my yard with the dogs, it just can't. Will I have to live trap it? If it's been brave enough to be here with 2 85 lb dogs after it so far, I can't see it leaving. I don't have the money to call an exterminator.

HELP!!

seodoa 01-05-2009 07:13 AM

Well, if you live in an urban area, can't you just call your local animal control? Opossums are pretty nasty and can carry diseases, so any animal control agency will take the time to relocate it out of the city limits.

Karyn 01-05-2009 07:20 AM

I had some invade the attic of a house years ago. Not only were they dangerous around my pets but they were so flea ridden that by the time we got them all out of there and patched the hole they got in through and repaired the floor damage we had to move out for a few days to have the whole place fumigated. If I were you I'd call animal control right away. If they won't trap it themselves they should at least be able to provide you with a trap.

PapSett 01-05-2009 07:34 AM

I just called animal control and left a message... I have to leave for work before they open and don't get off till after they close. This sucks. I can't even leave my dogs out in their own yard now. The dogs are going crazy in the house, they are used to having a place to run and play and till this thing is gone, that won't be happening.

It's always something.

Uncommon Sense 01-05-2009 08:14 AM

Why do you think the animal will want to co-exist with two 85 lb dogs?
I've got two 15 pound American Eskimos and they cornered a possum behind the wood pile once. I got them away from the animal and it left never to be seen again.
I seriously doubt that if your dogs were a threat (which I'm sure they are) that this possum would want to remain in your yard much longer.

guizot 01-05-2009 08:22 AM

How do you like possum pie?

Zsofia 01-05-2009 08:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncommon Sense (Post 10651483)
Why do you think the animal will want to co-exist with two 85 lb dogs?
I've got two 15 pound American Eskimos and they cornered a possum behind the wood pile once. I got them away from the animal and it left never to be seen again.
I seriously doubt that if your dogs were a threat (which I'm sure they are) that this possum would want to remain in your yard much longer.

Ha! The only reason my dog doesn't have a possum to tree anymore is that I moved away from my parents' house. That bastard wasn't moving for love nor money. It was HUGE and mean and had a million teeth. It didn't mind being treed, thank God - I'm sure it could have killed the hell out of my dog. It just climbed up the fence and showed us every one of its teeth, maybe once every two weeks or so.

LilGypsyGirl 01-05-2009 08:54 AM

I'm not a "country" person by any stretch, but GypsyBoy is. So in the interest of my own education, I called him at work to ask him this exact question.

After wondering why I was asking him this, he replied, in his typical southern drawl-y it's-WAY-too-early-for-you-to-be-calling-with-random-questions tone:

"Possum + .22s = stew."

*blinkblinkblink*

He was kidding - as far as I know, he's never eaten possum stew (I hope). Anyways, possums (?) are OK with being up trees, but if they are stuck grounded, they'll eventually move. But you need to keep the dogs and other pets away. They'll keep in hiding if they feel threatened. But be careful - they're sometimes mean and have been known to attack housepets.

I don't know about you, but *I* feel very informed. :D

Zsofia 01-05-2009 09:11 AM

Sometimes mean? SOMETIMES? So, there are nice, sweet, tractable possums hanging around somewhere with their godawful nasty tails and their not-having-enough-fur-to-go-aroundness? Because that is the kind of possum I have never had the pleasure of meeting.

Anyway, Dad says if you really want to eat him you should catch him and feed him bread and milk for a few days to "clean him out". Dad has eaten possum.

schnuckiputzi 01-05-2009 09:47 AM

Possums are really greasy. Just shoot him and bury him. Not worth the cooking required.

Cornelius Tuggerson 01-05-2009 10:06 AM

Do not eat the possum! They are frequently infested with ringworms tapeworms and hookworms, plus they are very greasy. Here is what you do:
1) Trap it
2) Take a picture of it
3) Post a Found Cat ad on craigslist
.....
Profit!

carnivorousplant 01-05-2009 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schnuckiputzi (Post 10651761)
Possums are really greasy. Just shoot him and bury him. Not worth the cooking required.

My Grandmother had to cook many unusual things when she worked at a rice farm. "Greasy" is exactly how she described cooking a 'possum although she included "nasty" as well.

shiftless 01-05-2009 10:50 AM

I am sure some will disagree but here goes. DO NOT call animal control. Depending upon where you live, Animal Control's job is to control domestic animals, not the wild ones. They will punish you if you hurt the opossum and they will quarantine your dogs if they believe your animals have interacted with the opossum in some way, because of the threat of rabies. No interaction with animal control is ever good.

Just one story: My 13 year old son calls me at work one day; the dog is acting up and he sees what looks like a bat in the back yard, on the ground. I tell him to call AC. They tell him to CATCH THE BAT IN A BOX! I kid you not. Which he does by placing a laundry basket over the tiny bat laying on the ground. AC finally shows up but the bat is gone; it was tiny and must have slipped out one of the holes. So they forced us to quarantine our dog for 6 weeks, which means he couldn't leave the yard and we were not allowed to have people or animals out our house! The only up side is that we could ignore the latter part but if we had gotten caught walking him we would have been in trouble.

My advice would be to cover your trash cans and any other source of food and shelter. We have had the same thing with racoons and opossums and that solved the problem. The dogs will be enough to discourage critters if there is nothing drawing them there. There are services that will "take care of the problem" that can work with the local authorities.

GusNSpot 01-05-2009 10:54 AM

Possums are scavengers like buzzards and crows and stuff and such. They eat dead critters so they don't stink up the world. There are a lot of them so a few lost to death is not so much an impact on life as we know it. You will not make them extinct. Live trap with cat or dog food as bait and relocate or waste a .22 shell on it and dispose of properly. (throw it out in the woods for the buzzards) (if noise is a problem with neighbors{in the city} use a bow & arrow, a crossbow and bolt, a pitchfork, sword, garrote)

YMMV

SmartAleq 01-05-2009 11:41 AM

You have two big dogs and a live possum? Huh... My daughter called me up all frantic because her little 40 pound dog had just slaughtered a big old possum in her back yard and she wanted to know what to do--I'm such a big help, I asked her if she had a pitchfork. :p She ended up shovelling the nasty thing into a trash bag & dumping it in the bin--the poor dog was so upset, she had this look like "What, I show it to you and you dump it? Damn, I was gonna eat that! You suck..."

Possums I don't worry about, but the raccoons we get around here could probably put a big hurt on either of my dogs, I worry about them tangling. My malemute used to go bananas whaling on the fence trying to get the raccoons when they'd get up my cypress trees out back, she just hated them.

phall0106 01-05-2009 11:46 AM

This post is making me a bit queasy. Possum is greasy? Where's a barfy smilie when you need one?

MLS 01-05-2009 12:07 PM

How common is it for possums to carry rabies? I've heard that it's dangerous for any domestic animal, including humans, to approach raccoons because they are frequently rabid.

Harmonious Discord 01-05-2009 12:29 PM

I don't see a problem of dogs contacting opossums considering dogs are required to get rabies shots for encounters with wild animals.

There is a good chance the opossum will not show up again. Don't worry about it unless it continues to show up. They do a lot of roaming for food.

Vinyl Turnip 01-05-2009 12:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by phall0106 (Post 10652293)
This post is making me a bit queasy. Possum is greasy?

Particularly the guts, which tend also to be grimy and take the form of great green gobs.

Mr. Moto 01-05-2009 01:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vinyl Turnip (Post 10652566)
Particularly the guts, which tend also to be grimy and take the form of great green gobs.

You're thinking about gophers there. And don't get me started on the monkey meat.

longPath 01-05-2009 01:19 PM

Observed at the bottom of this thread just moments ago, courtesy of Google Ads:

"Humane animal trapping and repairs Raccoon, Squirrel, Skunk, Bat, etc. "

repairs....:dubious:

guess they don't do possum.

Alienhand 01-05-2009 01:50 PM

Didn't someone have a thread about an opossum in his basement?

I think he knocked it off a pipe into a bucket or something. I just remember the 'I stared it in the eye and decided I needed more research' part. It was pretty hilarious. Maybe he has some tips. :)

muldoonthief 01-05-2009 02:41 PM

That would be Hal Briston's Horror in the Basement. IIRC, he kept relocating it, and it kept coming back.

Zsofia 01-05-2009 03:00 PM

I learned from the Wikipedia entry that the opossum has more teeth than any other land mammal, and also that opossum sperm cooperate in pairs. And also when they do that "show your teeth and go SSSSSSSS!" thing, they're exuding something foul-smelling from their anal glands, in case you didn't get the message with the teeth and the hissing.

Opossum oil is high in essential fatty acids and "has been used as a chest rub", if you're into the "everything but the squeal" disposal method.

schnuckiputzi 01-05-2009 03:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Moto (Post 10652743)
You're thinking about gophers there. And don't get me started on the monkey meat.

Or the erdy, dirty, birdy feet.

Yes, I do know the whole song. Doesn't everyone?:p

jali 01-05-2009 03:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vinyl Turnip (Post 10652566)
Particularly the guts, which tend also to be grimy and take the form of great green gobs.


You insist on cracking me up and giving me an earworm at the same time.

My coworkers are in for a treat!

Cervaise 01-05-2009 03:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LilGypsyGirl (Post 10651581)
"Possum + .22s = stew."

It's generally not legal to discharge a firearm inside city limits.

So I recommend a spear gun.

Omegaman 01-05-2009 06:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by guizot (Post 10651500)
How do you like possum pie?

That's what I was thinking. Are those edible? Do they do anything good for the environement?

Let's hope so. Otherwise, If it can't roasted I'll bet it would make a fine stew.

Almost everything makes a fine stew.

emmaliminal 01-05-2009 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schnuckiputzi (Post 10653321)
Or the erdy, dirty, birdy feet.

I believe that should be "dirty, turdy birdie feet."

PapSett 01-05-2009 06:40 PM

So here's the latest on Mr. Possum (Could me Ms. Possum, I didn't get close enough to look).

I went out before work and he was still sitting on the fence; he had moved about a foot, from my privacy fence down onto my neighbor's chain link. And there he sat. I got up to about 4 feet away and took a good look at him... never seen one that close, and he hissed and snarled and made no attempt to back down. When I left, he was still motionless.

Once animal control opened, I called from work and told them the situation. They said I coudl RENT a live trap from them for $5 for 2 weeks plus $50 deposit. I was to set the trap, bait it, catch the possum, and THEN they would come remove it. WTF? My taxes pay their wages!

People at work told me they will kill said possum if they pick him up. Now, I know they are not endangered, but I don't want him DEAD, just... GONE. So now I am considering relocating him myself if I rent the damned trap.

Why can't things be simple>

And, yes, I have 2 85 lb. dogs, but they are big wussies, and probably thought he was just a big fluffy cat they could play with like they do my cats. Neither of them really have the killer instinct. I think the Papillon, at 8 lbs. would be more likely to try to do him in, but since the possum is roughly twice her size (plus she has very few teeth, while the possum seemed to have at least 342 of them, all 6" long and razor sharp) I just don't think she's up to the challenge.

So the possum drama continues.

LouisB 01-05-2009 07:24 PM

Just kill the freaking thing; easiest way is a 22. If you don't have a gun, baseball bats are not all that expensive and if you can get to within four feet of it, I'd bet you could get a little closer. Go for the head, hard and often. They are worthless beasts under the best of conditions so don't feel sorry for it and don't worry about them going extinct. They will be here long after we are gone.

guizot 01-05-2009 08:38 PM

What is this opossum eating? There must be some food around that attracts it. If you eliminate that food it will probably go away.

PapSett 01-05-2009 08:50 PM

Nope... no food at my place. I don't free feed my dogs, they eat everything given in one sitting. I don't feed wild birds or anything like that, and my garbage cans are secured. There is a business behind my house, and the possum has been seen visiting their dumpster by a neighbor. Evidently , the possum likes take out.

lee 01-05-2009 08:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by guizot (Post 10654687)
What is this opossum eating? There must be some food around that attracts it. If you eliminate that food it will probably go away.

Have you not heard the expression, "Grinning like a possum eating shit?" Having two dogs, I imagine there will be a morsel or two of possum food around most of the time.

We once drove a raccoon out of our car with a bowl containing a rag soaked in ammonia. I's bet possum do not like the smell any better. If you use ammonia to drive it away, remember that ammonia is a nasty, dangerous chemical so read the material data sheet and follow recommended precautions.

Daffyd 01-06-2009 12:03 AM

DAMN, so much possum hate... Possums are important scavengers... There is no reason to kill it. We had a possum in our yard for a couple of days, and it did not want to be near our dogs, and left for greener pastures... Get some more information instead of killing them.

Uncommon Sense 01-06-2009 08:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daffyd (Post 10655416)
DAMN, so much possum hate... Possums are important scavengers... There is no reason to kill it. We had a possum in our yard for a couple of days, and it did not want to be near our dogs, and left for greener pastures... Get some more information instead of killing them.

That link would have persuaded me if it weren't for the photos of the evil creatures.
Naaaaaaasty!

carnivorousplant 01-06-2009 08:21 AM

Seriously, like all of us, dog or doper, he's just trying to make a living. Leave him alone and all will be well.
:)

Contrapuntal 01-06-2009 09:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PapSett (Post 10654279)
So here's the latest on Mr. Possum (Could me Ms. Possum, I didn't get close enough to look).

I went out before work and he was still sitting on the fence; he had moved about a foot, from my privacy fence down onto my neighbor's chain link. And there he sat. I got up to about 4 feet away and took a good look at him... never seen one that close, and he hissed and snarled and made no attempt to back down. When I left, he was still motionless.

That possum is not being brave. He is in full fear mode, and too stupid to climb down the other side. Get a big stick or baseball bat and knock him off the fence.

I have a 15 lb. Jack Russell bitch who generally keeps my yard possum free, but occasionally one will climb the fence and sit there like a dumbass. They won't move for love nor money. You'll have to force him off somehow.

Zsofia 01-06-2009 09:53 AM

Well, I will not be joining the Opossum Society any time soon. (Seriously, they honestly think we could drive the things extinct? If we haven't done it with a century of automobiles it isn't going to happen. A possum could get run over by a parked car.)

On the other hand, I see no point in killing the thing - I don't care for them, they're nasty things, but it was here before you were and it does serve a useful purpose in the urban environment. I don't think you should take any animal's life without good reason, no matter how many nasty little babies are hanging off it.

carnivorousplant 01-06-2009 10:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zsofia (Post 10656474)
nasty little babies are hanging off it.

Hey, as ugly and toothful as the adults are, the babies are cute.


Ha! Mongo straight!

Anne Neville 01-06-2009 10:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PapSett (Post 10654279)
People at work told me they will kill said possum if they pick him up. Now, I know they are not endangered, but I don't want him DEAD, just... GONE. So now I am considering relocating him myself if I rent the damned trap.

Why can't things be simple

Hmmmm, not wanting him dead rather rules out nuking him from orbit.

The opossum site that Daffyd posted has a page on discouraging opossums from visiting your yard.

Is there something that you could put on top of the fence that would make it difficult or unpleasant for the opossum to walk there?

Cervaise 01-06-2009 01:12 PM

Like lava?

Tamerlane 01-06-2009 01:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daffyd (Post 10655416)
DAMN, so much possum hate... Possums are important scavengers...

Not just scavengers, but also beneficial predators. As your link points out in part they will also eat your slugs, snails, mice, moles, voles and rats. They don't harbor any significant zoonoses.

About their only objectionable activity is a tendency to get into gardens and eat your tomatoes and thump-thumping in your attic if they decide to den up there ( just don't give 'em access ). That and they apparently skeeve some people out :p.

But as urban wildlife goes, they're better neighbors than many.

carnivorousplant 01-06-2009 02:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anne Neville (Post 10656635)
Is there something that you could put on top of the fence that would make it difficult or unpleasant for the opossum to walk there?

Mama Plant used to keep the neighborhood cats off her cat by putting pepper on the hood and trunk. She bought the cheapest brand in large boxes. :)
They got it on their feet, and licked it off.

Anne Neville 01-06-2009 02:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cervaise (Post 10657407)
Like lava?

I suppose lava would work. I was thinking more in the direction of some chicken wire. Or something that smells objectionable to opossums. Or some of those cheap tin foil pinwheels- the motion and flashing reflections of those supposedly scare deer and rabbits, maybe it would scare opossums, too.

Quote:

Originally Posted by carnivorousplant
They got it on their feet, and licked it off.

Cats is weird.

Omegaman 01-06-2009 02:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carnivorousplant (Post 10657646)
Mama Plant used to keep the neighborhood cats off her cat by putting pepper on the hood and trunk. She bought the cheapest brand in large boxes. :)
They got it on their feet, and licked it off.

I use chili powder. It's much finer than ground pepper.

And by the way, did she sprinkle the pepper directly on the cat? Or just where it hung out?:D

I use a Co2 pellet pistol for those extra horney bastards. It doesn't break the skin but lets them know what the price is for their efforts.

levdrakon 01-06-2009 02:53 PM

I've had my share of possum problems. They're transient, so unless there's something attractive about your yard, they should move on. My Animal Control considers them vermin - ergo - not their job anymore than mice. Catching it/them and driving it out to the country is probably the best bet.

Call around to various animal orgs, one of them might loan you a trap free of charge, but renting one for $5 doesn't seem that unreasonable. Check the fees your local vermin removal companies will charge you.

Duke of Rat 01-06-2009 03:03 PM

There are lots of possums around here. The Rat Terrier cleaned out one whole family of them a few years ago before I could even find out where they were living, and there was a HUGE trophy possum road killed in the street in front of my house just last Saturday night.

I have gotten really soft about killing anything in the last few years. There was a time that I would have killed any possum on sight just because I didn't like their looks. I did set a live trap duing the batch the Rat Terrier killed, and caught a cat. Even though I still see possums in the neighborhood now and then, I haven't had to do battle with them in a while, but I bet the dog has some interactions with them that I don't know about.

As for the OP, maybe hit that thing with a water hose every time you see it. I bet that it won't take many good soakings for the possum to figure out that your fence = wetness.

Markxxx 01-06-2009 03:17 PM

Opposums eat virtually anything, this is why they hang around dogs if you leave food for them. Opposums love dog food, especially dry dog food. They are clever when they find a place they like, such as an attic or garage. They are about equal if not a little worse than raccoons.

Opposums like Racoons know all about pet dogs. They are smart enough to know what they can get away with. They may run from a dog, but if there is dog food or other food or garbage they can get into, they will simply bide their time till they learn the dog's schedule and adapt to it.

The opposum knows if it's on a fence the dog can't get at it, and will sit there biding it's time. A big dog can't be hurt by an opposum, unless it's rabid or it may give it fleas.

My neighbor had an opposum in her garage, what she did was turn the car on and close the door. After about an hour she went in and found a nearly dead opposum which she took care of with a hoe.

carnivorousplant 01-06-2009 03:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anne Neville (Post 10657750)
Cats is weird.

They get on Mama Plant's car.
The hell is this stuff on my foot? They lick it and quickly learn it comes from the car and leave the car alone if they smell pepper.


Re: Shiny Pinwheels. I dunno, having more teeth than brains, they may be hyp-no-tized and just sit there staring.


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