'Possum in My Yard... What Do I Do?

Don’t judge a book by its cover. I once found a baby possum and the crows were eyeing it so of course I took pity. That little shit just hissed and spit at me and tried to intimidate me with all his teeth the whole time I had him (about six hours). He was only the size of a hamster and at first I thought he was cute, but after his horrid angry personality emerged I changed my mind. He also had this excrement that REEKED. Not that excrement is supposed to smell like roses, but this was something out of this world. The stench emanating from that little shoe box I put him in was enough to make you pass out.

Funniest thing was I didn’t know what to do with him so I called Animal Control thinking they’d tell me to get lost. But no, they rushed right over to pick him up and take him to a “possum sancturary”. Only in California.

We had a couple of possums move in under our house last year. Didn’t do any damage, but they drove our dog crazy, so I rented a live trap from the local Hertz rent-all place and baited it with dog food. Cost $15.00 for a weeks rental, IIRC. Relocated the little critters out to the country. No muss, no fuss.
Be sure to get one with a carry handle, however. You don’t want your fingers sticking through the bars of the cage. And put plenty of newpapers down to set the trap on.

'possums aren’t a great threat of rabies on accounta their low body temperature kills off the virus.

I say let your doggies enjoy their new chew toy.

Not ME, Sir! I received the vaccine after being bitten by a raccoon over a cat food altercation (something to bear in mind for the OP). Being bitten rescuing a lost dog (No Good Deen Goes Unpunished) I was tested and shown to be immune. My body is still producing anti bodies for rabies.
I can go into the woods and wrestle those 'coons and Missouri 'possums bare handed! Mu ha ha ha…


One of Mrs. Plant’s GSDs killed a young 'possum, apparently without difficulty. I don’t think it would be a threat to a dog.

They CAN, however as noted they are highly resistant to it. They might be the least likely North American predator to transmit it to you. Based on several years of data in Texas, the chance of carrying rabies:

Skunk - 1 in 3

Bat - 1 in 10

Feral Dog - 1 in 100

Cat - 1 in 200

Opossum - 1 in 854

The numbers are going to vary by region ( rabies is a lot less common in some locales ), but regardless opossums seem to be pretty low risk, relatively speaking.

Not that I recommend hugging them or anything :).

Trust me, the South Carolina possums are assholes. I don’t know if they got genteel types down in the Lowcountry, but here in the businesslike Midlands they’d as soon shit in your mint julep as look at you. And probably bite your nice mint julep cups.

Now I want a mint julep. My boyfriend makes lovely ones.


You just need a pet opossum to get over your aversion. Just imagine it - its prehensile, rat-like tail curling affectionately around your throat, while it nuzzles you with its angular, toothy mouth and stares lovingly at you with its empty, beedy black eyes. You can call him “Cottonball, Devourer of Souls.” :stuck_out_tongue:

I used to shoot them.
Then you all convinced mer they were good for the environment.
I trap and deport them.

Now I think I will go back to shooting them.

The never ending change of change.

The hunting dogs are getting turned loose again. I’m getting real tired of them tearing things up around the place. Fish & Game could do something about it but … I’m starting to get cranky and that does not bode well for the poor dogs…

That website goes into great detail as to why, as adorable, sweet, and swoogy woogums as they are, possums do not make good pets and if you JUST HAVE TO HAVE ONE, you should try to foster one from a possum rehabilitation place that can’t go back into the wild.

You know, just for when you decide to raise vermin.

Thinking back on it now, my possum problem started around the same time I had a snail problem. Those fuckers exploded all over and were chewing up my garden. It was gross on cool damp foggy days when the snails were all over and you couldn’t walk out the door without that disgusting crunch, crunch, crunch of smooshed snails underfoot. A family of possums moved in and cleared out every darn one of those snails, which was very helpful. Unfortunately, they also got wiff of the cat food inside the house and really wanted some of that.

But they were really beneficial at clearing out snails & slugs. Once they snuck in the house and left their scent, my cat refused to walk on the floor and started levitating around the house, which was amusing.

Good call, cat! ::holds nose::

Oddly, in contrast to others’ experience here, I never smelled a thing. My sense of smell isn’t good though, but my roommate didn’t smell anything either. I’ve had possums crap on me when I picked them up (they love to do that), but still didn’t smell anything in particular. Cat sure smelled 'em though.

Oh, one just walked through my yard one night (I was pulling into the driveway and saw it lumber over the fence - not a particularly graceful animal, the possum) and my dog followed that path from fence to fence for HOURS. sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff, ad nauseum. I couldn’t get him to come in - I had to fashion a primitive lasso out of something or other and sneak close enough to noose him.

I propose that you were interacting with a disabled ‘possum, possibly one born without normally functioning anal glands. Poor lil’ differently-scented 'possum. Your cat was clearly sparing its feelings.

You wouldn’t have happened to YouTube that, would you? I’d pay good money to see that…

Buy a slingshot, & snipe at him.

He’ll get the message quick, & you needn’t use ammo big enough to do serious injury

Although they’re the America’s only relative to Koala Bears, they are, seriously, nasty creatures.

That doesn’t mean I believe in their indiscriminate killing, they’re just not nice.

Back in the day, we would just shoot them with a shotgun. Now, I live in an urban area, so we have to depend on animal control.

My in-laws had a dachshund who went after a possum and killed it, but it almost killed him. It took almost a year for him to recover from the wounds and soft tissue damage.

Possums are mean, and snarly, FULL of large pointy stabby, gnashy teeth.

That said, when we had a large one snorfuling about the yard I didn’t feel comfortable with killing it either.

This made my girlfriend mad however, she wanted to try out her new crossbow.

We first tried chasing it off with a hockey stick and a snow shovel. The farthest we got was the fence, whereupon it climbed up said fence, flipped us off, and sat there for two full days snarling whenever anyone would get near.

We poked it off the fence to the other side with the hockey stick.

It climbed back on.

Did you know possums can spit?

Me either.

Apparently they can, and when my gf got a face full of possum phlegm while it was mid-hiss she was really REALLY pushing for the Shis-ka-bob with a crossbow option.

Our compromise was to take the aforementioned hockey stick and knock it into a large plastic trashcan with a lid which we bungeed shut for a 20 mile drive to a wooded area.

This was actually a mistake.

Apparently, PLASTIC trashcans are not up to possum containment. I guess we should have figured that when we took note of his big scary teeth.

We had loaded the Can-O-Possum into the back of our SUV braced so it couldn’t fall over. The first 10 minutes of the ride was noisy as we heard the possum scrabbling around in the plastic can. Then we heard nothing and we had though he settled down for the ride. A few minutes go by and my GF glanced in the rearview to change lanes. She went white and breathed in the highest voice I have ever heard her muster, “Holy F**k!, the possums out!”.

I whipped around in my chair just in time to see the possum delicately balanced like a tight rope walker on the bench seat in the rear.

I’ve been in some pretty hairy situations before. I’ve been surrounded by a forest fire, slipped and fell off a cliff, been robbed at gun point, worked at Wal-Mart during Christmas, but nothing, NOTHING prepared me for the butt-puckering wave of fear that broke over me when that possum opened his mouth to show me his collection of Ginzu knives while he gave a low menacing growl about three feet from my face.

I had the door open and was out standing on the other side of the ditch at the side of the road before my GF got the truck in park. I don’t think I actually touched the ground either. I am pretty sure that I actually took flight in my journey from seat to freak out zone 20 feet away.

My GF joined me and we pondered what to do. We had left both doors open, so we kind of thought that the beast would make his escape in a relatively timely fashon.

Ten minutes later after about the three-hundreth time my gf said “You shoulda let me shoot it” a state trooper pulls up behind our truck. When he came over to ask why there were two women glaring at an SUV parked on the side of the road, running, with it’s lights on and the doors hanging open his first words upon hearing our exclamation were, “Ohhhh… that’s bad.”, and he actually put his hand on the butt of his gun and backed a step away.

He went to go look for something to either corral or drive out the beasty. After several minutes of searching in the trunk of his squad he finally comes striding back triumphantly with, of all things, an ice auger.

We were luckily saved from what he planned to do with said ice auger with the sudden appearance of yon snarly opossum leaning out the passenger side door. He ungracefully scrabbled out and with a final hiss made his escape into the underbrush.

The trooper bid us a chuckled adieu while we went to survey the damages. In a way I guess we were lucky. There was only a few small rips in the fabric of the rear seat, and a sizable chew hole in the trash can. However, we were most astonished at the sheer mass of poop an animal that size was able to turn out. I don’t think I could have gotten more poop outta him if I picked him up and wrung him like a dishcloth.
The poop was spread far and wee. Our trusty SUV ahd become a poop wagon. Little wet sloppy puddles of possum dung festooned the floor, the seats, the BACK of the seats, even the DASH. The was actually a wet drippy runnel down the shift knob. That little bugger really TRIED to make a statement.

I was rather unprepared for the sheer atrocity of the smell. I know may people can describe scents likening them kin to the fresh effervesence of rotting corpses or mouldering piles of used sanitary pads ripening in the sun, but this was quite firmly unadulterated grade -A POOP. With Capital letters. Hell, you could practically see visible smell rays shooting out into the night. I suppose though if Pure Evil is gonna take a crap, it is going to make sure it counts.

It was wet, it was green, and it had the viscosity of hot caramel sauce. Have you ever tried to wipe up reeking possum caramel sauce with a handful of take out napkins and three dirty gym socks?

Let me tell you, it is quite the experience.

Next time?

Metal Trash Can. Wrapped with chains, and kevlar… and barbed wire…

Hell, next time, she can bring the crossbow as backup.

Possums are bastards. They opened up my cat. I would smoke it at the first opportunity.