4 Smart Strategies to Get Rid of Possums & Keep Them Away

Got a possum problem? Try these clever ways to ward them off from your home and garden.

Published January 4, 2023
Common Opossum walking on new backyard fence

Whether they find their way into your garden, yard, home, or other buildings on your property, possums aren't always welcome. After all, they can make a mess in your yard foraging around for grubs and insects to eat - though, of course, they're getting rid of pests that could damage your lawn and garden in the process. They might also eat up bird seed that you've put out in the hopes of attracting wildlife that you actually want to your garden. If you live in an area that's prone to possums and don't want them around, there are several steps you can take to help make your property less appealing to these pesky critters.

Make Your Yard Less Attractive to Possums

Possums wander around at night looking for food. If you don't want them around, you should first make sure that it's not easy for them to find food in your yard.

  • Avoid leaving pet food outside overnight.
  • Hang a seed catcher under your bird feeder.
  • Pick up fruits and vegetables that fall off your plants.
  • Secure garbage cans to keep possums from being able to easily get inside.
  • Keep a cover on your compost bins or otherwise enclose them.
  • Keep your bushes trimmed and your yard free of debris.

Use Scent to Get Rid of Possums

Removing or securing potential food sources may not do the trick on its own. You may also find it helpful to put out scents that possums generally find to be unpleasant or scary, such as:

  • Alliums - Plant onions and garlic around the edges of your garden to help deter possums from getting in.
  • Bleach - Spray a solution of bleach (one part) and water (10 parts) around areas you want to keep possums away from.
  • Mothballs - Spread mothballs around to keep them away, or even to flush them out of areas they like to hide in.
  • Molasses - Mix one part molasses with four parts of water in a spray bottle. Shake to combine, then spray onto leaves and branches that possums climb to get in.
  • Predator urine - Possums tend to stay away from areas occupied by their predators, so you may want to purchase fox, coyote, or wolf urine to put out in your yard to scare them away.
Fast Fact

Although we colloquially call them possums, if these marsupials visit your yard in North America, they're actually opossums. Possums are smaller marsupials native to China, New Zealand, and Australia.

Devices to Help Scare Possums Away

You can also help deter possums by adding gadgets to your property that are designed to keep them - and other animals - away. Don't use these devices if you have pets, unless they're placed only in areas where pets cannot go.

  • Motion lights - Put up motion detector lights to startle possums when they start poking around where they're not wanted.
  • Sprinklers - Install motion-activated sprinklers and put them on a timer so they come on in the overnight hours when possums are most active.
  • Sound device - Get an ultrasonic animal repeller device designed to keep possums and other animals away from your yard.

Will a Fence Keep Possums Out of Your Yard?

A fence can be a good way to keep many kinds of unwanted visitors out of your yard or garden, but it won't keep possums away. Why? Because possums are adept climbers. Chain link, wood, brick - it doesn't matter what kind of fence you put up, a possum can climb it.

How to Keep Possums From Getting Inside

Having possums in your yard is bad enough on its own, but it's even worse if they get into your home or take up residence in or under structures in your home. In this case, they can do real damage such as damaging the foundation or chewing through wood or electrical wiring. Take these steps to keep them from getting inside.

  • Keep your garage door closed.
  • Keep screens in place when you open your windows.
  • Leave the screen door closed whenever you prop an exterior door open.
  • Close openings under your house or deck with lattice or boards.
  • Keep your roof in good repair, including sealing any holes or openings.

If a possum has taken up residence in or under a structure of your property, you may need to lure the animal out with pet food. Just don't leave the food out for an extended period, as you may end up attracting more possums to join the one(s) you're trying to get rid of.

Next Level Possum Removal

If you still have a possum problem after trying the suggestions above, you may need to resort to trapping (if it's legal in your area) or hiring a wildlife removal service to help with your possum problem. Before seeking to trap or otherwise physically remove possums from your area, be sure to check with your state's fish and wildlife agency to verify what's allowed.

4 Smart Strategies to Get Rid of Possums & Keep Them Away