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Should I Let A Possum Live Under My House?

A cute possum in a backyard grass field.

As homeowners, we sometimes get critters under our houses, sheds, porches, or decks. At times, wildlife like possums tend to set up camps where they find food and safety. You might wake up one day to your trash scattered and little paw prints in the dirt surrounding the trash cans.

You may even find, to your surprise, the possums themselves stuck in the trash. So what happens when a possum takes residency under your home or other places in your yard? You might be wondering if they are safe to coexist with or if you need to take some steps to remove them.

Do possums play dead?

Wild possum plays dead using instictive defense mechanism for deterring predators.

When you find a possum under your house or shed, you may presume that it is unconscious or still. However, it’s far from that. The Wildlife Hotline states that the only thing a possum will ever do as a defense is to play dead.

This aids them as prey in the wild. When they play dead they are not unconscious and they have not fainted. They are alive, fully aware that they are playing dead as their defense.

Why do possums live under houses and sheds?

A possum perched on a backyard deck railing.

Possums live under your house because they have found a food source. This food source is from your scraps and garbage! Trash and other food scraps attract all possums and other critters as well.

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The trash smells sweet and lures the possums to your door. Every household has constant trash and food scraps. So, when a possum chooses to live under your house or shed, it’s because it is constantly being fed by your leftovers.

Are possums harmful to people?

Possum displaying a fierce snarl.

According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, possums do carry infectious diseases that can infect humans and even cats. However, they can be more of a nuisance than they are harmful. They may damage your garden, dig holes under your home, and even get into fights with your dogs.

If they become too much of a burden, it’s best to find a way to safely remove or rehome them.

How do I safely remove them?

Two baby possums climbing on a woman's arm.

If you are growing tired of having a possum go through your trash or need to remove the possum, it is best to do it safely without harming them. Possums are harmless wildlife that scavenges for food. Possums may find their way under more places in your home rather than just under the house. They could hide their babies right under the floors or other crevices.

It might be bothersome to have a family of possums under your home. Some people result in killing the possum themselves.  However, these methods will not solve your possum problem.

If you kill a possum and do not stop their food source, possums will only continue to find your home and stay there. There are more humane ways to remove possums. We have listed a few ways you can.

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1. Stop the food source and wait for them to leave.

The easiest solution is to wait for the possums to leave. You can move your trash to your garage or find a way to lock it so no critters can go through your trash. Once you stop the food source, you can wait for the possums to leave. Since they are natural scavengers, they will not stay where they do not have food. The possums will eventually leave if there is nothing there making them stay.

Soon after they do find a new home, it is best to board up where they were hiding. Once you board up the hiding place, no critters will be able to live under your home or shed again.

2. Coerce them to leave.

If waiting takes too long and you need to remove the possums quickly, another solution is to use smells and sounds that possums dislike. Hardware and garden stores usually sell certain sprays that critters dislike. This solution is quite safe as you’re only making them relocate sooner rather than waiting.

If you do this method, you still must stop the food source and board up where they were living. If not, your solution will be short-lived.

3. Trap and rehome them

Place traps where the possums hide with treats to coerce them. Once you trap the possum, have your local wildlife rescue rehome them. Again, be sure all possums are gone, board up the hiding place, and stop the food source.

4. Hire a professional

If none of your solutions are working, hiring a professional to rehome the animals will be your best solution. A professional will be able to safely capture the possum and place it in a new habitat. You will still need to stop the food sources and board up their hiding places.

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What precautions should I take before boarding up the possum hiding place?

Before you board up the possum hiding place under your house or shed, be sure there are no living animals under the house. According to the Wildlife Hotline, young possums may travel through a hiding place. They may be more difficult to spot.

If you do not remove all possums before boarding up the hiding place, they will starve and die under your home. Be sure to check every crevice to know that all possums have found a new home.