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Opossum Control and "Possum-Proofing"

Greater Birmingham, Alabama

A mother opossum and her babies in a trap after being removed from a house.

Opossums are interesting-looking creatures. A lot of people call them "funny-looking." Others consider that to be too kind a description. Truth be told, they look like an animal designed by a committee.

'Possums have long, rat-like, prehensile tails; round ears like a mouse; a snout like a dog, long jaws with a very full set of teeth (more, in fact, than any other North American mammal); hind feet with an opposable toe; and front paws whose prints look almost as if they were made by a tiny human. They also have very narrow heads and small brains for their size, and a lower body temperature than most mammals.

Opossums are also the only marsupial native to the United States. Like other marsupials, female opossums carry and nurse their young in a pouch called the marsupium. The young are extremely immature when they are born, and they would not be likely to survive outside the marsupium. They spend at least two months there after birth.

Opossum Behavior

A lot of people are afraid of opossums because they do look right threatening when they snarl at you. They don't usually attack humans, even in self-defense; but they're rather neurotic and unpredictable animals with a lot of teeth, so you're probably best off not tempting them.

That being said, opossums are more likely to "play possum," which actually is an involuntary state similar to a coma, when they feel threatened. In this state, the actually manage to convince larger prey animals that the opossum is dead, partially by emitting a foul-smelling odor. This apparently is a turn-off to animals who like feeding on live food.

Opossums are nocturnal animals whose nightly routine consists of foraging for food. They'll eat pretty much anything, including pet food, scraps and leftovers in garbage cans, barbecue drippings, insects, slugs, amphibians, earthworms, the occasional snake or bird, plants, seeds, nuts, and fruits. They're primarily carrion eaters, however, who prowl the roads for road kill -- often becoming road kill themselves in the process.

In nature, opossums rarely live more than two years. They age very quickly, and even in captivity where they are protected from predators, they rarely live to more than three or four years of age.

Opossums as Nuisance Wildlife

Like many nuisance animals, opossums are basically harmless and only become an annoyance when they get into homes, garages, or other buildings. Most often, when they enter buildings, they're following the scent of food (very often pet food), so not feeding your pets or storing pet food in places like garages or sheds is one way to reduce 'possum problems.

Possum being held by the tail by an animal control technician in Birmingham

Once they do get inside, they make a mess. They're very messy eaters and very messy animals in general. They're also easily started, very unpredictable, and very ungrateful, not hesitating to bite the hand that feeds them when approached by well-meaning humans. They also annoy pet dogs and cats, and sometimes get into confrontations with them.

Opossums are also very filthy animals with extremely poor hygiene habits. Although transmission of diseases from opossums to human is rare, that's mainly because contact between opossums and humans is rare. Opossums can also be carriers of some diseases that don't affect them seriously (possibly because of their low body temperatures), but which can make humans and other species of animals sick.

'Possums can also make themselves unwelcome when they help themselves to garden crops. They're especially fond of fruits and squash, but will eat almost anything. They also will tear up your garbage looking for food, but this can be prevented by using animal-resistant garbage cans.

Opossum Control

'Possum control consists of habitat modification (mainly removing the things that are attracting the opossums to your home, especially food), trapping and removal, and exclusion ("'possum-proofing").

When opossums decide to move in to a human home, they usually choose the crawl space or that nice cozy spot under the porch or steps; but opossums are superb climbers, and can get into a home anywhere from top to bottom if they set their little minds to it. Opossum exclusion is therefore similar to raccoon exclusion in that the entire house needs to be looked at, and any potential entry points sealed.

Opossum Control Gallery

Here are a few pictures of opossums we've met in and around the Birmingham area. More are on the way!

  • An opossum in a trap after being removed from a crawl space of a house in Homewood, AL
    Opossum removed from a crawl in Homewood
  • An opossum in a cage trap after being removed from under a house in Oxford, Alabama
    Possum removed from under a house in Oxford
  • Young possum in a humane trap after being removed from a home in Hoover, Alabama
    Young possum trapped and removed in Hoover
  • Young possum in a cage, trapped in a garage in Moody, Alabama
    An opossum removed from a garage in Moody
  • A young opossum outdoors in a technicians gloved hand after being removed from under a dishwasher in a house
    Baby opossum was removed from under a dishwasher
  • A young, unafraid opossum being gently held in the gloved hands of an animal trapper
    Tim with a young opossum removed from a home
  • Close up of the face of an opossum in a cage trap after being removed from a house in Birmingham Alabama
    Possum removed from a house in Birmingham
  • An opoossum in Mountain Brook, Alabama walking and facing the camera
    Handsome opossum in Mountain Brook
  • Three young opossums in a cage after being trapped and removed from a home
    Three young opossums awaiting relocation
  • A baby opossum on the hood of a Rid a Critter service vehicle
    Baby opossum on the hood of Chris's truck
  • Animal trapper holding an opossum by the tail in Birmingham, Alabama
    Old-school opossum removal in Birmingham
  • Opossum trapper with baby opossum in a cage in Birmingham, Alabama
    Birmingham, Alabama opossum removal call
  • Three baby opossums on the ground
    Baby opossums found at a possum-removal job
  • An opossum in a trap awaiting humane relocation
    Opossum waiting to be humanely relocated
  • An opossum on a tree limb behind a house in Bessemer, Alabama
    A chubby opossum in Bessemer
  • Front view of a young opossum in a live trap after being removed from a home
    Young opossum removed from a home
  • An opossum in a trap after being removed from under a porch in Hoover, Alabama
    Possum removed from under a porch in Hoover
  • Someone stuffed a towel in an opening in a brick wall of a house to try to keep opossums out
    Do-it-yourself opossum-proofing fail

Rid-A-Critter provides complete possum removal services, as well as possum exclusion and general animal-proofing, in Birmingham and throughout our Alabama service area. For more information any of our quality services, please call us today.

 

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Mice chewed through the screen behind a foundation vent to get into a house in Trussville, Alabama. Mouse control experts from our Birmingham office are re-screening the vents to keep mice out of the house, and using traps to eliminate the existing mouse population.
by Webmaster
Sep 03, 2021 11:24:11 am.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
by Amber A.
Jul 23, 2021 06:29:58 pm.

Hope everyone stayed dry from the rain but if you got flooded with animals we can get them out!
by Amber A.
Jun 21, 2021 06:32:40 pm.

We can remove animals from the structure, as well as seal up your home, but if those pesky critters left behind any excrement, we offer cleanup as well as insulation replacement! Call for a quote!
by Amber A.
Jun 18, 2021 06:34:50 pm.

Happy Monday! Hope everyone has a wonderful and productive week! And if animals are keeping you up at night, give us a call!
by Amber A.
Jun 14, 2021 05:59:26 pm.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!
by Amber A.
Jun 12, 2021 07:23:35 pm.

It’s a competition between bats and raccoons getting up in the attics the last few days! If it’s in your attic, we can get it!
by Amber A.
Jun 11, 2021 06:04:09 pm.

The rain seems to be driving the animals in! We can get them out!
by Amber A.
Jun 10, 2021 06:04:42 pm.

The rain doesn’t scare the animals away! If you’ve noticed one taking shelter in your home, give us a call!
by Amber A.
Jun 07, 2021 07:24:17 pm.

Out and about in LaGrange Ga on snake calls. Give us a call for a free quote today.
by Jason Arruda
May 25, 2021 02:16:41 pm.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!
by Amber A.
May 21, 2021 06:06:17 pm.

Happy Friday!! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
by Amber A.
May 14, 2021 06:04:38 pm.

I think there was more animal activity outside then inside today! If they get in, we can get them out!
by Amber A.
May 13, 2021 06:10:20 pm.

Cooler weather coming in means the animals coming in! We can help! :)
by Amber A.
May 11, 2021 06:58:32 pm.

Here's What Happens When a Trainee Drops His Cell Phone Inside a Wall
by Webmaster
May 04, 2021 10:23:55 am.

What a Monday! Hope everyone stays safe out there!
by Amber A.
May 03, 2021 06:03:57 pm.

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!
by Amber A.
Apr 30, 2021 06:13:44 pm.

Hope everyone stays safe from the storms. Listen out for animals, they might be taking shelter too!
by Amber A.
Mar 17, 2021 05:45:47 pm.

Today is a wonderful day to call Ridacritter for all of your nuisance animal exclusion needs! We cover rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, and more!
by Jake A.
Mar 12, 2021 02:54:13 pm.

Warm weather brought out calls for several animals today! From Snakes, to squirrels, mice and bees!!
by Amber A.
Mar 10, 2021 07:41:48 pm.

Rats, mice and squirrels today. Wildlife repairs with trapping. Animal exclusion needed call us for a free quote.
by Jason Arruda
Feb 25, 2021 10:58:52 am.

Rainy all over Georgia it seems like. Hard for us to keep dry when we’re determined to evict the animals and seal to keep them out. In Albany Ga now for a couple quotes and then to Zebulon Ga for another quote for squirrels removal. Be safe
by Jason Arruda
Feb 18, 2021 11:10:35 am.

Headed over to Albany Georgia for a quote to exclude squirrels.
by Jason Arruda
Feb 02, 2021 11:44:36 am.

Give Ridacritter a call for any of your nuisance animal needs. From Bats, to Bees, Squirrels, to Rats, Ridacritter solves all of your problems. Call for an exclusion today!
by Jake A.
Jan 30, 2021 10:25:50 am.

Very busy right now. Lots of squirrels and rats in the Birmingham and surrounding areas. Looks like bats are flying already as I’ve got several bat jobs to look at this week. Had a customer yesterday with squirrels and bats.
by Chris Scott
Jan 26, 2021 08:07:01 am.

In Auburn Alabama quoting exclusions for gray squirrels today.
by Jason Arruda
Jan 07, 2021 11:01:30 am.

Lots of squirrel and rat calls today. From Birmingham to Anniston.
by Chris Scott
Jan 07, 2021 09:46:52 am.

In Alpharetta, Ga this morning providing a clearance letter to a customer so their buyers can rest assured they’re purchasing a Critter Free home. Did I mention our Warranty is 100% transferable??
by Tim McDavid
Jan 05, 2021 09:29:57 am.

Lots of squirrel calls today. It appears gray and flying squirrels are attempting to take over every attic in the Birmingham and surrounding areas.
by Chris Scott
Jan 04, 2021 05:58:27 pm.

New Blog Post: Happy New Year!
by Webmaster
Dec 31, 2020 10:41:11 am.

New Blog Post: Merry Christmas!
by Webmaster
Dec 24, 2020 11:23:46 am.

Finishing up on a exclusion in Cordele Ga and headed to Valdosta Ga for some trap checking. Good times. Happy Monday.
by Jason Arruda
Dec 07, 2020 10:46:24 am.

The Birmingham, Alabama office of Rid-A-Critter provides opossum trapping and control in Birmingham, Alabama and the the entire Metro Birmingham area including Anniston, Bessemer, Brighton, Chelsea, Fairfield, Heflin, Homewood, Hoover, Hueytown, Irondale, Jasper, Leeds, Midfield, Moody, Mountain Brook, Oxford, Pell City, Trussville, Valdosta, Vestavia, Warrior, and their surrounding areas. We are fully licensed and insured.

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