Possums can be quite the surprise guests, especially when they decide to take up residence in your garage. While these critters are generally harmless and can even be beneficial by eating pests such as ticks, roaches, and rats, they can also make a mess and cause property damage. So, what do you do if you find a possum in your garage? Don’t panic! Here’s a comprehensive guide on how you can safely remove a possum from your garage without harming them or yourself.
Understanding the Possum Problem in Your Garage
Possums are marsupials that are native to North America. They are highly adaptable creatures that can live in various environments, including urban areas. However, when they invade human spaces like garages, they can create problems. For instance, they can chew through wires, insulation, and other materials, leading to property damage. They might also leave behind droppings, which can be a health hazard. Furthermore, possums may carry diseases such as leptospirosis, tuberculosis, and tularemia that can affect humans and pets. Hence, it is essential to remove possums from your garage but in a manner that ensures their safety and yours.
Assessing the Situation
Identifying the Possum
Before you begin the removal process, it’s vital to confirm that the animal in question is indeed a possum. Possums are usually about the size of a domestic cat and have a pointed face with round, dark eyes. They have a grayish-white body, a hairless tail, and ears that appear to be devoid of fur. If you spot an animal with these characteristics in your garage, it’s likely a possum.
Determining if the Possum is a Threat
Possums are typically non-aggressive creatures and will often “play possum,” or pretend to be dead, when threatened. However, like any wild animal, they can become defensive if cornered or provoked. So, observe the possum from a safe distance. If it appears sick or injured, or if it behaves aggressively, it’s best to call a professional wildlife removal service. A healthy possum, on the other hand, can usually be encouraged to leave your garage without much trouble.
Creating an Exit Strategy
Clearing the Path for the Possum
Your first step in creating an exit strategy is to ensure that the possum has a clear path to leave. This means moving any objects that could potentially block its exit. Also, open the garage door and any other doors or windows leading outside to give the possum multiple escape routes.
Blocking Other Entry Points
While ensuring an exit for the possum, also take time to identify and block potential entry points. These could include holes in the walls, gaps under doors, or broken windows. Cover these areas with sturdy materials like wire mesh or wood to prevent the possum from reentering your garage.
Providing an Alternative Shelter
Possums are often attracted to garages because they provide shelter from predators and harsh weather conditions. Hence, providing an alternative shelter can help encourage the possum to leave your garage. You can purchase a pre-made possum box or build one yourself using untreated wood. Place the box in a quiet and safe area, away from your garage.
Encouraging the Possum to Leave
Making Noise and Disturbances
Possums are nocturnal animals and prefer quiet environments. Hence, making noise can help encourage them to leave. You could play a radio near the garage or clatter pots and pans together. However, ensure that the noise is not loud enough to harm or overly stress the possum.
Using Light and Motion Detectors
Another way to induce the possum to leave is by using light. As nocturnal creatures, possums are averse to bright light. Installing motion-activated lights in your garage can deter them from staying. Additionally, you can use motion detectors. When these devices detect movement, they emit a burst of water, which can startle the possum and motivate it to leave.
There are various commercial repellents available that can deter possums. These usually contain substances like ammonium salts or predator urine, which possums find unpleasant. Spray these around your garage to discourage the possum from staying. However, be aware that some repellents may not be effective, and their use should complement, not replace, other removal methods.
Removing the Possum
Calling Professional Help
If the possum refuses to leave despite your efforts or if it appears sick or injured, it’s best to call professional wildlife removal services. These experts have the necessary skills and equipment to safely remove the possum without causing harm to it or themselves. They can also advise on preventive measures to stop future invasions.
Using Traps (if allowed in your area)
Trapping should be a last resort and only done if it is legal in your area. Some regions have strict regulations about trapping wildlife, so make sure to check local laws before proceeding. If you decide to use a trap, choose a humane one that will not harm the possum. Once the possum is trapped, release it in a suitable habitat far from your home. Remember, the goal is not to harm the animal but to relocate it to a place where it can’t cause problems for you.
Preventing Future Possum Invasions
Securing Your Garage
Prevention is always better than cure. To prevent future possum invasions, secure your garage by sealing all possible entry points. Regularly inspect the walls, doors, and windows for gaps or holes and repair them promptly. Also, consider installing door sweeps or weather stripping to block gaps under doors.
Possums are attracted to food and shelter. So, keep your garage clean and free from food scraps, pet food, and garbage. Store these items in secure containers that possums can’t access. Similarly, remove potential nesting materials like cardboard boxes, old furniture, or piles of wood.
Regularly Inspecting and Maintaining Your Property
Regular inspections and maintenance can help detect signs of a possum invasion early. Look for signs like droppings, chewed materials, ordamage to wires or insulation. If you notice any of these signs, take immediate action to remove the possum and secure your garage. Additionally, keeping your property well-maintained, such as trimming trees and shrubs near your garage, can discourage possums from venturing too close to your home.
Final Thoughts on Safely Removing Possums from Your Garage
Removing a possum from your garage can be a challenging task, but it’s important to prioritize the safety and well-being of both the animal and yourself. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can safely and humanely remove possums from your garage and prevent future invasions. Remember, possums play an important role in the ecosystem, so it’s best to avoid harming them whenever possible. If you’re unsure about how to handle the situation, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.