These tame-looking marsupials might look cute and harmless but they are known to invade houses and yards. They tear up trash, overturn garbage cans and can also eat food that you have left for cats or other animals.
Possums are successful opportunists. They forage food from trash bins and even may chow down cat food from your pet’s bowl. A series of photographs went popular as it shows the plight of a poor kitty, who went out for a dinner only to find an uninvited possum, digging in its meal. It makes for an amusing story but as a pet parent, this could become a problem.
Keeping possums away from cat food
Possums are highly adaptable and are great survivors. Once they have invaded a neighborhood, they are probably there to stay so long as food, water and shelter are available. Confrontations with pets and possums are common and the pets are often injured.
So how to keeps possums away from cat food? The best ways to keep possums away from cat food are bringing the cat food indoors, only leaving the food outside during the day and keeping the cat food out of the reach of the possums. Below are tips for both.
Bring your cat food indoors.
If you are able to arrange it, it’s much safer for your cat to eat indoors. Cat food left ourdoors will attract many scavenging and predatory wild animals. They might become regular visitors, awaiting the next free meal.
Keep the cat food outside only during the day
Possums are nocturnal creatures so if you can’t feed your cat indoors, you can make sure you always bring the cat food indoors in the early evening, and don’t put it back outside until daylight. Of course if it is in a place where someone can watch over it all the better.
Keep the cat’s food out of reach for possums.
You can also come up with a feeding platform that your cat can access but possums can’t. Cats are nimble and good climbers so an elevated platform may do the trick.
When possums already reside in yard, it’s best to try keep them under control.
Possums are not wary of traps and can be easily caught with a box or cage-type trap. Before buying a trap, check your state and local laws as some states ban the practice of trapping and releasing these pests.
Once you have a trap, set them along trails or known routes of travel. Try using whole raw chicken eggs or jam or peanut butter spread on a bit of bread as bait. Other baits can include overripe fruit such as bananas, grapes or melons.
Other Control Methods
There are chemical products marketed for repelling various wildlife species. The odor of mothballs, naphthalene crystals, or household ammonia has been used also as a home made remedy repellent.
Hire wildlife removal experts
Possums control might not be easy for you. It can often be dangerous, stinky and dirty. Hiring professionals will help you eliminate pests and deter them from settling into your place again in a safe and humane manner.
Additional facts about possums
1. Possums are marsupials.
They are mammals that carry and nurse their young in pouches. Like other marsupials, mother possums give birth to tiny, underdeveloped offspring (called joeys) that immediately crawl into a pouch where they live and nurse during their first months of life. When they’ve grown big and strong enough, they venture out and transition between their mother’s back and the warmth of the pouch until they mature into adults.
2. They are omnivores.
They feed on fruits, nuts, green plants, insects, snails, snakes, frogs, birds and their eggs and small mammals such as mice and rats. They eat both fresh meat and carrion and are often seen feeding on road kills, a habit that makes them vulnerable for becoming one themselves.
3. They can play dead.
The most famous characteristic of the possum is its tendency to pretend to be dead or injured in front of predators. Feigning death with intent to deceive is their natural reaction to threats.
4. They can spread diseases.
Although possums do not typically harbor rabies, they can still potentially carry leptospirosis, tuberculosis, relapsing fever, spotted fever, toxoplasmosis, coccidiosis, trichomonas and Chagas disease. They may also be infested with ticks, mites and lice. They are hosts for cat and dog fleas, especially in urban environments.
Prevention is still the best way to keep these unwanted animals away. Eliminating food sources, ensuring proper sanitation and securing every entryway are important. While these methods require some effort, it’s still better to deter rather than have more trouble eradicating them.