Opossums are marsupials, meaning that their young are born as embryos and travel to the mother's pouch where they continue to develop. When the young are four to five inches in body length they leave the pouch and ride on the mother's back. When they are seven to eight inches they leave the mother and are able to survive on their own.
Opossums are nocturnal. Usually sleeping during the day in any place that is dark and quiet. They are omnivorous and eat most anything. Their diet can include mice, snails, insects, and fruit.
They have adapted well to city life and may be found in your backyard. Opossums live a solitary life and are not territorial. They are not a threat to people or pets unless cornered and feel threatened, even then they usually resort to "playing 'possum" or playing dead. In fact they are very beneficial to people because they eat smaller mammals such as mice and garden damaging insects.
Preventing a problem
Keep pet food inside at night.
Keep fallen fruit picked up.
Close garage and storage shed doors at night.
Limit housing possibilities by closing off entrances to the foundation of your house or deck.
Solving a problem
What do I do with an opossum under the house or deck?
During the day place ammonia-soaked rags or sprinkle human hair in the area they are visiting. The smell will cause them to leave on their own come nightfall.
How can I get an opossum out of my garbage can?
Simply tip the can over during the day (keep the can in the shade) and the opossum will leave during the night. Secure the can after the animal vacates.
How can I protect my yard from opossums?
Axle grease or sheets of metal wrapped around the trunks of trees will prevent climbing. Netting can be purchased at a hardware store to protect fruit trees.