How to Get Rid of Opossums in the Attic

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How to Get Rid of Opossums in the Attic

How to Get Rid of Opossums in the Attic

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Keith's Pro Tips

"The opossum does not have good sight or hearing, but they do have an incredible sense of smell. Because of this, you need to make sure food sources such as trash is kept in bins with a lid."

How to Get Rid of Opossums in the Attic

Possums are intimidating at any point in time, but it can be a nightmare for homeowners to enter their attic and find one inside. These pests are usually found digging through your trash, but they may find an entry point to your attic. An opossum will not only disturb your sleep at night and leave droppings in your attic, but they can also cause damage to the insulation in your attic. One method of pest control is using a live trap to capture and remove the animal. Live trapping is a safe and effective way to keep animals away from your home.

If you want to know how to get rid of possums in the attic, follow our DIY guide for product recommendations and instructions.


Before using a live trap, you need to make sure that the wild animal in your attic is a possum. This will ensure that you are using the correct bait and strategies.

Possum ID

Possums are generally 20 to 36 inches long. They have gray fur and a white face with a long, hairless tail. They normally weigh between 4 and 15 pounds and are intelligent animals. An opossum will "play dead" when they are threatened. The animal will look - and even smell - like they are dead. They will not move, their mouths will be open, and their anal glands will secrete an odor. This is a defense mechanism that should last between a few minutes and a few hours.

An opossum is a scavenger and mainly feeds on carcasses and plants, but they are adaptable and will also consume small animals, insects, and sweet foods. Take caution when approaching or handling this animal. They are great climbers and are able to swim.

Use the image and description above to confirm that you are dealing with an opossum on your property.


Once you have confirmed that your pest animal is an opossum, it is helpful to recognize the areas in the attic where it is most active. You will want to place your traps in the attic with these locations in mind.

Where to Inspect

Possums are most likely in your attic looking for shelter. If you have any clutter or storage bins in your attic, they are most likely near these particular spots. Search the corners and crevices of the attic as well. You will want to inspect any insulation for signs of activity.

What to Look For

Because possums are mostly nocturnal animals, damage will mainly be done at night. One of the most obvious signs of a possum infestation is their droppings. These droppings are large with slightly pointed ends and resemble dog droppings. You will also want to look for damaged insulation.


Now that you have identified your pest animal as an opossum and taken note of areas where it is most active, you can use your live trap. Be sure to wear gloves when handling the trap to prevent leaving your scent. If a possum picks up a human scent on the trap, it will avoid the trap, which will make it ineffective.

Step 1 - Remove Food Sources


You want the opossum to enter the live trap with the help of bait. You also want to make sure they do not leave the attic and enter your home. Because of this, competing food sources need to be removed. Keep your trash sealed in trash bags and stored in trash bins. Other food sources such as pet food should be stored inside.

Step 2 - Place the Trap

By now, you should have taken note of areas with high possum activity. These areas are where you will put your trap. Be sure to place your trap on an even surface. An opossum might push or knock over the trap in order to reach the bait inside. Place a brick or weight on top of the trap to avoid this.

Step 3 - Bait and Set the Trap

Trap Trigger

Using the proper bait will increase your chances of catching a possum. These animals prefer sweet foods such as honey buns. The bait should be placed near the back of the trap. This ensures that the opossum will need to step on the trigger plate in order to reach the food.

You will then set your trap by pushing on the door lock and lifting the door plate. Keep the door plate lifted while pulling the trigger arm forward to set it. You will know it is set when the trigger arm's hook catches the door.

Step 4 - Monitor the Trap


You will need to check the traps twice a day, preferably once in the morning and once in the evening. This is when you will refill bait if needed. Checking the trap frequently may dissuade possums from approaching the trap. Do not keep an animal trapped in the cage for longer than 24 hours.

Step 5 - Relocate the Opossum

Any non-target animals should be released immediately. Once you have captured a possum in your live trap, check your local authorities to make sure you are correctly relocating the animal. Approach the trap slowly and use a gentle voice. Place a towel over the cage to avoid frightening the possum. Once you have relocated far enough, carefully open the trap and release the animal. You can read more about releasing an animal from a live trap here.


After using your live trap, you want to make sure that wild animals do not invade your property again. You can take some preventative measures to keep your area possum-free.


A cluttered attic will provide plenty of material for a possum to take shelter. Be sure to remove all clutter and debris from the attic. Any potential food or water sources, especially pet food, should be properly sealed in a container and stored indoors.


If your property has a chicken coop, consider installing fencing or actively keeping live traps near the coop. Possums will consume both chickens and their eggs.

To avoid possums from entering your home, be sure to repair any voids or openings around the home or structure, such as damaged fences, damaged windows and doors, or holes along walls, large vents, and roofing.

Be sure to trim tree branches back away from the edge of your roof. Opossums will oftentimes find access to your attic by first getting to your roof from overgrown tree branches.

Key Takeaways

  • Opossums are nocturnal animals with gray fur, a white face, and a long hairless tail. They can climb your house and enter your attic if an opening is large enough. Possums can potentially destroy the insulation in your attic, as well as leaving behind droppings and odor.
  • Bait the live trap with a sweet treat like a honeybun with an open wrapper, or half of a slightly mashed banana. Make sure the bait is placed behind the trigger plate of the trap. 
  • Check the trap once in the morning and once in the evening. Once an opossum is caught, check with your local authorities to make sure you safely and correctly release it. 
  • Prevent possums from entering your attic again by removing any potential food sources and trash, as well as sealing any holes and voids.
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