Category Archives: Opossums

Anything to do with opossums

Possum in the House


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The house was quiet and I had it all to myself for once.  Well, I thought I did.  I had no idea there was a possum in the house.

As the youngest of four teenagers and the only girl, it was a big deal for me to be home by myself.  It was such a big deal that when Megan asked me to go over to her house, I texted back that I just wanted to stay home.  Of course, she texted Kylee saying I was mad at her, and then Kylee texted me.  It turned into this big thing, and after I’d finally called and texted everyone, both Kylee and Megan just came over.  Whatever, I guess I couldn’t be alone in the house for once, but it turned out that I was really happy to have company.

Usually, my older brothers eat all the good stuff before I get a chance to even see what we have, but Mom went shopping today and my brothers are all out on camping trips or doing school stuff, so I get first pick.  I grabbed up a couple of bags of unopened chips (usually, I just get the crumbs), some soda and head into the living room.  Megan and Kylee got to my place about five minutes later, and before long we were laughing, play-fighting over whose playlist we were going to listen to, eating, and telling Kylee what to text her boyfriend.

All of a sudden, we heard a crash come from upstairs.  It sounded like it was from my brother Bryan’s room, but I couldn’t be sure.  We just looked at each other for a second, and then started talking all at the same time.  Kylee was asking me if I was sure if my brothers were all gone.  Megan was threatening to run out to her car and drive away.  I was trying to calm everyone down, including myself.  Finally, I just laughed.  “It’s probably just a stray cat or something that got in the house.”

So, we decided to go upstairs and investigate.  We decided to start with Bryan’s room, since it was right above the living room and the crash sounded like it came from there.  Together, we kind of hugged and huddled our way up the stairs and to the hallway, whispering and giggling nervously, sure we were being stupid and silly, but determined to be sure.

I nudged the door to Bryan’s messy room open with my foot, and we all peered in.  We couldn’t see anything, it was dark.  So, I reached in and flipped on the light.  Eyes, teeth, hissing, some kind of large furry thing.  There was a possum in the house, sitting right on top of Bryan’s desk, where it had knocked over a stack of stuff, as well as Bryan’s basketball trophy.   A big, ugly, possum in the house, and there was no freaking way we were going to stick around by ourselves!  We ran back down the stairs and out the front door, barely giving Megan any time to grab her purse with her car keys.  I called Mom from Kylee’s house, screaming about the possum in the house and that I wasn’t going to go back home until that thing was gone.

I haven’t wanted to stay home by myself ever since.  I’d much rather be there with my four big brothers and let them take care of the possum in the house!

Possum in the Gym

opossum remival


The screams of a team of fourteen- to sixteen year-old girls bounced around the gym walls.  No, we hadn’t just won a game.  No, no one had made an amazing shot from halfway across the basketball court.  These were terrified screams, and it took me a good ten minutes to calm everyone down to the point where I could figure out just what had happened.  There was a possum in the gym under the bleachers.

Our high school’s girls basketball team is really good.  These girls aren’t the type to worry over whether they’ve broken a nail, or jump on a chair if they see a spider on the floor.  These are strong, hard-working young women who work hard at practices so they can win regionals.  This is not a wimpy basketball team.  And, I love being their coach.

So, you can imagine how surprised I was to hear all the screaming and running when I ran back to my office to get something.  I’d left the team captain in charge of warm ups and drills, as I usually do.  But, the screeching had me tearing back through the nearly-empty high school halls back to the gym.  I was ready to do battle with whatever was terrorizing those girls.

Apparently, what had happened was they were all warming up and stretching for practice.  They’d run laps around the gym and then got into formation to stretch out leg muscles.  One of my forwards saw a glint of something in the darkness under the bleachers right in front of her, and she stopped stretching and got closer to find out what it was.  Some of her teammates joined her to figure it out.  Then, one of my girls reached her hand in between two rows of seats, and touched something furry that let out this horrible sound and stench, and showed a row of gleaming ugly teeth.  That’s pretty much when the screaming started.

I calmed everyone down, and cautiously approached the bleachers where they’d made “contact.”  I hate to admit it, but my heart was pounding hard in my chest, and I struggled to maintain my composure.  I knelt down in front of the bottom bleacher and let my eyes adjust to the darkness underneath.  I pulled out my keychain with a small flashlight, and clicked the light into the gloom.  Hopefully not a single girl on my team noticed me jump when the tiny light showed a grey-ish animal, teeth bared and eyes gleaming, backed up against the wall.  Then, I realized, it was only a possum in the gym.

I knew it wouldn’t hurt us, as long as we left it alone.  I made the girl who touched it go wash her hands, which she did willingly enough, and left a message for the building maintenance crew to get someone to get rid of the possum in the gym.  We still held practice that night, but my girls had a tough time keeping an eye on the ball when they were too busy eyeing the bleachers to make sure the possum stayed under there.

Possum in Closet

opossum remival

I tugged on my rubber snow boots, grumbling, as my husband spoke-whispered something about a possum in the closet.  What on earth?  My husband and I had been married a total of thirty-two hours, and already we were dealing with some middle of the night crisis with a wild animal.  This wasn’t exactly the honeymoon I’d dreamed about since I was a teenager.  Sure, I gave up the idea of lazing around in a bikini on a Caribbean beach, and I had decided it was okay to forego a Mediterranean cruise, or even a railway trip through Europe.  I’d fallen in love with a man who loved nature and being in the mountains, and so I came to terms with a romantic remote mountain cabin as our honeymoon destination.

The cabin belonged to his uncle, and my husband had spent several weeks a year up here.  When we got married, his parents and brothers had chipped in and bought it from his uncle, who had wanted to sell it anyway.  They gave it to us.  For my dear husband, this was the best honeymoon destination ever.  He could share his love of nature with me, and create new memories with his family over the years.

Yesterday, we’d tramped along some of his favorite trails.  The fall air was chilly, but perfect for the gorgeous changing leaves.  We had bundled up together when we got back to the cabin, drinking hot drinks by the fire.  An Italian beach would have been nice, but this was so much better.  It was more intimate, and I loved how much my husband was enjoying sharing this with me.

I felt different when he woke me up in the middle of the night and told me to come quietly to the kitchen, that there was a possum in the closet.  I had never seen one, and really didn’t care to see one right then, especially indoors.  But, I tugged on my boots, gathered a warm blanket around me, and tiptoed as quietly as one can tiptoe in snowboots.  When we got to the kitchen, he quietly opened up the closet door and gently pulled out a mostly empty bag of dog food.  His uncle had always brought his dog up here, and we hadn’t cleared out the closets when we got here.

The bag had been chewed open at one of the bottom corners, so my husband carefully pulled the bag up and into a nearby plastic bin.  He opened up the top of the bag and shone his flashlight in.  I peered inside.

Sure enough, there was a baby possum asleep, or playing dead, inside the bag.  I was fascinated.  I’d never seen anything like that before.  Greyish, white, with a long head and odd ears.  Its eyes shone, and it popped up.  Quickly, my husband put the lid on the bin and took the whole thing outside to let it go.

A few thoughts went through my head then.  I was happy I had a husband who knew how to handle things like a possum in the closet.  I was very tired.  I wondered where on earth the mother possum was hiding.  I really would have been very happy on a Caribbean beach.

Get Rid of Opossum

opossum remival

Being a techie at a stadium is one of the best jobs a person could ever do, but it should never include getting rid of an opossum.

Opossum hanging by his tail.
An opossum that spooked a theater by hiding in it’s orchestra pit.

I’m part of the stage crew at a large theater downtown.  Every day is a little different, depending on the show or concert that will be playing here.  Some days are spent lighting and re-lighting for a show that’s coming through our city, spiking the stage (putting tape marks all over the stage so we know where a set piece is supposed to go in the middle of a show), testing the sound system, or making sure the green rooms and dressing rooms are prepared.  Some of our guest celebrities are very particular about how they want their dressing rooms arranged and stocked.  Some days are spent with maintenance, such as keeping the house in good repair, making sure the seats are clean and comfortable, or repairing curtains.  Other days are spent striking sets and loading them up in trucks for the show’s next city appearance.  It’s exhausting, physical work, and there aren’t a lot of women who do what I do professionally, but it’s my passion and joy.  And, I’m lucky enough that my husband works here, too.

One day when we wer

e doing maintenance on the house, I made a horrible discovery.  There was an opossum under the orchestra pit.  No one had ever trained me how to get rid of an opossum.  But, there it was, backed up against the other side of the pit, its eyes gleaming in the darkness, its lips pulled back in a hissing and toothy grimace.  Not only do I have to get rid of an opossum, I have to get rid of a live opossum.  I’m no nervous nelly, but that’s really not in my job description.

I backed out of the space under the orchestra pit.  That area is technically lower than the river, so I shouldn’t be surprised to find animals down in there.  Maybe that’s why the opossum was down there, to feast on mice or rats or whatever made its way down there.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this explains a lot.  Lately, some of the actors and musicians from our latest musical production had been complaining of weird smells around the stage.  Some of the crew had been “spooked” by odd noises when they were working alone in the area.  We joked that it was our resident ghost.  Really, what theater doesn’t have a resident ghost?

But, this explained everything.  It was just an animal.

I made my way up to the office, where my husband was working.  “Hon, we gotta get rid of an opossum,” I said.

He had to see it for himself, of course, and I think he came out of the orchestra pit faster than I did.  Before long, we called Allstate Animal Control to get rid of the opossum.  Fortunately, their guy got it out before we set up for the show that night.  Of course, we still let the actors and musicians believe it was a ghost.

Opossum in the Crawlspace

I didn’t even know what an opossum was, and I certainly never knew we might have an opossum in the crawlspace.  I was just dealing with the emotions of sending every single child off to school full-time, having a quiet home to myself.  I vacillated between extreme emotions.  I desperately missed each child, especially my youngest who just started first grade.  I was proud of each of them.  I was relieved and joyous at having several hours all to myself to get my entire to-do list done.  I didn’t feel like doing a single thing on my to-do list.  Then I felt guilt at not taking advantage of every single moment I had to myself.  And, finally, I got back to really missing each child.  I hoped that this emotional cycle would go away after a few days, so I could go back to normal.


I finally decided I’d at least clean the kids’ bathroom and then sit down with a good book.  That seemed like a good compromise for the first day back to school.  That way, I’d get something done, thus alleviating the guilt.  Then, I would enjoy some quiet time to myself by reading a good book, thus taking my mind off of how much I missed the children.  After an hour or so of reading, I’d decide what to do next.


So, it was with this plan that I grabbed the cleaning supplies and headed into the disaster that is known as my children’s bathroom.  I cleaned the toys out of the tub, and floor, and countertops, and started spraying down the place.  That’s when I heard a noise behind the shower wall.


Maybe that noise had always been there, but I never noticed it over the happy/fighting/playing noises of my children.  Maybe it was brand new.  I don’t know.  I just know it scared the bejeebers out of me.  Scritch, scratch, followed by some sort of movement behind the wall.  How long had this been going on?  Have the kids heard it?  Is that why little Lindsey’s been having nightmares lately?


Hesitantly, I tapped on the wall, and the movement-sound stopped abruptly.  I stood still, waiting.  It was like a quiet stand-off.  Before too long, though, that scritch scratch noise started up again.  So much for my boring, guilt-ridden, quiet morning.  I fled the bathroom and called my husband, who suggested we might have an animal, like an opossum in the crawlspace.  I had to look up opossum on the internet so I knew what he was talking about.  An opossum in the crawlspace could mean fleas, ticks, or eventually a dead opossum attracting all sorts of other vermin.


I quickly found the number for Allstate Animal Control and got someone out there right away.  Sure enough, my husband was right.  We had an opossum in the crawlspace.  The guy managed to get it out, though, and the house has gone back to being quiet through the long hours while the children are in school.  I’m enjoying that quiet on a whole new level now, though.



Opossum Control

opossum remival

As the supervisor of a large apartment complex, I take care of a lot of things, from leaky toilets to cleaning the streets to fixing air conditioners, but opossum control is a new one on me.

I got a call from one of my favorite tenants.  Mrs. Hernandez is a sweet older widow who always takes the time to say “hello” to her neighbors and remembers details about their life.  “How is your sick puppy, Rocco?” she asks the oldest Johnson boy.  Or, “How was your job interview?” she asks Brandon Thompson.  But, she never goes on and on about her own life or pulls out pictures of her grandchildren without being asked.  She even organized an apartment-wide barbeque a couple of weeks ago, and got more people to come than I had expected.  She has a special way about her that just makes you love her.

She rarely calls me with any needs, because she told me she doesn’t like to impose.  I’ve insisted that it is not only my job to fix things in her apartment, but it is my pleasure to help her out.  But, she still hesitates, so I like to stop by and check in on her every week to make sure everything’s running smoothly.

So, I was surprised when she called me this morning.  I was doubly surprised when she said, “I really don’t know how to say this, but I think I need opossum control or a plumber.”  Confused, I decided to investigate it myself before calling a professional opossum removal service or a plumber, and grabbed my ever-ready tool bag and thick gloves.

When I got there, she looked embarrassed as she led me back to her bathroom and directed my attention to her tub.  A tiny opossum baby was actually stuck inside the drain.  Its hind legs had slipped in between the large drain holes.  Every time it struggled to free itself, its tiny paws would just slip on the wet tub surface, and it would slip down just a little further.

Mrs. Hernandez said she had no idea where the mother was or how the opossum even got inside her apartment.  She and I agreed it probably got separated from its mother and then crawled in through her open window.  This was definitely a first for me, though.  I considered doing my own opossum control, by putting on the thick gloves, pulling the animal out of the drain, and popping it in the tool box to safely take it outside.  But, what would I do with it once I got it outside?  If I just released it, would it die alone?  Would it be easy prey for other animals?  Mrs. Hernandez had obviously considered this, too, and she was mortified at the idea of a helpless baby opossum.  Partly to ease my own conscience and partly to appease sweet Mrs. Hernandez, I agreed to call a professional opossum removal service.  Mrs. Hernandez even made me some ice tea as we waited for them to arrive.

Opossum Removal

I’m a fair-minded landlord, so I wasn’t too harsh on the animals when I had to conduct opossum removal.  I remodeled the large vacant home I bought into four separate apartments, and had no problem renting them out once the remodeling work was complete and all the permits and licenses came through.  The place is a good location, not far from a mass transit station and within walking distance to a shopping center.  But, I managed to keep the private, inviting feel of an old home.  It was easy to get tenants quickly.

I live in the upper-most apartment, so no other tenants were aware of the scrabbling, rustling noises coming from the empty attic just above my head.  I assumed it was an animal or bird that had gotten lost in there and would find its way back out the next morning, but the noise persisted over the next couple of days.  Finally, I felt I had to do something.  I crawled up there one morning and poked around, my nose wrinkling at the nastiest smelling animal droppings I’d ever had the displeasure of seeing or smelling.  Then, over in the far corner, I spotted the two animals, and knew the time had come for opossum removal.

I called a professional opossum removal service, and they quickly came out.  But, I was adamant.  I didn’t want them to take the opossums away.  I wanted to relocate them under the pergola in the yard.  I thought they were sweet and cute, even as they bared teeth at the opossum trapper.  He looked at me kind of funny, but obliged.

I didn’t tell the guy who did the opossum removal that I had a problem with voles on the property.  It may have been what attracted the opossums in the first place. My tenants didn’t spend any time in the yard, since there was a nice park nearby, so they weren’t aware of the vole holes and tunnels in the yard.  I’d tried to trap the voles myself, but it felt like there were three or four more for every one I caught.

So, I thought, if I had to have opossums removed out of the attic, I might relocate them into a safe place in the yard.  That way, they could hunt down and feast on the troublesome voles as long as they stayed out of the attic and didn’t keep me awake at night.

It kind of worked for a time.  There were several times, though, that I had to go out early and pick up the garbage cans they’d knocked over and rooted through.  Then, there was the night that I heard hissing and growling.  It’s possible they had a run-in with one of the local cats.  But, the vole population started to decline, so I thought I was brilliant for removing opossums out of the attic and relocating them under the pergola.  One night, however, one of my tenants had decided the pergola was a perfect, romantic place to take his girlfriend.  His girlfriend screamed nice and loud when they startled the two opossums, and soon everyone was aware of our backyard vole-eaters.  This time, I had to have opossum removal done for good.  They were taken off the property, never to be seen again.  I had the same service get rid of the voles, too, while I was at it.

Opossum Problems

It’s unbelievable, this opossum problem we have in this home!  I mean, I’m the alpha dog here, the top Chihuahua, and this, this opossum comes strolling into my home again and again and helps himself to the fruit lying on the counter.  I’m not even allowed on that counter top, how dare he?!  And I have fleas now, thank you very much.  I’m an extremely clean dog, and this flea-ridden opossum walks right in, and now I’m infected.  It’s awful.  The itching is so bad I’m scratching and biting myself just to make it stop, and my people have to put special medicine on me, and it’s all the fault of this big, toothy creature.

So, how did he get in here in the first place?  He was digging up against the kitchen wall to make a den and just kept digging.  He must have thought he’d hit the mother lode.  Warm home, plenty of food, my water bowl.  Turns out he preferred hanging out in the cabinet under the sink, next to the dishwasher, of all places.  That’s where all the canned foods are kept, including my dog food!  He just comes out, helps himself to whatever he can find on the counter or the floor, and then retreats to his little cabinet.  Never mind the fleas, never mind the fact that this is my home.  He’s the worst uninvited house guest ever!

Oh, and the poop.  That is the biggest, smelliest stuff I’ve ever had the displeasure of sniffing, and believe me, I’ve sniffed plenty.  It’s the worst part about this opossum problem.  Big Rufus down the street ain’t got nothin’ on this thing.

I got blamed for some of the mess, at first, which was just unpleasant.  I would never behave so atrociously, so horrifically.  I’m house-trained, a proper dog, a clean dog, and still I got blamed.  Fortunately, my people figured it out pretty quick.  They called a service, a real professional wildlife removal service, and they came out and set a trap.  My people are lucky to have me, because I showed them right where the worst opossum droppings were, and barked at the cabinet long enough for them to realize that would be the best place to set the trap.

The night they set that trap, I was so excited.  I just knew we’d finally be rid of our opossum problem and be able to go on with our lives.  I curled up at my people’s feet and dreamt of taking the house back.  First thing the next morning, well, I took care of my business.  That’s what a trained house dog does.  But, the second thing the next morning, I was down in the kitchen, and barking my head off.  It had worked!  That sucker was stuck in the trap under the cabinet, sure enough.  The trapper was coming to remove it and I was getting my house back in order, the way it should be.

How To Get Rid Of Opossums

“Honey, I’ve got to go.  Cameron’s teacher’s ready for me . . . yes, yes, I called this afternoon to find out how to get rid of opossums and they’re sending someone out first thing in the morning. . .  I honestly don’t know, hon, I haven’t heard any more banging around in the attic, but opossum are usually active only at night, so we won’t know for sure until tonight . . . I hope so, too, because I can’t stand the mess, I can’t stand waking up all night listening to something scrabbling around above our heads , I just can’t! . . . You’re right, I’m calm.  I’ll let you know how the parent/teacher conference goes.  Love you . . .”

“Come on in, Mrs. Seely, thank you for coming to meet with me tonight.”

“Thanks, Miss Jackson.  Cameron talks about you all the time.  He just loves having you as his kindergarten teacher.”

“Oh, I’m happy to hear it!  He’s a really good kid to have in my class.”

“That’s a relief.”

“Cameron is doing very well in the class.  His word recognition skills have really improved.  I think his favorite subject is art.  In fact, this is something he painted today.  I’d like to ask you about it with you, though.  I can’t seem to understand what he painted.”

“Oh?  May I see?  Oh, yes.  Um, well, what did he say it is?”

“Well, he said it was raining in his bathroom.”


“Uh huh.  But then he said it was raining bugs.”

“Oh crap.”

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry.  It’s just . . . we think we have an opossum, maybe more, that got into our attic.  Maybe they’re dead, I don’t know.  I called a wildlife removal company this afternoon and they’re sending someone out in the morning.”

“Oh, I see.  I’m so sorry to hear that.  And the fleas?”

“I don’t know for sure, because I just can’t seem to get up the courage to get into the attic to see for myself, but, oh, it’s just awful.  Fleas, fleas are raining down in our bathroom through the recessed light.  It’s the grossest thing I’ve ever had to deal with!”

“Oh, ew!  That’s just awful!  I’m glad you’re getting someone out to take care of it, for your sake.  I have to say I am happy to know that Cameron’s creativity doesn’t extend to horror.”

“Yes, it is like something out of a horror film.  Poor kid, I hate that it’s worried him so much that it’s coming out in his art, though.  Hopefully we’ll get it all squared away and cleaned up tomorrow morning so he can go back to being the happy budding artist he normally is.”

“Oh, I’m sure he’ll be just fine.  He loved telling the other boys about it.”

“I don’t doubt it!  I’m sure he’ll love telling them all about how we got rid of the opossums in the next couple of days.  So, how are his math skills?”

Get Rid Of Opposum

I need to know how to get rid of opossum and fast! 

            My wife and I have an RV, and we used to spend every summer driving around to different places, enjoying life on the road.  I got sick two years ago, though, so the RV has just been sitting on our pad on the side of the house.  My wife was so great.  Sometimes, when I was feeling the worst, she would pull out a map and we would figure out where we wanted to go on our next trip.  Planning it all out gave me something to look forward to, and I swear it helped me get well faster.

            So, this year, I’m well enough to go.  I waited until the weather warmed up a little, and then decided to get out there and get the RV ready for our upcoming trip.  I woke up that Saturday morning excited and ready to work.  Had no idea, though, what was in store for me.

            I opened up that door and WHAM!  The smell hit me like a ton of bricks.  Cupboards were open, stuff was strewn all around, stuffing from the dining bench had been pulled out and matted around.  The worst part, though, was the excrement.  It was huge and smelled horrible . . . one of the worst odors I’ve ever smelled in my life.  And some of it even looked fresh.  Disgusting.

            Now, my day of excitedly getting the RV ready for our summer vacation turned into a day of getting rid of opossum and cleaning up after them.  Good thing my wife came running out of the house when she did, too.  I was headed on into the RV with a bag to start the cleanup, but she told me that opossum droppings can have roundworm.  The last thing I want to do is get sick with something else right now.  We decided to call in a professional to do the cleanup and help us get rid of the opossum. 

            Made me so mad to see all our stuff being hauled out of the RV and thrown away.  A lot of it could be salvaged, but some of it was broken or filthy.  I just hoped they could get that awful smell out of there.  No matter how clean and sterile they got it, I wouldn’t be able to sleep in there if any of that awful stench remained. 

            A neighbor caught an opossum in a raccoon trap a night or two after that, but I was sure there were more.  I’m sure some mama opossum had babies in there, and opossums tend to return to their nests year after year.  We had to make sure we got rid of every opossum before I’d be comfortable parking our RV in our driveway again. 

            Fortunately, the cleanup went well.  They sterilized the RV and got rid of the smell.  A few more opossum were trapped while we were gone on our trip that summer.  We had a great summer after all, but it still made me mad to think some opossum family had made their home in our place.  Good thing I hadn’t known about it while I was sick.