Get Rid of Opossums and Tips for Opossum Trapping

Have you ever heard the phrase “playing possum?” This actually originates from the tendency of the opossum (or simply “possum”) to involuntarily play dead when startled or threatened.

Opossums are marsupials; in fact, they’re the only marsupials residing in North America. While they like to create dens in hollow trees or the vacated burrows of other animals, opossums can also find a home under your deck, shed or house. Because of their unspecialized biology, flexible diet and reproductive strategy, opossums are successful colonizers and survivors even when their habitat has been disrupted.

While opossums may be good at playing dead, it doesn’t mean they’re harmless. All that digging and burrowing can compromise the foundation of structures, one of the reasons why you need to send them packing if you discover them on your property. They’ll also feast on just about anything, including your garbage.

Get Rid of Possums: How to Trap an Opossum

Opossum traps come in a variety of sizes and styles. Possum trapping tips include placing traps wherever you’ve seen signs of their activity, such as burrowing. Before setting a trap, always check with your local game commission to ensure you’re allowed to trap in your area. Also, avoid trapping during early spring and summer to prevent separating babies and mamas.

Baiting Possum Traps with the Best Bait for Possums and Other Opossum Baiting Tips

Although they aren’t particularly finicky eaters, the best possum bait is fish or apples. Baiting opossum traps with canned pet food also works well. While there are differences of opinion as to the best bait for opossums, all professional trappers agree, the smellier the better. (No, your old sneakers won’t do the trick!) One of the most important opossum baiting tips is to smear the bait in, on and around the trap.

How to Deter Possums

Chicken-wire fence is a good method to ensure you won’t find a possum in your yard. Construct a fence that is four feet high with the top 12 to 18 inches bent outward away from the garden. You can “possum-proof” standard fencing by attaching an electrically charged wire along the top. However, if you’re like most, you’d rather not detract from your landscaping. If you really want to say goodbye to a possum in your garden and in your yard, apply a liquid or granular repellent that targets their sense of smell and taste.

Image: normanack 

Suggested Solutions


  • DAVID A.


    • 3:24 pm - February 24, 2012

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  • Nick W.

    Cantaloupe is another amazing bait. The possums are hitting it every night.

    • 10:26 am - July 16, 2012

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  • Maria S.

    I used cantaloupe, it worked.

    • 9:49 pm - September 24, 2012

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  • Andrew byer

    I use dry CAT food I get them the same night I set it I have caught 12 so far if you use it put it in a pantyhose and hang it from the top of the cage or put it in foil and throw it behind the trigger

    • 7:50 pm - November 10, 2012

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    NO FAIL way to catch a possum. All you need is a large trash can or barrel, a 5 ft piece of 2×4, 2×6, or whatever wood you have handy, and a $0.50 honey bun as bait. Set your trap where the possum has been frequenting. Lean the wood against your trash can or barrel, unwrap the honey bun, drop it in, walk away and go to sleep. The possum will walk up the board and jump in for a bite of the bun, but will not be able to climb out. In the morning you can either dispatch or relocate.

    • 3:34 am - November 20, 2012

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  • rhaupr

    he comes out and eats dog poop! so sounds gross but it attracted him so I am putting it in the trap today!

    • 9:01 am - January 9, 2013

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  • Feebs

    Possums love my cat’s food but when I try to trap them I very often get skunks. 🙁

    • 2:04 pm - January 30, 2013

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  • Chirs

    Opossum may help reduce spread of Lyme disease. They are really good at getting all their ticks off and eating them. Ticks that hitch a ride on them have a 95 percent chance of being eaten! – http://www.caryinstitute.org/discover-ecology/podcasts/why-you-should-brake-possums

    • 5:54 am - March 18, 2014

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  • Graham

    The best bait for the opossum is balled catfish stink bait. Especially, shrimp flavored and blended with several morsels of cat food (dry). I am sure the other flavors of stink bait will produce the same results.

    • 11:26 am - March 21, 2014

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  • Fred

    I baited mine with a cut up banana! I had him trapped that night!

    • 12:11 am - April 30, 2014

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  • James

    How do I adjust the trap door, to be not so sensitive, on the collapsable one door, large animal trap Model 1090, 1092?

    I just purchased the trap today, April 10 2016. It takes a bit of an effort to get the trap door to stay open, when the trap is merely touched the door slams closed..

    • 3:53 am - April 11, 2016

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    • Havahart®

      Hello, James! Thanks for your question! Try checking out this video all about the Model 1090 and 1092 on our YouTube channel! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YDFnK8vQsc Let us know if you have any other questions, thank you!

      • 12:48 pm - April 13, 2016

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  • David

    I’ve caught a few possums by using old fish and fish juice for marshy areas. But for trapping possums in mostly woods or fields fruit and peanut butter works great as well.

    • 6:47 pm - July 25, 2016

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