Opossums are considered a nuisance animal by many people, but they don’t usually cause damage to our homes and yards. They’re often thought to be behind the mischief caused by other critters, such as raccoons and skunks, but they themselves aren’t usually problematic, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
They will occasionally kill chickens on farms, and they can cause problems by getting into garbage cans and eating pet food and bird food stored outside, Wildlife Illinois reports. They may also cause problems for pet owners when they move into sheltered spots under porches and decks, in unsecured sheds and outbuildings and in wood piles and brush piles.
You can avoid encounters with opossums by making sure your garbage cans have tight-fitting, secure lids, storing pet food and bird seed indoors, cleaning up spilled bird seed from under feeders and storing wood away from buildings and fences or at least 1 foot off the ground, Wildlife Illinois advises.
If you want to keep the animals out from under decks and porches, you can dig out a trench at least 10 inches deep around your porch or deck, Wildlife Illinois recommends. Then attach metal mesh or welded wire to the top of your deck, leaving 6 inches to 8 inches remaining along the ground, bended out away from the deck. The trench should then by filled with rock or soil. You can also attach lattice or another decorative cover over the mesh to improve the appearance.
If animals on your property continue to cause problems after corrective measures have been taken, consider humanely removing and relocating them only as a last resort. Trapping an opossum to remove it from your property requires a permit from IDNR. If you do not want to remove it yourself, contact a licensed wildlife control operator to contract their services.
All wildlife in Illinois are under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The Forest Preserve District of Will County does not treat, rescue or remove wildlife from public or private property. Both the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Wildlife Illinois maintain lists of wildlife rehabilitators you can contact for assistance with injured wildlife.
(Photos via Shutterstock)
Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.