How to Rid Possums Out of Your Trash Can

Opossums, commonly known as possums, are marsupials. Possums are omnivores and will eat just about anything, including your trash. Similar to skunks, possums will tip over your trash can and spread your trash all over your driveway. Possums are generally harmless. In fact, when approached by humans, they will generally play dead (or "play possum"). Nevertheless, you will want to keep these pesky animals out of your trash cans.

Possums are good climbers.

Step 1

Purchase a heavy metal trash can. Heavy metal trash cans are less likely to be torn apart or pushed over.

Step 2

Pour ammonia into a coffee can and place the coffee can at the bottom of the trash (or anywhere near the trash). Possums are repelled by the smell of ammonia.

Step 3

Double bag the trash before you place it in the trash can. This will help limit the smell of old food that attracts possums.

Step 4

Tie the lid down with a bungee chord and place a cinder block on top of the lid. This will prevent the possum from getting into the trash can.

Step 5

Eliminate other food sources. It may not be just the trash can that has attracted the possum to your property in the first place. Clean up any fruit that has fallen from fruit trees, bring bird feeders in at night, and do not leave pet food outside.

Step 6

Eliminate shelters. Possums will become comfortable with your property if there are brush piles, open woodsheds, or woodpiles to hide in. By eliminating these shelters, you can encourage the possum to move on to the next property.

Step 7

Set up traps. If you are still having problems with possums, try setting up traps around your trash can. Traps, such as Havahart possum traps, work by automatically closing once the possum has entered the trap (you can use just about any food as bait). Once you have trapped the possum, you can release him in the woods, miles from your home.

Thomas King

Thomas King is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where he served as managing editor of the "Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law." He currently lives in Aberdeen, Washington where he writes and practices law.