Q: I have noticed a possum climbing a tree in my yard for the past week. I swear he is as big as my Standard Poodle. Do I ignore him–encourage him–discourage him–get rid of him? Is he dangerous or harmless? Whom do we call that will artfully and humanely remove him and his kin from our back yard?
A: Possums aren’t dangerous but they sometimes steal food from dog bowls if you leave the food outdoors at night (which you shouldn’t do anyway). They are much, much less likely to carry rabies than raccoons. Because they scavenge so many different kinds of food, some call them “nature’s little garbagemen”.
I suppose you could buy and use a cage-type live trap but here is another easy possum trap. Tie a tall (twenty four inch at least) plastic, smooth-sided, waste paper can to the trunk of the tree he likes to climb. Drop some tuna fish in the can and dribble the fish oil onto the bark of the tree beside the can. Put a few scraps of the tuna on the ground at the base of the can. Eliminate this last step if your dog would get into it and make a mess.
When the possum next comes wandering, it will smell the tuna, follow it up the tree and likely jump into the trash can. You’ll find him sleeping there peacefully the next morning.
I’ll let you decide where to take him after that. Before you embark on your adventure, be sure to visit the Opossum Society of the U.S. at www.opossumsocietyus.org.