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Home » Blog » Opossum Trap: How to Catch and Release Opossums Humanely

Opossum Trap: How to Catch and Release Opossums Humanely

opossum trap, opossum trapping, opossum traps,

Opossums are nocturnal creatures that are commonly found in North America and are famous for their unique defense mechanism of "playing possum", which is when they play dead. On the other hand, these creatures can bother homeowners, especially when they start to invade gardens, trash cans, and attics. This is where opossum removal may come in handy.

An opossum trap is a device that is designed to capture opossums without causing them harm. They can be made out of different materials and are baited with food to attract the animals. Once the opossum enters the trap, the door closes behind it, and the animal can be safely relocated to a different location. However, opossums can be persistent and many homeowners have found hiring a wildlife removal professional to be a safer and more effective solution to their opossum problems.

Using opossum traps can be a good and humane way to deal with opossums that are causing problems. In the following sections, we will explore the different types available and how to use them effectively.

Understanding Opossum Behavior

Opossums are nocturnal creatures that are commonly found in North America. They are known for their unique behavior of playing dead when they feel threatened, which is where we get the phrase "to play possum."

When it comes to trapping opossums, it is important to understand their behavior. Opossums eat almost anything, including fruits, vegetables, insects, small animals, and even garbage; they are opportunistic feeders. It’s also common for them to scavenge for food and areas with a lot of nutrition sources attract them.

Opossums are solitary creatures; they prefer to live alone. They are also known to be nomadic and will move from one location to another in search of food and shelter. They are most active at night and will spend the day sleeping in dens or other sheltered areas.

When trapping, it is important to consider their behavior. Opossums are not aggressive animals and will generally try to avoid confrontation. However, they may hiss, growl, or even bite if they feel threatened. When working with opossums, it's crucial to exercise caution and wear protective gear, such as gloves.

In summary, understanding opossum behavior is essential when it comes to trapping them. Opossums are opportunistic feeders, solitary animals, and prefer to live in sheltered areas. When trapping, it is important to handle them with care and to consider their behavior to ensure a safe and humane capture.

Types of Opossum Traps

When it comes to trapping as a homeowner, there are several types out there. Each type of trap has its pros and cons and should be handled with precaution. This section will discuss opossum trap types, the three most common being box, cage, and electronic.

Box Traps

Box traps are a type of trap that is designed to capture opossums without harming them. Typically, these are made of metal or plastic and have a door that closes once the opossum enters the trap. They are easy to use and can be good at capturing opossums.

One of their advantages is that they are humane. They allow you to capture the opossum without harming it, so it can be released back into the wild. They are also easy to set up and can be used multiple times.

However, they can be expensive and may not be as effective as other types. Opossums can be wary of them, and they may not enter them as easily as they would other types.

Cage Traps

Cage traps, such as a large steel cage trap, are another type of trap that is commonly used to capture opossums. In most cases, wire mesh is used to make them, and they have a door that closes once the opossum enters the trap. They are easy to use and can be good at capturing opossums.

One of their advantages is that they are relatively inexpensive. They are also easy to set up and can be used multiple times. They are also humane, allowing you to capture the opossum without harming it.

However, cage traps can be bulky and difficult to transport. They may also not be as effective as other types, as opossums can be wary of them.

Electronic Traps

Electronic ones are a type of trap that uses an electric shock to capture. They are typically made of metal and have a door that closes once the possum enters the trap. They are easy to use and can be good at capturing opossums. They are also easy to set up and can be used multiple times.

However, they can be expensive and may not be as humane as other types. The electric shock can be painful for the opossum, and it may not survive the shock.

In conclusion, each opossum trap type has its advantages and disadvantages. Box ones are humane but may not be as effective as other types. Cage ones are inexpensive but may not be as effective as other types. Electronic ones are good but may not be as humane as other types. Choosing the best opossum trap for your situation and using it properly is key. There is also the possibility of trapping other animals instead of the possum. To ensure the safety of both the opossum and yourself, a better option is to hire a wildlife removal professional who will trap the opossum quickly and effectively.

Preparation for Trapping

If you’ve opted to use a trap yourself, you may be wondering how to catch possums. This section will go over the ways you can prepare most traps properly.

Choosing the Right Bait

When selecting bait for your opossum trap, it is important to choose something that will attract the animal. Opossums are known for being opportunistic feeders, so a variety of foods can be a good choice. Some popular options include:

  • Canned cat or dog food
  • Fruits such as apples or bananas
  • Peanut butter
  • Marshmallows

It is important to note that opossums are attracted to strong smells, so bait that has been sitting out for a while may be better than fresh bait.

Trap Placement

Once you have selected your bait, it is important to choose the right location and place the trap. Opossums are nocturnal animals, so they should be set up in the evening and checked in the morning. Some tips for trap placement include:

  • Look for signs of possum activity, such as droppings or tracks
  • Set up the trap in an area where the opossum is likely to travel, such as near a fence or along a tree line
  • Ensure that the trap is stable and won't tip over when the opossum enters

By following these tips for preparation, you can increase your chances of trapping an opossum. Remember to always handle trapped animals with care and release them in a safe location away from your property. Additionally, consider hiring a wildlife professional instead, as they are more knowledgeable about these creatures and how to trap them, as well as how to avoid trapping another creature.

Setting the Trap

If you want to trap an opossum, setting the trap correctly is crucial. Here are some possum trapping tips to follow to ensure that the trap is set up properly:

  1. Choose the right trap: There are various types available in the market. Make sure to choose the one that suits your needs and is legal in your area.
  2. Find the right location: Opossums are nocturnal animals and are most active at night. Look for signs of possum activity, such as droppings, footprints, and property damage. Place the trap in an area where they are likely to be found.
  3. Bait the trap: Opossums are omnivores and will eat almost anything. Use a bait that is attractive to them, such as canned pet food, fruits, or vegetables. Put the bait at the back of the trap, away from the trigger plate.
  4. Set the trap: Follow the manufacturer's instructions to set the trap. Make sure the trap is stable and level, and that the trigger plate is sensitive enough to spring the trap when the opossum enters.
  5. Check the trap frequently: Check the trap every couple of hours to see if it has been triggered. If an opossum is caught, handle it carefully and release it in a safe location, preferably far away from your property.

If you follow the previous tips, your chances of trapping an opossum may increase. While you don’t need a trapping license to trap opossums in Texas, you do need authorization to release them, and you need to handle them with care to avoid injury to both yourself and the animal. For a quicker and more effective solution, you should hire a wildlife removal professional instead of trapping yourself, as they know how to set them up properly and prepare the trap to avoid catching other creatures.

Safety and Legal Considerations

If you trap an opossum, it is key to consider both safety and legal aspects. The following are some important aspects to consider.


  • Always wear heavy gloves when handling them and opossums to avoid bites or scratches.
  • Never approach a trapped possum too closely, as they may be frightened and attempt to defend themselves.
  • Keep children and pets away from them to avoid accidental injury.
  • Be sure to dispose of trapped opossums safely and humanely, following local regulations.

Legal Considerations

  • Check with your state and local laws before trapping opossums, as regulations may vary.
  • In some areas, they may be protected by law and cannot be trapped without a permit. However, in Texas, homeowners don’t need a trapping license.
  • It is illegal to release a trapped opossum in a different location without proper authorization, as this can spread disease and disrupt local ecosystems.
  • Make sure to follow all guidelines and regulations when using them, to avoid any legal issues.

By keeping these safety and legal considerations in mind, trappers can ensure that their opossum trapping efforts are responsible.ons in mind, trappers can ensure that their opossum trapping efforts are responsible.

Checking and Transporting the Trap

If you have successfully trapped an opossum, it is important to regularly check the trap to ensure the animal is not left in distress for an extended period. As they are nocturnal creatures, it is recommended to check the trap early in the morning or late at night.

Before transporting the trap, make sure the trapped animal is secure inside and cannot escape. It is also important to handle the trap carefully and avoid shaking or jostling it, as this can cause unnecessary stress to the animal.

When transporting the trap, keep in mind that these creatures are wild animals and can be unpredictable. It is recommended to wear gloves and approach the trap slowly and calmly. If the possum appears agitated or aggressive, it is best to contact a professional wildlife removal service.

Once you have safely transported the trap, release the opossum in a suitable location away from residential areas. It is important to release the animal in an area with suitable nutrition and water sources, such as a wooded area or near a stream.

Remember, trapping and relocating opossums yourself should only be done as a last resort, as many have found that hiring a wildlife professional is the safest and most effective choice. Securing garbage cans and removing potential food sources, are some important precautions you can take to prevent these creatures from becoming a nuisance in residential areas.

Dealing with Captured Opossums

Humane Release

Once an opossum has been captured in a trap, it is important to release it humanely. The best way to do this is to release the opossum as far away from populated areas as possible. If the opossum is injured, it may be necessary to take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center for treatment before releasing it back into the wild.

When releasing the opossum, it is important to handle it carefully and avoid any direct contact with the animal. Use gloves or a towel to pick up the trap and transport the possum to the release site. Once at the release site, open the trap door and step back to allow the opossum to exit independently.

Contacting Wildlife Professionals

In most cases, it’s necessary to contact local wildlife professionals to safely and legally handle a captured opossum. This is especially true if the possum is injured or if it is a protected species in the area.

Before attempting to release or relocate a captured opossum, it is important to research local laws and regulations regarding wildlife management. In some areas, it may be illegal to release opossums or other wildlife without a permit.

If in doubt, hire local wildlife professionals to safely and legally handle a captured opossum. They will know what the best course of action is and will deal with the relocation process.

Preventing Future Infestations

If you have successfully trapped and removed an opossum from your property, it is important to take steps to prevent future infestations. The following tips can help you keep these creatures away:

  • Secure your garbage cans: Making sure to seal your garbage cans with tight-fitting lids and storing them in a secure location can deter hungry possums from coming into your property.
  • Eliminate outdoor food sources: If you have bird feeders or uneaten pet food outside, make sure to bring them in at night. Opossums have nocturnal habits and will be more likely to visit your property if there is a source of food available.
  • Block entry points: Seal up any gaps or holes in your walls, roof, or foundation so that opossums can’t enter your home through small openings and fix any broken vents.
  • Trim back trees and bushes: Possums can gain access to your roof or attic through overhanging tree branches or vines, as they are excellent climbers. Keep trees and bushes trimmed back to prevent this.
  • Use deterrents: Several types of deterrents can be good in keeping possums away, such as motion-activated sprinklers, lights, or sound devices.

By following these tips, you can help prevent future opossum infestations on your property. If you do encounter another opossum, you should contact a wildlife removal professional for a more permanent solution.

If you want to get an opossum out of your property safely, quickly, and permanently, Critter Stop can help you! We service residential & commercial customers in Texas, and offer a free inspection and estimate, as well as industry-leading guarantees. Contact us today at (214) 234-2616 and get rid of opossum invasions for good. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I trap or catch an opossum?

To trap or catch an opossum, it is important to use a live trap that is specifically designed for this purpose.  If you know an area that the possum frequents, place the trap there and use bait to lure it into the trap. Once the opossum is trapped, it can be safely removed from the area. Hiring wildlife professionals to do this for you is your safest bet, as they are knowledgeable about the opossum trapping process.

What type of bait is most effective for capturing opossums?

Opossums are attracted to a variety of different foods, including fruits, vegetables, and meats. Some good baits include canned cat or dog food, apples, and peanut butter. Placing the bait in the back of the trap is key, as it ensures that the opossum is fully inside the trap before it is triggered.

Where can I purchase a high-quality opossum trap?

High-quality implements can be purchased from a variety of different retailers, including hardware stores, home improvement stores, and online retailers. It is important to choose a trap that is specifically designed for them and is large enough to accommodate their size.

Is it possible to rent opossum traps, and if so, where?

Some hardware stores and home improvement stores may offer them for rent. It is important to inquire with the store to determine if this service is available.

What are the legal considerations for trapping opossums?

Before trapping, it is important to check local laws and regulations regarding the trapping and removal of wildlife. In some areas, a permit may be required to capture them, and there may be specific guidelines for how and where they can be released.

How can I humanely and quickly remove an opossum from my property?

To remove an opossum from your property, it is important to use a live trap and to handle the animal carefully and safely. Once the possum is trapped, it can be released in a safe, wooded area away from residential neighborhoods. It is important to wear gloves and to handle the opossum as little as possible to avoid stressing the animal. If you’re unsure about how to do this yourself, hire a wildlife removal professional instead.

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Lee Gorman
Lee Gorman
13:50 21 Nov 22
I’d give a 10 star review if I could! We had a great experience with Critter Stop. Everyone I dealt was friendly, professional, and reassuring. Phillip was very helpful and knowledgeable about the work he was doing. He walked me around the entire house to make sure I saw and understood the services he provided. He was also really nice and answered all my questions — he is exactly the type of person that should be interacting with customers.I love the fact that they will come back for up to 1 year after installation if any problems occur — this shows me they stand behind their work.The owner was great too, he personally came to my house and walked me through their offering. I recommend critter stop to anyone and everyone!
Susan Casey
Susan Casey
14:53 15 Nov 22
Critter Stop is a fantastic business! Everyone involved is extremely professional and very easy to communicate with. Chisam, the owner, did a great job of explaining the process to get the squirrels out of my attic during the initial free estimate. The exclusion crew who did all of the initial work was fabulous. The crew consisted of Phillip, Nick and Corey who arrived promptly when they said they would. They are happy, positive employees. Everyone is very polite and patient in explaining their work and answering questions. They came back several times to check the traps and finish it off with the fogging. Lester was very good about following up to schedule each trap check with me, and the office staff who took care of the billing was very efficient. Critter Stop is a well run company with honest, trustworthy employees! Thank you to all of you who worked hard to make my attic critter free and for the peace of mind that you guarantee your work. Great to know I can call them if for some reason a squirrel figures out a way to get back in!
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Karen Eckholdt
14:54 22 Sep 22
Critter Stop has made this project easy and extremely professional from start to finish! They are very detailed and competent from start to finish and know so much about their business. They made a problem easy for us and at a reasonable cost. We would be happy to recommend this company and their owners and staff to anyone.
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19:23 27 Jul 22
Brandon and his other coworker Gavin came to install insulation in my attic. I am very grateful for the hard work and professionalism. My house feels a lot better with the insulation installed. 5 star review. Cory Leach was also very nice and helpful. He came to my house to do another job and was very attentive and professional. Thank you Corey and thank you Critter Stop for helping me.The owner very polite and helpful, I’m glad I found this company to help me.
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