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Opossum Control Blog - A Trapper's Journal

This weblog chronicles some of the adventures I have had while operating my wildlife removal company in Orlando, FL - Click any of the photos for a larger image and more information.

07.02.2008 - Cute Baby Wildlife
Although I specialize in wildlife removal, I also like to take photographs of the critters from time to time. I really enjoy the baby wildlife. Kind of like how most people enjoy puppies and kittens. It's hard not to like these cute little guys.  Many people think that the adult opossum is an ugly animal.  However, the baby is downright adorable.  Just look at those little hands, that pink nose, those little ears  and those big brown eyes!  I could just eat this little fellow right up!  I also like the blue patches in the ears. It's generally accepted that all animals have a paternal response to juven ...click for more

04.14.2008 - Playing Possum
Everyone has heard about "playing possum". It's a defense mechanism of the North American Opossum. If it's attacked by a predator, sometimes it completely passes out, and appears dead. It is the instinct of many predatory animals to shake and kill a critter that is moving or fighting back, but they often leave dead animals alone. Thus, if attacked, by feigning death, the opossum doesn't receive any further attack. With luck, the attacking animal loses interest and leaves. The opossum wakes up after 15 minutes or so, and walks away. As far as I know, this defensive tac ...click for more

09.04.2007 - Opossum Teeth - Threat Display
Opossums have the most teeth of any mammal - 50 pointy teeth. When threatened, this slow critter often gapes its mouth open, exposing that mouth full of sharp teeth. It's just a threat display, however, and opossums very rarely bite. It's not that they lack aggressiveness, it's just that they're too stupid to even manage a bite - seriously! They just stand there with their mouths open. I've shoved thick leather gloves and sticks into this wide open mouth, and the animal does nothing. It doesn't bite. I guess it's just hoping that any aggressor will just back off at the sight of that ...click for more

05.23.2007 - Oppossum Capture
Oppossums can hang from their tails.  In fact, their tails are prehensile, which means that they can curl their tails and grip objects.  They primarily use this feature to aid in climbing and balancing in trees.  The truth is that they rarely actually hang from their tails.  There's really no need for it.  However, they can do it if they must, perhaps to catch themselves from a fall.  Thus, I am able to hold an oppossum by the tail with no harm to the animal.  This creature is fairly docile.  I've seen very few aggressive ones.  It's pretty safe to handle them this way.  However, I wouldn't ...click for more

03.17.2007 - Fight! Raccoon versus Opossum
Ladies and gentlemen! In the blue corner, weighing in at 11 pounds, making his debut fight, please welcome our challenger, Pete "I Don't Play Dead" Possum! And in the gold corner, weighing in at 14 pounds, our current champion, give it up for Ricky "Rocky" Raccoon! Touch paws gentlemen, I want a good, clean fight! There's the opening bell, I expect they'll just look at each other as always AND HOLY CRAP THEY'RE ABOUT TO TEAR EACH OTHERS THROAT OUT STOP THE FIGHT STOP THE FIGHT, in goes the metal divider, and it's all over a ...click for more

02.02.2007 - Animal Trapping
Every now and then, while animal trapping, I get a double catch.  Such was the case today, when I found two opossums in the same trap.  While this was a nice bonus, most of the time, I find no catches in my traps.  Not that I'm a lousy animal trapper, but that this is the way it goes.  Even the best trap set will yield no results for a variety of reasons.  Animal trapping isn't a simple matter, and a lot goes into successful trapping.  I'll now outline the five primary considerations when it comes to catching nuisance critters. Type Of Trap: Of the many wildlife traps available, ...click for more

11.25.2006 - Dead Animal Under the Floorboards
"I have a dead rat in my ceiling", the call began. The calls usually do not begin correctly. "Okay, I will come to your house and remove the dead rat" I said. I don't bother to tell the caller that he is possibly wrong. A bad smell in the home can mean a number of possibilities - 99% of the time it is in fact a dead animal. However, which animal might it be? Oh, this is where the delightful sleuthing and treasure hunt begins. In this case, I entered the attic, and smelled it right away. Thus, I knew that it probably wasn't a rat. Rats tend to die under the insulation, and the smell per ...click for more

09.24.2006 - Ugly Opossum
Some people think opossums are cute. Some people think they are ugly. In the case of this specimen, it's the folk in the ugly camp who are correct. This possum so ugly when it joined an ugly contest, they said "Sorry, no professionals." This possum so ugly just after it was born, its mother said "What a treasure!" and its father said "Yes, let's go bury it." This possum so ugly its fleas wear paper bags over their heads. I showed this photo to a friend of mine and said how ugly it was, and she agreed that the subject wasn't very cute, but that the critter looked fine, and I didn't ...click for more

08.12.2006 - Removal of a Dead Opossum in the Wall
I liked this job. I was called to this house due to the horrible odor. Sometimes the dead animal odor is faint, and this one aint. What's the past-tense of aint? Waint? Anyhow, as usual, I sniffed and I snuffed, searching for the dead animal. I had no attic space to investigate, so I had to keep my nose on the walls. The smell was strongest in the kitchen. It's usually pretty hard to pinpoint dead animals inside walls. But I'm really good at it. I found the wall with the strongest odor, and as luck would have it, I could make my incision from inside the kitchen closet, thereby making...click for more

06.15.2006 - Dead Baby Oppossums In Wall
First of all, I know that opossum is spelled with one "p", but a lot of internet searchers don't know this, so I decided to spell it with two p's, as in oppossum, or even opposum, which is also another common misspelling. Regardless, on this day, I removed three dead baby opossums from inside a wall. As usual, I entered a home that had a bad odor. I took a cursory stroll around the home in order to gain a sense of the area of strongest odor. I isolated it to a room or two, then jumped in the attic to look. Most commonly, the dead animal is somewhere in the attic. I ent ...click for more

04.16.2006 - Female Opossum With Babies on Her Back
This is one of the things that opossums are well-known for. A group of baby opossums clinging to the back of the mother opossum. This kind of thing is common at this time of year, mid-April, because the female possums have their young in the late winter and early spring, and by this point, the young are grown to a size large enough to spend most of their time outside of the pouch and clinging directly to the back of their mother. It's actually an interesting game of survival. The female opossum has 13 nipples. So at the very beginning, there's competit ...click for more

04.05.2006 - Removal of a Critter in the Attic
Sean and I went to this home today because the customer was hearing noises above his head, and he suspected that he had a critter in his attic.  We climbed the garage ladder hatch and entered the attic, with gloves, headlamps, and dust masks, as usual, and began our inspection.  We found plenty of tracks and opossum droppings, so we knew what critter we were dealing with.  Most of the time, we never actually spot the animals in the attic.  They quietly hide in the deepest darkest corners when they sense a potential danger, and they are tough to find. So that's ...click for more

03.27.2006 - Baby Possum
I made a baby possum sighting, so I grabbed it and got some fighting, both with scratching and with biting, so now I'll do some possum writing. Baby possum on my shoulder, he is young but I am older, I am shy but he is bolder, my shoulder is a possum holder.  Baby possum climbs on me, I am big but he is wee, he is too young to be set free, he and I will drink some tea.  Baby possum tiny tail, tiny hands sized to scale, little bones are thin and frail, he does not belong in possum jail.  Baby possum is a clinger, he hangs around upon my finger, from his tail he is a sw ...click for more

01.02.2006 - A Dead Opossum in the Ceiling
Some dead animal removal jobs are very challenging - they involve persnickety housewives who recoil at the smell of day-old milk, and can somehow sense a dead flea in the wall on the other end of the house. I arrive, can't smell anything above the scent of 50 sticks of incense and 30 lavender candles, but persist on until I find the littlest critter tucked away in some impossible to find god-forsaken back corner of the house, barely raising the slightest perceptible odor. Those are the lousy dead animal removal jobs. This one, this one was a pure pleasure. It was easy to ...click for more

12.16.2005 - Possum in a cage in an attic
This was a somewhat typical possum in the attic job. I went to a home to inspect regarding some noises in the attic.  When I got in the attic, it was easy to tell that the culprit was an opossum.  Possum droppings are very distinct. I inspected the roof and the soffits, and found a very large and easy entry point at one of the eave gaps.  I set some traps right at the hole on the roof, and sure enough, I'd caught two opossums the next morning.  It's rare to get two, but I knew that this meant that I was dealing with a winter denning group.  In the winter here in FL, multiple ...click for more

10.07.2005 - Animal In the House - Get it Out!
It usually starts with a late-night phone call. I'm one of the few wildlife trappers who 1)carries his phone with him at all times 2)answers it 24/7/365 3)has no life outside of wildlife removal to distract me. Thus, when that call does come in at 2:00 AM, I cheerfully answer it.  This particular call came in at midnight.  As usual, the caller didn't want to pay me to get out of bed, get dressed, and drive a half-hour away to remove the critter.  They never want to pay me.  That's okay, I don't mind, it's all part of the job. I simply tell them that they can come to my house when I get ...click for more

08.01.2005 - Animal on the Roof - Opossum
Most of my customers call me to complain about the noises that they hear an animal making. Most of the time, these noises are from animals living inside the attic or walls of a house. However, from time to time people hear animals scratching and clawing on the roof. I do many jobs in which I simply trap and remove animals that have a habit of spending time on the roof and making noise night after night. Some of the time these are animals that have incorporate a roof into their normal nighttime routine rout, but most of the time, the critter is on the roof because it is ...click for more

05.15.2005 - Possum Mother with Babies
This is one of the better nature photos that I've taken.  A customer called me, concerned about an opossum on their property.  They said that the opossum has been living under their shed for several months now, and it's driving their dog crazy.  The homeowner said that she has been reluctant to let her dog out when it's around, for fear that her dog will harm the mother opossum or the babies, or that the mother will attack the dog out of self-defense and to protect its young.  Thus, when she did let her dog out and the opossum went up in a tree and she felt that it cou ...click for more

04.21.2005 - Mystery Animal In a Tree
I have a very strange customer. Her name is Hilda. She calls me all the time. She won't leave me alone. She has problems. She hears things. She sees things. Then it becomes my problem, because I hear my phone and I see that it's her number calling me yet again so that she can talk my ear off about her latest wildlife problems. "David, David! This is Hilda! I am hearing them again, they are keeping me awake, they are making so much noise, David, you must come help me David!". Except that her voice is much more annoying than the voice you used in your own ...click for more

02.13.2005 - Tug-O-War With a Possum in the Attic
This customer was hearing noises in his attic every night.  He figured that it was a wild animal, and thus called me.  I asked the usual questions about the noises - time of day, volume, amount of scratching, amount of running, etc.  From his answers, I suspected an opossum.  Rats tend to scurry very fast through the attic and walls, and scratch.  Same for squirrels, minus the walls, but squirrels are active during the daytime, rather than the night.  Heavier, slower noises at night most likely means raccoon or opossum, and the lack of vocal noises indicated opossum ...click for more

10.24.2004 - Possum Photograph
I thought that this was a fine photo of an opossum. Possums are slow animals, and they have very tiny brains. They are not so smart. Thus, when they encounter trouble, sometimes they just kind of stand there. Sometimes they play dead, sometimes they open their mouth and bare their teeth, sometimes they try to run away, sometimes they grimmace (really), and sometimes they ...just stand there. That's what this one did. I was tasked with catching it, since it was hanging around the property and not leaving, and the homeowner was concerned that it might attack or ...click for more

10.07.2004 - Possum in a car engine
Wild critters get into all sorts of places my customers would rather not have them - in attics, garages, swimming pools, under porches, and so on. Well, from time to time wild animals get into real zany places, such as this opossum in a car engine! The homeowner left his car parked for two weeks or so without moving it, and then when he tried to start it up, it wouldn't start.  He said he noticed a faint odor, but tried to start it again, to no avail - no power at all.  He popped the hood and was in for a heck of a surprise when this toothy fellow lunged at him! The opossum had ...click for more

05.25.2004 - Animal in the Wall
If you hear scratching or clawing in your wall, and you think there's an animal stuck down there (what else could it be?  A wall gnome?) it's best to take care of the problem as soon as possible.  Many wild animals are excellent climbers, but most homes feature drywall, which is pretty slick and hard for most critters to climb.  Thus, if you don't do anything about the problem, the animal is either going to scratch and chew its way out of the wall and into your home, or it's going to die down there, and the odor will not be pleasant. Today I went to a house at which the ...click for more

04.14.2004 - Dead Opossum Under Mobile Home
I was very proud of this dead animal removal. The homeowners had called out a different company first, but they could not find it. They actually called two other companies, but the one guy was too fat to even get under the house, where the animal clearly was. Granted, the access hole was very small. I squirmed my way through the hole and started to crawl around. I had very little room because of the very large ductwork lining the area. I basically had to navigate my way through a maze of pipes and ducts, with no light, a bad smell, giant deadly spiders that w...click for more

01.13.2004 - Animal In the Wall - Opossum
This was a very interesting job. I arrived at a home to inspect for animals in the attic. The guys living in the house said that they heard all kinds of walking and scratching in the attic. The first thing I did was an external inspection of the house and roof. I couldn't find any area that animals could use to get inside. Yet when I entered the attic, I saw lot of tracks and tunnels and opossum droppings. I was doing my attic inspection, when I thought I heard a noise coming from down one of the walls. I was able to peek down the wall from the attic, and there was the culprit ...click for more

09.30.2003 - Possum Trapping
Here's one of the nuisance critters that I commonly deal with. It's the Virginia Opossum. These animals are common in Florida. They are nomadic scavengers, though they will set up homes in and around human structures. Females will commonly live in attics in the late spring and summer, if they have young. I've dealt with many such cases this past season. However, in the autumn, they are most just scavenging about, stocking up on food for the winter. Even though it doesn't get cold down here, it's still an instinct. This opossum was living under a pool ...click for more

08.29.2003 - Wildlife Trapping
"LET ME OUT!" bellowed the trapped opossum. "No!" I said. "YES!!!" hollered the critter. "Not until you're relocated to a state-approved wildlife preserve at least ten miles from your capture site!" I shouted. "OKAY!" said the opossum, "BUT COULD YOU AT LEAST GIVE ME A CIGARETTE WHILE I'M IN HERE?" True story. I am a nuisance wildlife trapper by trade.  I do not trap wild animals for the fur or the hides or the meat or for fun.  I am a professional wildlife control expert who solves problems between people and wild animals.  This means that I do prevention, ...click for more

06.16.2003 - Dumb Possum - How Smart Are Opossums?
I read in a wildlife book that the North American, or Virginia, Opossum has the smallest ratio of brain mass to body mass of ANY mammal in the world. I actually don't think that's true (armadillos for example seem to have teeny heads and big bodies), but I certainly do acknowledge that the possum's brain can't be very large, and that the animal doesn't use much of what it does have. Opossums are dumb! They're so dumb that they let their ears freeze off in the winter instead of seeking shelter. They're so dumb that I've chased them and they run into walls. ...click for more

04.27.2003 - Cute Baby Opossum in House
I went out at midnight to remove this little opossum from the bathroom of a home. I've already removed several small opossums from this house. The problem is that a female opossum has moved into the attic, and she has young with her. The little ones run all around as they explore their environment. Some of them find holes leading down walls, and down they climb! This house has several openings that lead into the house - basically, architectural gaps. Most homes have a few. The baby opossoms have been finding these areas and thus getting into the house. The ...click for more

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