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Animal In the Wall - Opossum

Opossum in wall

01.13.2004 - 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 - a very large opossum was at the bottom of the wall.

I wasn't sure if the animal fell down the wall and was stuck, or if it was able to climb up and down.  The walls are very smooth, and so I think it'd be very hard to climb up, but wild animals often find a way.  I was unable to snare it from the attic, because there was no room.  Thus, I went downstairs into the house, and sure enough, one of the guys living in the house told me that he'd heard noises coming from that area.

I put my ear to the wall and listened, and felt for warmth coming though the wall, and when I was sure where it was, I cut a hole in the wall about a foot above where the animal was.  It was easy pickings at that point, and I used my snare pole to loop it around the neck, and I pulled it out of the wall.  One of the customers took this photo of me pulling it out of the wall.  The opossum resisted, but I was able to get it out without any problem and stick it in a cage.  It was a big sucker!

I thought that the job was done when I left the home.  However, the guys kept hearing more noises, and so I went back to the home, and saw yet another opossum in the attic.  I set some traps in the attic, and over the next week, I removed three more opossums, for a total of four.

That surprised me quite a bit.  I've never seen more than one adult opossum in an attic at a time.  Most of the time its a single female with young.  I learned from this that in winter, such as January, adults will congregate in a single place, like a denning behavior.

The other interesting thing about this job was that I could not find any way the opossums got into the attic in the first place.  After a lot of searching and probing, I eventually discovered that one of the eave gaps lifted up, allowing entry, then fell back into place - much like a door that opens and closes.  So the opossums, as a group, opened the door into this attic, one of the animals fell down the wall, and then I removed them.  I wonder, if I hadn't, if they'd have gotten stuck in the attic or walls and died.  That would have been one hell of a stench!

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The opossum, (Didelphis virginiana) is a nocturnal animal that lives in North America. It is a marsupial, which means that the females give birth to tiny young, who grow in a pouch. These young eventually cling to the mother's back and drop off when they are large enough. Opossums are unique for many reasons. They have opposable thumbs, prehensile tails, 50 teeth, and several other unusual features. They are omnivores who eat almost anything, they have excellent immune systems, and they rarely live more than 2-3 years in the wild. They are most commonly considered a nuisance species when they live in an attic or other structure, such as under a shed, or steal pet food or threaten animals.

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