How to Get a Possum Out of My Attic

Elizabeth Chaplin

Opossums are marsupial omnivores that are common in many areas. Also known as possums, these slow-moving, ratlike creatures often scavenge garbage cans and dumpsters for food and, for the most part, are harmless.

Possums are normally quiet animals, but they can be a nuisance.

When a possum takes up residence in an attic, however, removing it is essential to avoid damage to the home. A possum may decide to move into an attic for several reasons: It’s a warm place, it provides shelter and it even provides a food source in some cases. Trapping and relocating a possum can lead to the animal’s death, due to the fact that it cannot find food or shelter in unfamiliar territory. Instead, use a method to discourage the possum out of an attic.


Mothballs can be used instead of rags soaked in ammonia. If you’re not sure whether or not the possum has left the attic, sprinkle some flour on the attic flour near an opening. Check the flour over the next couple of days for footprint tracks. If all of the footprints lead out of the opening, the possum has left.


Verify that no possum offspring are in the attic before you seal entries. It may be advantageous to allow the mother possum to raise her offspring, and then use the method to discourage them from staying.

  1. Remove food attractants from around the affected house. This includes low-to-the-ground bird feeders and pet food bowls that are outdoors.

  2. Clip one or two high-wattage clip-on lights in the attic. Bright lights discourage possums and most pest mammals.

  3. Soak rags in ammonia, and scatter them in the attic. Although this will give the attic a noxious odor for some time, it will discourage the possum from nesting in the attic.

  4. Set up a radio in the attic, and use it to play loud music 24 hours per day. Loud sounds will make the attic an undesirable habitat for a possum.

  5. Nail hardware mesh over all cracks and spaces after the possum leaves the attic. The mesh will keep the possum from getting back in the attic and force it to find shelter elsewhere. It is very important that the possum leaves the attic before you seal cracks and spaces.