Why Do Opossums Die Under Houses?

Among the larger pest animals that can find their way into the dark and hidden corners of domestic houses, opossums are an inquisitive creature that is more common in the north east of the United States, but can be found in much of the country. They are best known for their habit of playing dead if they feel under threat, while their adaptable digestive system means they have been able to thrive in urban areas as well as their natural rural habitat. Because it can be quite a large animal, having a dead opossum under the house can be a problem as it will draw other pest animals, and can also lead to the pervasive smell of decay through the house.

The Nesting Spots Of The Opossum

When an opossum is looking for a new nesting spot, it isn't particularly picky about the places it will create a nest, and generally it will look for somewhere that is relatively warm and dark so that it isn't exposed to other animals. For this reason, the cavities beneath decking, porches and domestic properties are fairly common places for an opossum to create a nest, and it will try to scavenge some materials to make it comfortable. It is also possible for opossums to find their way into other parts of a property such as outbuildings and even attics, so don't assume that all opossum activity will be beneath a house.

Reasons For An Opossum Dying Under The House

There are a range of reasons that opossums may die beneath a property, and although they are not particularly prone to disease, ill health or injury can be one reason, as an opossum will try to retreat to its nest to recover if hurt. In some cases the animal may also have been poisoned or have eaten food that have poisoned it, and this can also lead to the opossum dying beneath the property. Because the opossum is common in the northern areas of the country, in some areas exposure to cold weather can also kill the opossum in some cases, as relatively few of these animals live to die of old age.

Will There Be Other Opossums Present?

Opossums are generally solitary creatures, apart from during the mating season, so for the majority of the year if you find a dead opossum under the house then it is unlikely that there will be other opossums present. However, the spring is when the majority of opossums give birth, and while they will be in their mother's pouch for a couple of months, in the late spring and early summer, you may find baby or juvenile opossums near a dead female opossum. In this case, it is important that you deal with the baby opossums as well as removing the dead opossum, otherwise they will also die under the house and cause further problems which you will need to deal with.

Preventing Opossums From Nesting Beneath The House

When it comes to avoiding having an opossum living under your property, once you have removed the dead animal there are plenty of steps that you can take to prevent such infestations from happening again in the future. The key step is to prevent the animals from getting in, and a sturdy wire mesh located around the bottom of the house, covering any gaps should do a good job of keeping out such animals. When you are installing such a mesh, make sure that you do have a suitable number of panels that can be removed, so that if you need to carry out any maintenance then you don't need to cut through the mesh to get in to the cavity.

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