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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Opossums in the Wall
Mother opossums tend to go into attics to birth their young. After a short period, their babies will run around and often get stuck between walls. Unfortunately, most homeowners often don't realize this until the opossum dies behind the trapped walls and a bad odor begins to permeate the entire house. When this occurs, living conditions can be very uncomfortable and even unsafe due to the toxic chemicals emitting from the carcass and the feces of the animal. It is important to stay vigilant whenever you hear or suspect that an animal might be behind your walls. Take action immediately! Either call a professional to come out as quickly as possible or handle it yourself.

Getting Opossums Out of Walls
While opossums enjoy moving behind walls, they much rather prefer to nest in places like attics, sheds, and basements. They often birth their young in these places and will commonly return to spend more time in these dark, hard to reach environments. At the same token, there are many documented cases where opossums are found inside of walls. They are either stuck or just comfortably living in the space. Baby opossums especially are notorious for falling from their attic nesting grounds and into walls. When this happens, they normally need assistance getting out of there. They depend on their mothers to come to get them or if there are wires and cables around, they will use them as climbing tools when strong enough to do so.

An opossum behind your walls can cause several problems. The animals will scratch and squeal as they struggle to get out of the incredibly tight space. Even worse, if a female opossum finds a comfortable spot inside of your walls, it will most likely have babies and keep them there as well. The worst-case scenario in a situation like this is when the animal dies inside the walls of a house. It can cause a strong uncomfortable stench. Additionally, there are concerns about harmful parasites, diseases, and other pathogens that can spread directly to family and loved ones including pets.

To get an opossum out of your wall there are a few solutions dedicated to the existing situation. If there is an opossum stuck inside your walls and it has no other way out then you might have to cut a hole in the wall to physically and manually remove the opossum. This can be a complicated and dangerous job, therefore, it is recommended that you hire a professional wildlife control company to handle this. If you decide to do it yourself, you will want to automatically avoid using traps or repellents as those methods would be completely useless and irrelevant.

In order to begin cutting a hole in the wall, you will want to find the exact location of where the animal is before you begin cutting. Avoiding this crucial step can lead to a lot of damage to your wall and in some cases can even cause your entire wall to come down as a result because of poor preparation and planning. To identify the exact section of the wall where the opossum is trapped, listen carefully to the constant and mild movement, as well as scratching sounds. It may be beneficial to press your ears directly against the wall when looking to find the location of the animal. This will help you get a better sense of where the animal might be. It is also important to exercise caution when making the cut, so you don't harm the animal stuck inside the wall.

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