Pest Away Tips

5 Scents to Deter Opossums and Protect Your Garden

How to Deter Opossums from Your Garden with Scents

Are you tired of finding your backyard destroyed by opossums each morning? Do you dread opening your vegetable garden to find that your precious crops have suffered a brutal attack?

Opossums are nocturnal creatures that feed on a variety of foods, including insects, fruits, and vegetables. While they might seem cute and passive, their presence can result in significant damage to your garden and lawn.

In this article, we will explore how opossums behave and why they can be problematic. Additionally, we will explain how you can use scents to deter them from your property.

What Are Opossums? Opossums are North American marsupials that are active at night.

They have a distinct appearance, featuring a hairless tail, long snout, and sharp, pointy teeth. Opossums are known for their sense of smell, which is critical in finding food and shelter.

These creatures are not rodents, as some might mistake them. Instead, they are related to the kangaroo and koala.

Opossums are cute, and you might be tempted to approach them. But be warned; they will get defensive if they feel threatened.

Opossum Behavior

Opossums are not picky eaters, and as such, they can survive in a wide range of environments. They feed on insects, fruits, vegetables, and small animals such as mice.

Opossums are nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active at night. During the day, these creatures hide in dens, crevices, and other safe places.

You might also spot them scavenging in garbage cans. Opossums are attracted to food sources, and if they find a steady supply of food, they will return to the same place each night.

Opossums also are beneficial to have around the garden, as they eat ticks and can control insect populations. But, unfortunately, they can damage your lawn and ruin your crop.

Opossum as a Problem

One of the main complaints people have about opossums is their love for digging and burrowing, which can be incredibly destructive to your lawn and garden. Opossums will dig holes and tunnels in lawns and gardens, destroy plants, and eat fruits and vegetables.

Additionally, they can spread diseases and parasites, attracting predators such as snakes and foxes in search of an easy meal.

Using Scents to Deter Opossums

Scents can be a powerful way to deter opossums from your property. Opossums have a strong sense of smell and are quick to leave if they detect a scent they dislike.

These scents include strong essential oils like peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus. Other scents that opossums dislike are ammonia, cayenne pepper, and garlic.

Here are some methods you can try to deter opossums using scents they dislike.

Create a Scent Deterrent Spray

One way to deter opossums with scents is by creating a scent deterrent spray. To make this spray, you need to mix essential oils with water and spray it around your property.

The spray will create a scent barrier that opossums will avoid. You can also include cayenne pepper and garlic in the mixture, as opossums can’t stand these odors.

Here’s how to make the spray:

– Mix 2 cups of water with 10-15 drops of essential oils such as peppermint, lavender, or eucalyptus. – Add two tablespoons of cayenne pepper and two tablespoons of finely chopped garlic to the mixture.

– Stir the mixture well and pour it into a spray bottle. – Spray the mixture around your property, focusing on areas where opossums are known to frequent.

Plant Natural Deterrents

Another way to deter opossums using scents is by planting natural deterrents. Some plants release scents that opossums dislike, such as marigolds, geraniums, and lavender.

Planting these around your garden can create a barrier that will deter opossums. Additionally, opossums are known to avoid plants like onions and garlic.

Planting these around your garden can also provide an extra layer of protection.


Opossums can wreak havoc on your property, but using scents can be an effective way to deter them. These simple methods can protect your lawn and garden from opossums’ destructive behavior.

Try creating a scent deterrent spray or planting natural deterrents to keep these pesky creatures at bay. Remember, opossums are nocturnal animals, so it’s best to apply these methods at night and reapply as needed.

3) Opossum or Possum? Is There a Difference?

In North America, opossums and possums are two different animals that can easily be confused. Understanding the differences between the two can help prevent any confusion.

In Australia, where possums are native, possums may refer to a different animal than opossums found in the United States.

Differences Between Opossum and Possum

Opossums are often referred to as “possums” because of their similar appearance to the Australian possum. They are marsupials and the only marsupials found in North America.

Opossums are known for their furry tails, long snouts, and pointy teeth. Their fur can vary from gray to brown, and they can weigh up to 14 pounds.

Opossums also have a unique characteristic where they can play dead in response to danger. On the other hand, possums are typically found in Australia, where they are a native species.

Unlike opossums, possums have bare tails and are usually smaller in size. Possums also have a variety of colors, such as grey, black, and brown.

Possums are classified as arboreal, meaning that they spend most of their time living in trees.

Virginia Opossum

Virginia Opossums are the only type of opossum found in the United States. They are known for their long, pointed snouts and hairless tails.

Virginia Opossums have a grayish-white coat and are roughly the size of a cat. They typically weigh between 8 – 14 pounds.

People often see them as pests, but they can be beneficial to gardens and yards, as they consume insects, rodents, and carrion. 4) Why Are Opossums a Problem?

While opossums might be beneficial to have in your garden because of their appetite for insects and rodents, they can also become a nuisance. One of the most common problems with opossums is their attraction to food sources.

Opossums are omnivores, meaning that they eat both meat and plants. They enjoy fruits and vegetables from a backyard garden, as well as garbage and pet food.

Fruit Trees

Opossums can cause significant damage to fruit trees, particularly during the fall when fruit is ripening. Opossums climb the trees, causing damage to the tree itself while also eating the fruit.

Additionally, they may create dens in the tree, resulting in further damage to the tree. Opossums can also damage vegetables, such as beans, peas, and corn.

Final Thoughts

Opossums might be considered pests, but they play a vital role in the ecosystem. They consume a variety of insects and rodents, which helps control populations of pests.

While opossums can cause damage to gardens and fruit trees, using scents to deter them can be an effective solution. Understanding the differences between opossums and possums can help differentiate them when discussing them.

In conclusion, opossums and possums are similar-looking animals but are not the same and differ in several ways. In conclusion, proper understanding of opossums and their behavior can help mitigate problems caused by these creatures in your garden and lawn.

These furry creatures are nocturnal and are attracted to food sources, which makes gardens and fruit trees easy targets. However, using scents as a deterrent can provide a practical and effective solution to keep opossums away from your property.

It is also essential to note the differences between opossums and possums, to avoid any confusion, as certain characteristics distinguish them. Understanding the significance of opossums in the ecosystem and how to deal with them is valuable information to have when managing your garden.

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