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Arrggghh...Possum in the barn!

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  • Arrggghh...Possum in the barn!

    Went down to the barn for my nightly check and turn off the lights, put on any blankets needed, etc and in the cat food dish there is a POSSUM! They are all over the place here and of course they worry me because of EPM. It was a fairly young one, about half grown, he backed up and hissed at me with those pointy teeth. I got the broom and chased him, thought he'd run out but no, he ran into the FEED ROOM! Cats thought they'd go after him, so I got them out and shut the door. Came to house and hubby went and got live trap and set up in feed room, so I guess we will find out if possum for dinner tomorrow night! Just kidding!! We will trap and take him about 5 miles down the road and turn lose, I hate killing things, and he won't come THAT far back (although I am sure there are dozens of them out there!) We have EVERY kind of wildlife out here and I like it, even if they can be high risk like Possums, can't do much about them unfortunately

  • #2
    Yeah, take him five miles down the road and he will be back.

    Save yourself some trouble and kill him. They reproduce like rabbits and can carry lots of diseases (EPM Rabies.....)--disgusting animals.
    If you have one--the rest of the family is close around, waiting the report of what available in the form free food. Kill him and then plan on killing the rest.


    • #3
      Originally posted by jcotton View Post
      Yeah, take him five miles down the road and he will be back.

      Save yourself some trouble and kill him. They reproduce like rabbits and can carry lots of diseases (EPM Rabies.....)--disgusting animals.
      If you have one--the rest of the family is close around, waiting the report of what available in the form free food. Kill him and then plan on killing the rest.
      They don't carry rabies, or extremely rarely anyway, their body temperature is too low.


      • #4
        Originally posted by jcotton View Post
        Yeah, take him five miles down the road and he will be back.

        Save yourself some trouble and kill him. They reproduce like rabbits and can carry lots of diseases (EPM Rabies.....)--disgusting animals.
        If you have one--the rest of the family is close around, waiting the report of what available in the form free food. Kill him and then plan on killing the rest.

        Would make a whole lot better sense to feed the cats where the possoms can't get the feed.

        People who want to kill everything just cause it's there make me sad.

        We were leaving cat food out and possoms appeared. LOTS of them.
        Started feeding cats and then taking up the food and POOF...no more possoms.
        You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.


        • #5
          Lock up your cat food, or feed only while you are there.

          You are lucky that you haven't added skunks and raccoons to your wild life menagerie.
          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


          • #6
            We have them everywhere, usually throwing themselves in front of cars! In all my years here( 30) i've only once had them in my barn. Actually there were three babies in one of the stalls. They were tiny and scared and piled on top of each other in a corner of the stall. No Mom around that I could see. I left for a few hours and they were gone when I returned and haven't seen one on the property since. I'm sure they are around and maybe having the dogs with me when I go out there keeps them out of sight.


            • #7
              It helps a ton to feed barn cats up on some high shelf. At our barn, for example, the cat's food is on top of a five foot tall bookshelf, which kitty gets to by jumping onto a four foot wall, balancing along the top, then jumping up onto the shelf, or by climbing along the rafters and jumping down onto a stall-wall, then down onto the shelf.

              Possums are somewhat nimble, but not nearly as nimble as cats.

              If you feed in an accessible place like on the floor first you'll have possums and then skunks and raccoons.


              • Original Poster

                Well whether or not we feed the cats we will have possums in this part of the country. They are very prevalent. This youngster was caught last night in a live trap and relocated about 10 miles away in an area where there are no horse farms. Sorry, but I cannot justify killing a wild animal. We have fed the cats in the same location for two and a half years and first possum to come into the barn, he was young and not "wary" and the cats DIDN't Like it! But we have everything here, racoons we see all the time, grondhogs, saw a big one today, coyotes are everywhere, you learn to live WITH them.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                  Lock up your cat food, or feed only while you are there.

                  You are lucky that you haven't added skunks and raccoons to your wild life menagerie.
                  I only feed my cats when I am in the barn and around, and much to my surprise we had a very very brave raccoon that thought he could eat the cat food while I was standing 15 feet away cleaning stalls.

                  That was a big surprise to me and the barn kitties


                  • #10
                    Possums used to try to eat my bantam chickens (only on rainy nights) when I was growing up and the best possums hounds around were my father's 2 llewellyn setters who would climb the fence to get up into the tree where he bantams roosted. No possums or raccoons or turtles entered our property,including the stables, but all dogs and cats were invited in by the setters.) Daddy would shoot possum, and the servants who lived next door would come over and take possum for their own dinner.

                    Possums don't often get rabies as they are more solitary animals than are coons, but they are a vector for EPM and should be discouraged, either by trapping or by not feeding cats in the barn (and definitely not feeding horses out in paddocks with their grain on their hay as a lot of people do down south) or by having a very possessive barn dog or dogs. Rescuing a dog or dogs will do 2 good things: save a dog's life and keep possums out of the barn.

                    I once boarded at a barn where over 30 raccoons came down every afternoon to eat with the horses who ate their grain on their hay (not my 2) despite the best efforts of the elderly border collie and the then barn cat now my house cat Tobey.


                    • #11
                      We have possums in our area as well. I relocated one last winter but know there are others; I've seen the prints in my arena.

                      My research on them, however, suggested that aside from the potential for EPM, they are otherwise very useful and benign little animals - eating slugs and snails, small rodents and large insects. Very rarely carry rabies, very rarely bite humans despite their hiss and pointy teeth. Sadly, though, as horse owners we do have to worry about EPM, so I can't enjoy them.

                      I just try to discourage them from staying around. One was sleeping in my manure pile last winter and I prodded him with the manure fork and he shuffled off. Apparently they will move on to new places if they don't get a good supply of food...so if you can keep the cat food out of reach they may move on.

                      Good luck.


                      • #12
                        Disease may be a concern, but I feel it needs to be placed in perspective. We're not around to watch our animals 24/7 and it's likely that they come in contact with wild critters. They live outside, or in a barn (which is typically open), so their contact with potentially diseased animals is higher (I would expect) than we anticipate.

                        Instead of focusing on how to get rid of the critters, which is unrealistic and ineffectual, learn how to deter them. Keeping a clean feed room with closed containers is a simple way to do so.

                        Relocation is not often advised. Articles detailing why:


                        As others have mentioned, possums are one of the wild animals least likely to carry disease. While, yes, there is the EPM issue...again...perspective...

                        Other predators (including barn cats!) serve as intermediary hosts, not just possums. Younger horses are more affected, and considering the protozoa is passed through feces, it's likely that many horses have prior exposure and some level of antibodies against the parasite through grazing on affected pasture.

                        http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=14177 (under The Final Tally)

                        Wildlife should not be seen as some insidious pest that needs to be killed or relocated. As the higher species, humans should learn how to adapt and use creative (humane) methods to do so.
                        Roo & Lulu


                        • #13
                          Well, to see if he returns, you might spray some color on him. My friend was nice at first, hauled them FARRR away. She was kind hearted then. Didn't notice any reduction in varmints getting into things. Then there were the dead chickens too, making her really unhappy. I suggested she spray some paint on their tails. They were the same ones right back within 24 hours! That is some traveling for the little devils!

                          After that she killed them. You can't be nice, they just know that food is available and act rude tearing stuff up. Her dog killed a number of them too, but he is in the house at night. Varmints are just nasty to have around. We put the cat food out, they have an hour to eat, then it gets picked up when I leave. You still get the varmints coming thru without food down. Barns are nice places to stay!


                          • #14
                            I don't have cat food outside. A possum apparently committed hara kiri the night before last by coming into my giant dog pen. I found the body yesterday evening. I was not sad.
                            Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
                            Now apparently completely invisible!


                            • #15
                              I've heard a lot of people who said cats were also vectors for the EPM protozoa, but I've yet to hear of a cat inflected down here. And, the problem with possums is that like birds, they eat grain that is dropped in paddocks and even in stalls, and they defecate right there, so when the horse picks up grain, he comes in contact with possum feces (and ingestion, and exposure to EPM). So even if cats are vectors, and I'm yet to be convicted of that, burying their feces and not defecating in grain horses have dropped on the ground is much less likely with cats than with possums.

                              Most of our horses down south have been "exposed" to EPM. When a horse at our first boarding barn came down with EPM (he was fed his "lunch" in his paddock on his hay.), I called my vet and he said that something like 2/3 or 3/4 of all horses here in SE GA would test positive for exposure.

                              Hmmmmmm color coded possums? That's funny. I have "relocated" some wild animals over to skidaway island, where the ponds and woods have abundant food (and where the yankees have all retired.)

                              I don't advocate killing every animal that comes around, however, when there is a direct link between possums and EPM in horses, if you cannot keep possums away by any other method, then they have to go. Anyway, I spent many years trying to keep possums from eating my bantam chickens, so I'm not really a fan of possums. The coons here did not go after bantams for some reason.


                              • #16
                                We feed the outside cats up high well out of reach of the opossums and our feed room is always clean and locked where critters can't get into it. We still see the occasional opossums, but we do live on a 2,200 acre farm....

                                Last night I went to let the puppy out for the last time around 11:30 and there was one in our garage. I know that some will disagree, but i dealt with him just like we do with all the others.... IMO, the EPM risk is enough to warrant that.... and waking up the inlaws 150 meters down the road, lol.
                                "There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots."
                                -Member of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique!


                                • #17
                                  FYI - in some states it is against the law to relocate them. I for one think it is cowardly to do so - why make it someone else's problem? It is not kind, but cruel to do so anyway. I do understand that it is easier.

                                  Either live with them, taking some precautions like picking up the cat food, kill them, or call an exterminator to deal with them. But please - think twice about relocating any wild animal.


                                  • #18
                                    It's certainly been common in years past to kill whatever nuisance wildlife is around, but I would hope that this perception changes.

                                    No one person takes care of wildlife, and as such, it's under a great burden from increasing suburbanization, feral cats, environmental pollution of all sorts, and apparently people who find no fault in disposing of whatever wild animal happens to inconvenience them.

                                    If someone loses a chicken, it's just a chicken, right? Easily replaceable, so what's the big deal? Increasing the safety of livestock through better fencing and other means is the common sense answer. There are a plethora of resources on how to do this via Google. Killing a possum because it's just a possum, and there are plenty of them (and it ate a chicken), shouldn't be an excuse.

                                    Forgive my post, but I am appalled at the sheer number of people who think it's perfectly acceptable to dispose of problem wildlife with nary a thought. This is an issue that is widespread and epidemic. A particular species of animal doesn't exist in a vacuum. There's a biological role it plays, and wildlife isn't infinitely adaptable.
                                    Roo & Lulu


                                    • #19
                                      We have one here too. No food out for him to reach so no sure why he is around. Keeps pooping in one of the stalls. I do not want to kill it but just would like it to leave. Found it the other night and chased it out of the barn and it was scared of me and ran but other than that I do not know what to do.

                                      Anybody know of anything that deters them from coming into a barn?
                                      I love cats, I love every single cat....
                                      So anyway I am a cat lover
                                      And I love to run.


                                      • #20
                                        Just a chicken? My bantams all had names and were pets.........and were zealously guarded by my father's dogs (once they learned not to retrieve them, setters, you know think all birds must be delivered to their owners.)
                                        And doesn't OP have a horse just diagnosed with EPM?
                                        And anyone who has a possum defecating in a stall is looking right in the face of EPM protozoa being ingested by the horse who is stalled there. Sweep up all grain. Dogs are about the only deterrent to possums in a barn.