Can Possums Climb Over Your Fence

can possums climb
Yes, possums are excellent climbers and can climb over your fence. These marsupials can quickly scale fences, trees, and other tall structures.

One of the struggles of homeownership is the never-ending battle to keep your property free of pests. Day in and day out, a war is waged to keep critters like raccoons, squirrels, and opossums from taking over your yard and garden.

These animals are all cunning and resourceful. If there’s a reason for them to scale your walls, such as a rich food source, they will find a way to get into your yard and wreak havoc.

That said, not all pests are created equal. Some mammals, like raccoons, are excellent climbers. They can deftly scale vertical walls and reach high places with ease. Other animals, like moles, prefer burrowing their way into your property.

And if you do live in a place where there’s an abundance of possums, you might be wondering if these marsupials are good climbers too. Perhaps they’re the scavenger raiding your fruit trees or eating your food scraps.

possum crawling on fencing

Can Possums Climb Over Trees or Fences?

Yes, possums are good climbers and can climb over trees and fences. This is possible, despite their short legs, because they have extra sharp claws that help them grip onto surfaces.

They also have opposable thumbs on their hind and front feet, giving them extra dexterity and grip. Their prehensile tail also helps them balance while climbing trees and branches.

While these animals are adept at scaling chicken wire, chain link fences, and other barriers—sheer walls can stop them in their tracks. A 1.5-meter (5 foot) high wall with smooth surfaces is typically enough to deter a possum from trying to climb over.

Can Opossums Jump?

Possums can jump from a high place and land on their feet without getting injured.

They’re not particularly agile jumpers and can only leap for short distances—about 3 feet at a time. This is due to their relatively short legs and stocky bodies.

That said, they are one of the best tree climbers in North America. If your property has trash cans with food scraps around, these critters and skunks can climb your fence to reach this food source.

Opossum sniffing with its nose in the air in dried grass

What Fence Is Best to Keep Opossums Away?

If you want to keep opossums from rummaging your garbage cans, there are four types of fences you can install to keep these pests at bay:

  • Overhang fences
  • Fence spikes
  • Tree guards
  • Electric fences

Overhang Fences

An overhang fence is a barrier preventing animals from getting a foothold to climb over. The tip of this fence curves like an arch.

This makes it difficult for possums to grip onto the surface and pull themselves over despite their strong feet. This fencing can be supplemented by adding concrete or metal footings extending a meter upward from the base of the fence.

Fence Spikes

Fence spikes are sharp, metal points that can be affixed to the top of your fence.

These make it difficult and dangerous for animals to climb over without getting impaled. These spikes aren’t meant to hurt animals but rather to deter them from trying to scale your fence.

Tree Guards

Tree guards are metal or plastic barriers that surround the trunks of trees. These prevent animals from climbing up and reaching the branches, which they can use as a jumping-off point to scale your fence and property.

Electric Fences

Finally, electric fences are a barrier that delivers a mild electric shock to animals touching them. This jolt isn’t fatal or harmful, but it’s enough to deter animals from trying to cross the fence.

Fences may be combined with other types of fencing, such as overhang electric fences, to create a multi-layered barrier that’s more effective at keeping opossums away.

opossum looking back in a pile of dried leaves

No matter what type of fence you do choose, inspect it regularly for holes and gaps. These need to be repaired quickly, as they can provide a weak point that animals can exploit to get into your property.

Possums are nocturnal animals, so you often won’t find them during the day. However, the damage they can do to your property is significant, so it’s best to get rid of them as soon as possible.

If you see a possum in your yard, it’s best to contact a pest control specialist. They can help you remove the animal safely.

Joshua Munoz

Most people’s first instinct when they see a wild skunk is to back away, but not Joshua. He holds a near-obsessive fascination with skunks and their behavior. Although Joshua has never been closer than five feet to a skunk, he has spent countless hours researching them. He knows almost everything there is to know about skunks, from their diet and habitat, to how to humanely trap them. Joshua’s interest in skunks is rooted in his love of animal biology. He fondly remembers topping his finals in biology class while in university. Now, as a writer, he fuses passion and expertise into one by sharing his knowledge about the animal kingdom with others.

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