Should I trap and relocate opossums? in Massachusetts | Opossum

Should I trap and relocate opossums?

Transport and release of opossums is illegal in most states and is not recommended because survival of released animals is often severely reduced and can result in the creation of new problems near the release locations.

Opossums are not particularly wary and are relatively easy to live trap. Use box or cage traps (7-inch x 7-inch x 24-inch) and bait them with cat food, fish, fruit, or marshmallows. Set traps at dusk, near dens or in areas frequented by problem opossums.

Animal-proof any opening that may provide escape refuge prior to releasing trapped opossums on your property. Cover openings with sturdy galvanized wire or hardware cloth attached to the lower edge and buried underground, slanting outward one to two feet.

Very young opossums stay in the female's pouch, but, when older, cling to her back or remain close by. Anyone trapping during the breeding seasons should check for young that may have fallen off or been left behind. Either delay trapping until young are independent enough to be trapped or ensure the entire litter can be removed.

For assistance in resolving human-wildlife conflicts involving opossums contact a licensed wildlife control operator in your area.

Laws and regulations to be aware of

Regulations for Massachusetts

Relocation of Wildlife

No person shall transport any fish or wildlife species in Massachusetts. 

Exceptions to transporting and liberating wildlife in Massachusetts include: (a) Permitted Massachusetts wildlife rehabilitators may transport within Massachusetts and liberate rehabilitated wildlife; (b) a permitted Massachusetts problem animal control agent may liberate problem animals at the site of capture, or may transport within Massachusetts such animals to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or for the purposes of euthanasia.

Killing of Wildlife by Owner or Tenant of Land

Under Mass.General Law 131, Section 37, a property owner or tenant of land may hunt or take by other means, except by poison or snare, any mammal which he finds damaging his property, provided that such killing is not contrary to any federal law or regulation.  Animals killed under this law, must be reported to authorities within 24 hours.

Trap Types Restricted in Massachusetts

A person shall not use, set, place, maintain, manufacture or possess any trap for the purpose of capturing furbearing mammals, except for common type mouse and rat traps, nets, and box or cage type traps, as otherwise permitted by law. A box or cage type trap is one that confines the whole animal without grasping any part of the animal, including Hancock or Bailey's type live trap for beavers. Other than nets and common type mouse or rat traps, traps designed to capture and hold a furbearing mammal by gripping the mammal's body, or body part are prohibited, including steel jaw leghold traps, padded leghold traps, and snares.

Legal, Regulated Trapping

The use of legal, regulated, trapping by licensed trappers can be useful for reducing local wildlife populations and can help reduce nuisance problems in Massachusetts.

While we attempt to provide guidance about state and federal regulations pertaining to specific species and control techniques, we do not provide information about local jurisdictions (city, town, county, etc.) where regulations may be more restrictive, especially as it applies to discharge of firearms, transport of animals or use of trapping equipment. Contact your local city or county government to inquire further. No guarantee is made that information (or lack of information) associated with a species or control technique is completely accurate or current. You should become familiar with federal, state and local laws before beginning any wildlife control activities.

Was this solution helpful?

Yes No