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Do Possums Climb Fences? (How High Can They Climb?)

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Possums are interesting critters that most people rarely see even during the daytime. Just because you do not see them, however, does not mean they are not scaling your fence at night and perusing your yard.

Possums do climb fences, so do not think that a large fence will keep them off your property. They have excellent climbing skills despite their small size and rather short legs. Their strong feet allow them to scale things like trees and fences with ease.

Possums can climb all kinds of fences, however, there are some things you can do to deter this. If you want to keep possums off your property, learn more in this article about possums and their fence climbing abilities.

Juvenile Ringtail Possum on fence in backyard

How Do Possums Climb Fences?

Possums climb fences by using the strength in their legs and their uniquely strong hind feet. They also have what is a kind of prehensile tail that they use to keep their balance when climbing things like tree limbs and fences.

They have opposable toes on their hind feet, much like our thumbs. Possums use these thumb-like appendages as well as their wildly strong tails to help them maintain their balance and climb many different kinds of fences.

Without their tails and hind feet, possums would not be able to climb fences as well as they do.

How High Can Possums Climb?

Possums can climb incredibly high on trees, fences, and even small buildings. While there is really no limit on how exactly high they can climb, it all depends on what they are trying to accomplish.

Possums that are climbing fences to get to food will have no problem scaling a six to ten-foot fence. Do not make the mistake of thinking the fence in your yard is tall enough to keep out a hungry possum.

Possums climbing a tree to get away from danger or trying to reach a tall building can climb as high as needed. Not only can they climb, but they can also make small jumps off of things to reach what they are after.

What Kind of Fences Can Possums Climb?

Possums are able to climb any fence that has something for them to grasp. This means that possums can climb almost any regular yard fence.

Possums can climb wooden fences, chain-linked fences, woven-wire fences, paneled fences, and even concrete fences. There are very few types of fences that possums are unable to climb if they want to.

common brushtail possum standing near the tree

What Kind of Fences Are Possums Unable to Climb?

Possums have trouble climbing sheer or slick fences. They really need something, even something small, to grasp in order to continue climbing.

A possum is often unable to climb a fence made out of flat, sheer materials like tin or plastic. If they have absolutely nothing to grasp, they usually cannot climb it.

What Can I Do to Stop Possums From Climbing a Fence?

Besides constructing a sheer tin fence, you could consider adding solar lighting to your fence. This can be costly, but light sometimes deters possums as they are nocturnal and prefer moving around in the darkness. 

The best way to keep possums from climbing a fence is to try to make the yard less inviting. If possible, try to keep all possible possum food, including trash, in containers and less noticeable to passing possums.

Should I Use Barbed Wire to Stop Possums From Climbing My Fence?

Barbed wire is an effective method for keeping possums off of your fence, but it is not the most humane method. It can also be dangerous for your own animals, especially outdoor cats that may try to climb the fence.

Keep in mind that while it may be effective, it is a dangerous and unsightly option. Be sure to check local laws to make sure it is okay to add something like barbed wire to your fence.

5 Ways to Keep Possums Out of Your Yard and Off Your Fence

  1. Add a significant amount of lighting to your back yard. Possums avoid the light and if they see your yard is bright, it may deter them altogether.
  2. Get a good outside dog to keep possums out of the yard. Just a dog’s presence in the yard will usually keep possums at bay.
  3. If you have a garage or building, consider storing garbage cans in there until collection day. The smell of the garbage is often a possum attractant.
  4. Reconsider having bird feeders or feeding birds in your yard. The bird seed is a tasty food for possums and it will attract them to your yard.
  5. Tend to gardens daily to keep possums from scavenging fallen vegetables. Possums prefer to snatch up fallen vegetables as opposed to those still on the plant.
Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) hiding from a wooden cage on the tree

What Other Things Do Possums Climb?

Possums can and will climb anything that they need to in order to reach safety or, mainly, to find food. They will climb trees to get away from predators, to eat bird eggs out of nests, and to eat the birdseed out of bird feeders.

Possums will also climb trash cans and trash dumpsters to scavenge for food. They have no problem climbing tall back porches, even if you put up a dog gate to keep out animals.

Although it is not common, nor is it something many people want to imagine, possums can climb houses and get into attics. Make sure there is absolutely no way for a possum to enter your house, especially up high in older homes where attic access is more possible.


Although they do not look like they could, possums can climb fences and they will if there is something they want or need on the other side.

The best way to keep possums off your fence and out of your yard is to simply make it less attractive for them.


Learning about possums and their innate ability to climb was an enlightening journey. I used these sources to research this article.

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