Scratch, scratch, scratch. Something in the attic is trying to get your attention. Now that your curiosity is up, you need to know who’s the uninvited visitor. You slowly enter and what do you see? A mess, chewed belongings and sometimes even the furry burglar in the act – the possum itself!

The main culprits are usually one of the two species of possums: the common brushtail possum – as large as a cat with a big bushy tail, and the common ringtail possum – smaller in size with a bare curled tail. Both of them are adorable little critters but don’t be fooled by their big innocent eyes! They can cause a lot of problems in a household.

Why you should get rid of possums as fast as you can:

  • Diseases – They can carry diseases like Buruli ulcer and Tularemia and spread them through urine, droppings and fleas;
  • Fleas – Possible flea carriers and potential danger for your pets and kids even without the infectious diseases;
  • Stress for the pets around the house – The possums invade their territory and make constant noises at night which drives pets crazy;
  • Property damage – They can chew cardboard, insulation, electrical cables and munch on your garden plants.
In this article:

Signs of a possum infestation

Of course, the fastest way to find out you have a possum problem at home is either to see one face-to-snout or catch it with a surveillance camera. If you only suspect there’s a possum around, you need to do a little bit of investigation. It’s important to identify the animal as it can be a pest like a rat or a mouse. That will determine what measures you need to take.

Signs of possums to look out for:

  • Noises – They’re noisy little fellas. They can be vocal and growl, grunt, screech and hiss. Other noises they make come from scratching and knocking things down at night (when they’re most active), usually in roof cavities;
  • Droppings and urine – You can find possum droppings and urine stains. The brushtail possum’s droppings are from dark green to brown and with the size of an olive. The ringtail possum’s droppings are from dark brown to black and around 1 cm long. You can find them in different places – on the balcony, in the guttering, on garden tables, etc. It’s hard to find the difference between possum and rat droppings but in case you find either, you might want to call a pest control company right away;
  • Chewed electrical wiring – Like any rodents, possums love chewing on things that they shouldn’t. You definitely have a rodent problem if you find chewed electrical cables. This can create a fire hazard and your household might end up with no electricity;
  • Trees and flower damage in the garden – Possums love munching on plants, even decorative ones. The problem is even more apparent if you have fruit trees in your garden.

How to get rid of possums in a natural way

For some reason, possums are highly attracted to human housing even if there are hollow trees available for nesting. Since nobody really knows what exactly draws them to our homes, the best we can do is to make an educated guess and follow some simple steps to make them go away. That needs to happen in a cruelty-free way.

warning

According to the Wildlife Act 1975, it’s illegal to trap, harm, kill possums or keep them as pets. Only professionally trained experts can capture and then release them and that should happen in no more than 50 meters from the location they’ve been captured at. You can read more here.

So how can you get the possums to leave your property?

Remove food sources

Possums’ natural diet includes mainly (but not solely) eucalyptus leaves which are not very rich in protein. To survive they need other food like fruit, seeds, insects or, you know, something out of your trashcan. Their diet has become so generalised from living in the cities they can feed off your food scraps and thrive. So what can you do? Cover your compost piles, close the lids of your trashcans and clean up after a barbecue. This way you avoid other pest infestations too.

Block off access points

If you have trouble with possums in your house, start by inspecting the place to find how they got in. If they’re in your attic, they might have found a small entry point under the roof or they might have even chewed their way in. Before sealing the entry points, wait for the possums to get out on their own. That’s usually at night when they’re most active. You can install cameras to monitor their activity which will also help you in case you can’t find the access point.

Make a possum repellent

Possums have very specific preferences for taste and smell. According to DELWP, you can make a DIY repellent by mixing 2 tablespoons of freshly crushed garlic in 1 litre of hot water. Leave it overnight and after that spray it on plants in the garden to deter the possums from munching on them.

Possum-proof your garden

Not much can be done to keep possums away from your garden as it’s harder to control what’s happening out in the open. But there are a few things you can do:

  • Install motion-activated sprinkles. Install them near windows or where you suspect the possums get in. Eventually, they will get the point and move to another location.
  • Plant possum-repelling plants. Protect your garden from becoming possum food by planting mint, chrysanthemums and geraniums. Their strong smell (and possibly taste) keeps the possums away.
  • Sprinkle pet hair around the garden. You can collect your pets’ hair and sprinkle it around the garden. The possums sense that as a predator threat and won’t usually lurk around much.
  • Trim branches near your house. Trim overhanging branches within at least 1.5 meters near your house, as possums can use them to get to your roof.
  • Upgrade your fencing. While a tall fence can keep most critters away, possums are great climbers, which means you need a special kind of fence to keep them out. Floppy wire fences are designed to do that in a very effective and low-tech way. They bend when the possums climb them, making it impossible for the critter to get in.

… Or install nest boxes

Yes, you read that right. You can make peace with the possum by installing a nest box up in a tree in your yard. This way the possum won’t have the necessity to search shelter in your house. Nest boxes are commercially available or if you have the will you can make one on your own. DELWP Victoria shows you how here.

If you decide to install nest boxes – do not feed the possums with scraps! Human food can be dangerous for possums and can cause them dietary imbalance.

Call a professional pest controller

If all of the above sounds like too much hassle, you can always call a professional possum catcher to take care of your problem. Choose a pest controller that is trained and licensed in possum control. They know how to deal with a possum quickly and in a humane way without harming it.

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Takeaways

  • Ensure it’s a possum and not another kind of a rodent like a mouse or a rat.
  • Monitor the activity to see when it’s on the property and when it’s out.
  • Seal the entrance holes while it’s away.
  • Prevent further problems by covering trash cans and compost piles.
  • Take additional measures by proofing your garden.
  • Call a licensed professional possum catcher to help you out.

Are you having a possum problem? How did you take care of it? Tell us in the comment section below!

    Posted in All Articles, Pest Issues

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