Possum Boxes at your Home
Create a home for an endangered species.
Possum boxes are routinely installed in native trees to create additional nesting options for the Western Ringtail Possum, and provide greater protection from predation from cats, dogs, owls and crows at times when their natural habitat is removed or severely degraded.
Possum boxes are also installed in trees to encourage possums from roofs and living in buildings, and for research, rehabilitation and educational purposes. These actions will help provide an alternative home for the critically endangered Western Ringtail Possum.
Possum boxes can be installed yourself or by a professional arborist in backyards where cats and dogs are contained at night. They are relatively easy to construct out of wood, hanging baskets or plant pots, or you can order one from the Busselton Men’s Shed; 555 Roe Terrace Busselton or call 0438 166 694.
When installing a Possum Box;
- Choose a suitable tree greater than 10 years old preferably without hollows or dreys. The tree must be alive – no dead trunks. Ideally choose its known food source i.e Peppermint Trees- Agonis flexuosa. In the absence of a suitable Peppermint Tree, Marri, Jarrah, Tuart or a known habitat tree can be used.
- Place the box 4m or higher above ground amongst the branches and leaves to provide protection when the possum emerges from predators such as owls.
- Do not place the box on the main trunk, as this can be climbed by goannas/cats etc. Rather, place the box out in the branches of the tree.
- Attach box to tree using wire inserted through old hose (to protect tree) or plastic coated clothesline (available from hardware stores). Black, stretchy tree tie (from revegetation suppliers) or old rope could also be used.
- Ensure your pets (dogs and cats) are kept inside at night.
- Place boxes near food source (Peppermint Trees- Agonis flexuosa).
- Face the nest box away from the prevailing weather – south-east is suggested, if possible. Stormy weather comes mostly from the south/south west. West-facing boxes are too hot, and the low beams of the sun on dusk may impair the vision of the possum when it emerges in the evening.
- Face the door close to the trunk of the tree to reduce the time that the animal is exposed leaving the box. Small branches in front of the box will impede the entrance or flight of possible predators.
- If painting the possum box, use an outdoor, weather-proof paint in a camouflaged colour. This will also help prolong the life of the box.
Monitoring possum box use
Check your box every four weeks to see if it is being used by possums or native wildlife, and to ensure it’s not being overtaken by feral bees. If feral bees are using your possum box, seek professional help to remove existing bees.
Possums, along with other types of wildlife, benefit from keeping remnant bush and mature trees on your property, as well as installing nest boxes. Keeping cats and dogs inside at night, driving slowly at night, covering up the compost bin and not leaving pet food out at night time are all actions that will help conserve possums and other wildlife.
Possums are a part of suburban living and are not shy of humans. Their antics and acrobatics are a delight to watch at night, however, they need our help to survive in our urban environment.
- Western Ringtail Possum: Endangered Species in our Backyard (WRAG) Includes guidelines for constructing a possum box
- Nest Boxes for Native Animals