Possums in your Roof?
Possums can be noisy!
If you suspect you have possums in your roof, the first thing you need to do is confirm if it is possums or another culprit before taking any action. The best way to do this is to look at the droppings, or scats, left behind.
If possible, get into your roof space and collect some scats. Possum scats are 1-2cm long and 0.5-1cm wide. Mice and rat scats are generally skinnier with pointy ends.
The lingering smell of rats and mice is quite distinctive from possums and rodents often chew electrical wires while possums (usually) do not.
Baiting for rodents
Baiting is not recommended because of the risk it poses to native wildlife, including possums and owls (if a baited rodent is eaten). If you need to bait, try to place baits where possums cannot access them. Plastic bait boxes or a piece of narrow poly pipe can also be used if tightly secured horizontally to a beam, ensuring a possum cannot get to the bait inside the pipe. Wax baits are recommended as they are not scattered by rodents. Baits can also be placed either inside the house or under the house, although quendas (bandicoots) need to be considered prior to placing under the house.
Remember, baits are not recommended because they can harm native wildlife.
Small plastic traps (available from pet shops or rural stockists) can also be used as an alternative. If possums or other native animals are unintentionally caught, then they can be released unharmed. Under state legislation it is an offence to intentionally trap or harm native wildlife and any wildlife caught must be released immediately.
Products are also available that repel rodents rather than using baits.
Keeping possums out
Once you have confirmed that you have possums in your roof, identify all access points into the roof space so they can be blocked off. Once you’ve located an entry point (you may see scratch marks, urine stains and/or fur), wait until after dusk or dark, and observe the possum(s) leave your roof space.
Then block the access point(s) as best as possible by installing a permanent, sturdy barrier such as sheet metal or wooden sheets nailed down. Possums are stronger than they look so avoid using bricks or structures that can be moved. To prevent possums climbing onto the roof you may need to trim back overhanging branches close to your house. And consider installing a possum box in a mature tree to encourage your possums to take up a new home.
You can also call a licensed pest management contractor. A list of authorised personnel can be obtained from the DBCA Species and Communities Branch.
Remember, you cannot catch and relocate possums without a license.
For tips on being own-friendly, visit Owl Friendly Margaret River.