Possum habitat has been declining for decades because of farming-related deforestation and suburban development that is ongoing. Being an adaptive species, possums have learned to dwell in the cracks and rooftops that have taken the place of the trees that originally served as their habitats.
Possums are everywhere, including in the busiest cities in Australia. Ringtail or brushtail possums spend a significant amount of their life above ground, many of them in residential gardens. They are the most adaptive and versatile of all our marsupials. They emerge at night to seek food by climbing through treetops, crossing rooftops, and traveling along fences and powerlines to escape being hit by a car or attacked by a dog.
Possums generally stay away from us and don’t hurt us, but if they eat the fruit and flowers from our gardens or, in the case of the Brushtail Possum, climb into our homes’ attics, they can become a nuisance. If you suspect a possum may be living on your roof, try this method for getting it out.
Since possums are nocturnal animals, they become active when most people are trying to sleep, which worries many locals. Possums can be rather noisy, fighting, shrieking, and running along the roof, as anyone who has ever had one live above their ceiling can attest. In addition, they can leave behind brown stains from gland secretions and the repulsive smell of urine, which they use to mark their territory. The staff at Duravex Roofing Group can assist you with possum removal and relocation if you live in Sydney, the wider Sydney region, or regional parts of NSW. For those of you who live in other areas, however, here are some ideas to keep the troublesome critters at bay.
What steps can I take to get a possum off my roof?
Possums with brushtails prefer to reside in roof cavities. Since these possums are territorial, getting rid of one won’t make the problem go away because additional possums would quickly take over the vacant region. A possum that has been moved won’t make it in a new environment. As a result, you must relocate them close by and away from your roof, ideally in a tree in your garden. Possum relocation and possum homicide are prohibited.
DIY – Possum Removal Techniques :
Use these steps to get rid of the possum on your own.
- First, use flour to cover the manhole and check the footprints to be sure it’s a possum and not a rat or mouse. Possums are cat sized.
- After that, given the possum a new residence. You must make a nesting box, which you can do yourself or purchase in New South Wales’s retail stores.
- If at all feasible, locate the possum’s nest from within your roof. The nest, which emits possum scent, should be put in the new possum housing to lure the animal to its new residence.
- Place pieces of fresh fruit in or near the nesting box to tempt the possum to investigate their new residence.
- Locate a sturdy tree in your yard, tie the box there, and raise it at least 4 meters. You may watch the possum as it leaves at dusk to go scavenging and learn how it enters the roof space.
- Possums can be repelled by putting a light within the roof cavity and leaving it on for three days and nights, along with some quassia chips (available at hardware stores). The combination of the light and smell should drive the possum off your roof and hopefully into the possum housing you have given.
- Once you’re sure the possum has moved, make a one-way door, block the opening with chicken wire or wood, trim any sticking branches, and make sure it can’t get to the roof. Because the possum has gone outside to seek for food at night, that is the best time to block the entrances. If the possum returns, you’ll need to find another entrance.
Possums typically visit your roof only for one of three reasons. On your roof, inside, or as a mode of transportation, they are living there. Possums can’t be made to stay away from electricity lines, and if they do, they’ll almost definitely climb up trees that hang over your roof. Pruning trees away from the roofline is the greatest way to stop them from running onto your roof. Another issue is that possums can climb up and off your roof using deck posts and beautiful lattice. If so, you might want to consider covering them in smooth metal or plastic to stop them from gripping them and climbing up or down.
What can I do to get a possum off my roof?
Find out how the possums are entering your home as the first step in getting rid of them from within your ceiling. Usually, you can do this through a crack in your tiles or under the eaves. Any potential point of entry or exit that has a brown stain around it is being used. Once the method of entry has been determined, you should either seal the hole while the possum is still outside or patch it and install a trap inside so it can be captured and released.
Since possums often sleep during the day, you can wait until after dark to patch the hole, preventing the possum from becoming stuck inside. As a backup plan, you could cover the hole during the day and set a trap within the roof to catch the possum, which you could then let out outside. A nice choice for trap bait is red apples. To learn more about trap hire in the Greater Sydney Region, click the following link.
Possums may be very determined and will claw their way back through weaker materials, so use sturdy sheeting or wood to patch any holes. To see how adamantly they might try to get back inside, watch the video!
Possums can be removed from a roof in several ways, but they all hinge on blocking their access to the area and identifying the entry and exit points. You can readily tell if a possum is exploiting an aperture in the roof cavity of your home by stuffing a few pieces of newspaper into any holes you locate. If a possum is utilizing them as an entryway when it emerges at dusk, it will push them aside. Possums may use many entry points; thus, the technique might need to be repeated even after a possum has been removed and an entrance sealed off.
Once you have located any access points, you must seal them to keep the possum from returning. Solid sheeting, wood, or strong mesh can be used for this; however, it is not recommended to use chicken wire because a possum can easily pull the wire off with its powerful claws if it is determined to get back in.
When closing access points, wire mesh might first be fastened to one side of the opening and held open using crumpled newspaper. It will be possible for the possum to push the door open as it leaves, but the paper will be pushed out and the mesh will spring back into place, keeping it from trying to enter again. The other side of the mesh can be sealed up to restrict the entrance once you are certain the possum is off the roof. To block access to additional potential entrance sites, you should also clip back any vegetation that is hanging over the roof at the same time.
What will happen if this doesn’t resolve the problem?
Only licensed commercial possum relocation companies are allowed to remove possums because they are a protected species of wildlife. Therefore, if the strategy hasn’t worked, you must seek professional aid. However, getting rid of possums is not always a “quick fix”. If the abandoned den location is not sufficiently sealed off, it will be quickly reoccupied.
Before catching the possum on the roof using a cage trap and releasing it outside, relocators normally seal off all exits. Re-locations in New South Wales are required to release possums within 150 meters of the point of capture to avoid one animal from being released into another possum’s home range. If possums are released into a new area without access to a den, where they must compete with other possums for food and den space, or where canines are more likely to attack them, their chances of survival are reduced.
Once you have engaged the possum relocator (more on that below), it is a good idea to ask them to create a nesting box, so the possum has a safe alternative shelter when it is released.
You can take further steps to stop possums from trying to go into your house permanently after the possum entrance point has been closed up. Taking away their food supply and making it more difficult for them to reach your rooftop are the simplest things to take.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your trash well-covered, out of the way, and any pet food indoors or in a location where possums cannot access it. Make sure your compost pile is covered if you have one, and harvest whatever fruit your yard’s trees are producing before possums do.
Trim back any trees that are encroaching on your property to keep possums from having simple access to your roof. You may also add spikes to fences to stop animals from utilizing them as highways.
Possums like the darkness to sleep in, so if you install a light in the roof cavity and leave it on for a few days and nights, it might keep them away. Motion-activated ultrasonic devices that are activated when a possum crosses the sensor may scare away possums. Some of these devices also emit high-pitched sounds that humans can hear but that possums find to be too loud.
Substances with a strong odour/Smell
The smell of the possum will be covered up by disinfectant or quassia chip solution sprayed around the blocked entrance, which may discourage it from trying to re-enter. Possums often find the smells of ammonia, mothballs, and garlic to be disagreeable. Another DIY method is to soak an old stocking in liquid seaweed and place it in the yard, close to fruit trees, or close to your vegetable garden because possums hate the smell.
Supplies of food
Possums are drawn to homes with easy access to food, thus removing food sources may make your property less appealing to them. If at all feasible, feed your pets inside, and then clean up any leftover food or water. Make sure the garbage can lid are shut tightly.
If you have fruit trees, pick up any fallen fruit or try to prevent it from dropping by using netting. Avoid feeding local birds in the late afternoon if you like to do so. Use bird feeders and invite the birds inside at nightfall, in the evening, or in the middle of the day. Never put out food specifically for possums. Possums will ultimately forget their fear of humans and may even become aggressive if humans provide food for them.
Brushtail possums can only survive if they have a den. Without one, they are exposed to a range of daylight threats, including attacks by crows and other birds and the potential for conflict with other possums when they try to access den areas that are already occupied by possums. You might provide possums with a different place to live by buying or building a possum box.
To prevent household cats and dogs from getting to the possum, hang it securely from a tree and place it at least four meters above the ground. Possums are naturally inquisitive and eager to explore their surroundings, so placing some fruit near the box, like pears, apples, or grapes, may persuade one to investigate its new residence.
Am I able to catch a possum by myself?
In New South Wales, where possums are protected, it is illegal to catch them without a permit. You can get a free permit from the National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) office in your neighbourhood to hunt possums on your property. Traps may be rented from some licensed or pest control companies.
If you decide to try trapping, don’t forget to provide possum shelter, and shut off the roof’s entrances.
If you have permission, you can rent wire-mesh possum traps from several councils. Install the trap near the possum’s point of entry into the roof cavity and check it each morning. Releases of possums outside of these limitations are forbidden in New South Wales; they must take place at night, within 24 hours after being captured, and within 150 metres of the spot where they were found.
Trap requirements A cage trap needs to be constructed safely.
- The ideal design is a wire mesh box with mesh no larger than 19 mm square. If a larger mesh is used, possums can seriously hurt their noses by shoving them through the mesh of a trap.
- Traps should always be positioned in a flat, stable area away from canines, felines, rain, wind, and the sun.
- Use the right bait, such as fruit, vegetables, or peanut butter, to lure the possum into the cage.
the trap’s conditions.
- Traps must not be checked until two hours after sunrise.
- If a possum is captured during the day, place it in a cool, dark area of your house and cover it with an old towel or blanket to keep the light out.
releasing possums that have been captured.
- Trapped possums must be released on the property where they were caught, no more than 150 meters from the site of catch, after nightfall on the day of capture. Possums released during the day are more agitated and vulnerable to aggression and harm.
- Use a long pole or thick gloves to protect yourself from scratches.
- Before releasing the possum from the cage, steer it in the desired direction.
It is illegal to transport brushtail possums, and if it is not possible to release the animal on your land, it must be humanely put to death within 24 hours after capture by a qualified veterinarian at the trapper’s expense.
When possums are falsely accused of stealing food or residing in your ceiling, rats are often the true offenders. So how can you tell if there are possums or rats on the roof?
Anything moving in the ceiling will make a range of noises depending on its size, pace, and activity. Rats often move in a scampering motion and barely weigh a few hundred grammes. It is almost clear that a rat is to blame for any noises like these coming from the wall cavities of your home because rats routinely gnaw loudly to maintain the sharpness of their front teeth, which are steadily growing longer.
Brushtail possums, which can weigh up to five kilograms, will thrash around on the roof even while traveling slowly. Due to their urine, there is a high chance that you will hear loud knocks on the roof or ceiling, hear coughing and hissing noises, see stains on your ceiling, or smell strong ammonia.
It’s likely that you have multiple animals fighting over territory or mating. In any case, you can determine the size of the animal based on the noise it produces. When fighting or mating, both rats and possums screech, but a rat’s squeal is louder and higher pitched. A resident male Brushtail Possum can be recognized by his booming, throaty call, which he uses to warn other males when they are entering his home zone.
Rat and possum droppings, which are typically black and shaped like pellets and can be anywhere from seven millimetres for rats to more than 15 millimetres for brushtail possums, are also frequently found. Excrement from ringtail possums is generally of medium size. Rat droppings are typically found scattered around a nesting or eating location, whereas possum droppings are more frequently found under a tree where the animal has been dining.
When it comes to nests, brushtail possums could construct a leaf nest in your ceiling or settle on the insulation there. In protected places, rats often build tiny nests and line them with rags, shredded paper, or dry plant material.
How precisely can possums get onto my roof?
Possums usually enter an area under your roof’s eaves, sometimes next to a bush or tree that leans up against your house and acts as an entrance. Openings into roof cavities that are large enough to let possums inside are regularly seen in older homes. A brushtail possum can cram its entire body into the same space in which it can fit its head.
What damage are possums capable of?
Possums can cause significant damage to the wire, weatherboards, plasterboard, and even ceiling cavities if not controlled, in addition to generating a lot of noise. Additionally, they could leave scents and stains from their urine, and if they die, the smell of a dead possum on a roof would be noticeable.
Why do possums live in roof nooks and crannies?
Possums are critters that live in trees and are active at night. In tree hollows or, in the case of southern Australian ringtails, high up the tree, they doze off all day.
Eucalyptus trees, however, can take a hundred years or more to emerge from tree hollows. As land is removed for development, farming, and human habitation, the number of accessible hollows has drastically decreased. Once they are gone, it will take a while for them to organically reappear, at least until new hollows start to emerge in older or other trees. Because there aren’t enough tree hollows for them to live in, possums enter our roofs through holes and build homes inside where it’s safe and dark.