Photo: Karl Kirsch
In their natural bushland habitat, possums occupy large tree hollows during the day, using up to six hollows for each individual. As their bushland disappears with urban growth, possums have adapted to using our comfortable roof spaces as their homes.
Possums are protected by state legislation (Nature Conservation Act 1992) and it is illegal to trap or relocate them unless you have a permit.
If you do have a possum in your roof and would prefer they weren’t there, here is some advice on how to encourage them to find alternate accommodation:
Provide an alternative home
Provide an alternative home for your roof resident by constructing a sturdy weatherproof possum box. Learn more about nest boxes.
Encourage the possum to use it
To encourage the possum to investigate its new home, put half an apple or banana in or near the possum house.
If possible, climb inside your roof to see if you can locate where the possum is ‘nesting’ – this will be in the form of some leaves or even discarded material. This nesting material will have the scent of the possum on it and should be placed in the possum box to encourage the possum to its new home.
Find out where the possum enters and exits the roof
It is important to locate where the possum is getting in and out of your roof. This can be done by placing scrunched up waste paper into any suspected entry points during the day. After dark, your resident possum will push its way out, showing you where it is getting in and out.
Prevent the possum coming back
After you have installed a nest box; identified how many possums are using your roof; monitored entry and exit sites and ensured they have all left for the night - you can then seal up the entry. This is best done at night between 8-10pm when the possum is out feeding.
Other tips include:
- Trim any branches that overhang your house to help prevent access to your roof
- Possums will rub their scent glands around their entrance to your roof to make it easy to find so you will need to wash the area with a strong smelling substance such as disinfectant or eucalyptus oil. If you don't remove the scent, the possum will try to re-enter your roof
- You can also spread quassia chips, camphor blocks or mothballs throughout the roof cavity. Warning - do not use camphor and mothballs together as they will react chemically with each other
- Leaving a light on in your ceiling (where possible and if safe to do so) will also be an added deterrent.