There are two types of possums found in our suburbs
The Common brush tail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) its cat sized with large pointed ears, grey fur and a black bushy tail. They have single young born in autumn or spring and these are the ones who you will find in your roof cavities. The second type is the Common ringtail (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) which is half the size of a cat. They have round ears, grey back, rusty sides and curled tail with a white tip. They have one to three young at a time and like to build nests of twigs and leaves above the ground. They are coming into our gardens because of the fruit and vegetables available but also sadly because their native environment is shrinking and so they have adapted very well to our suburbs.
What are some safe possum deterrents that can be used in thegarden?
Possums have been protected by the 1975 Wildlife Act and it’s illegal to harass or interfere with possums – they were here before us so the best approach is putting them off and redirecting them. They forage through scent and sight in our woodland backyards.
Stinky smells that put possums off and perhaps your neighbours:
•Blood and bone fertiliser – you can fill an old stocking and hang it near the fence they walk along.
•Moth balls you can hang from trees
These are all sprays:
•Fish sauce – 1 teaspoon in 1 litre of water and spray on plants
•Garlic – 2 crushed garlic cloves in 1 litre of water and spray on plants
•Tabasco sauce – a couple of teaspoons into a litre of water and spray on plants
•Possums are also not tea drinkers and really hate the smell of Lapsang souchong tea which again you can strain 4 tea bags with a litre of water and spray
However, if your possum is hungry it will eat through a tabasco flavoured basil plant!
•You can put a collar of hard plastic or slippery material around trunks of trees and the possums can’t get a grip to climb.
•You can buy plastic flexible spikes that can be nailed to the top of the fence
•Enclose veggie patches with netting can help as long as its pinned down
•If you are creative you can make a scarecrow with mirrors or‘giant cats eyes with tin foil or reflecting material’ or wind chimes
What should people do if the possums have taken up residence in their roof?
This is a common problem and possums nest in roof cavities because there is nowhere else for them to go. To safely remove them, wait until they are out foraging usually at dusk then if you can pull out the nesting material and then block off the entrance add in bleach – they don’t like the smell of it.
How can we help our neighbourhood possums?
If you see a sick injured possum call wildlife Victoria on 13 000 94 535. Because you've just kicked them out of their home, why not get a nesting box put some of their bedding and hang it in the tree far from the house? Possums should not eat our food instead possum friendly food including eucalyptus and lemon scented gums, they also love nectar heavy bottlebrushes, banksias, lilly pillies, and wattles.