Possums are Australian marsupials protected by the law. That doesn't make them any less of a pest. It merely makes them a pest that's a nuisance to deal with. Hurting or capturing a possum is illegal, and it can land you a huge fine. To avoid all the headaches, you need to know a thing or two about these critters. We're here to help you get to know possums in Australia and how to deal with them.
Australian possums are nocturnal creatures. This is the reason why you usually detect their presence at night. Their numbers had dwindled across the years due to habitat loss and being hunted before they were protected.
Possums prefer living in a natural environment but some species (such as the brushtail possum) have adapted to living within human settlements. This means possums are quite adept at coexisting with other species, including humans.
Possum species in Australia
This is one of the largest and most common species of possum in Australia. It can easily grow the size of a cat (and may look even bigger as they carry their joeys around).
Brushtail possums are very adaptable and can be found anywhere from eucalyptus forests to the tool shed in your backyard. This makes them particularly intrusive. Considering the fact they are protected by the law makes it nearly impossible to get rid of them without risking legal ramifications.
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Ringtail possums get their moniker from the shape of their tail (as you might have already intuitively guessed). Being marsupials makes climbing trees while carrying a joey in their pouch quite a challenge, which is they their tails developed in a way to help them navigate the branches.
Ringtail possums' preferred habitat is tree where they live in hollows. This makes them far less likely to be the possum species to intrude in your home, but they might get a delight in colonizing trees in your garden.
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Mountain Pygmy Possum
The mountain pygmy possum doesn't look like a possum at all. At 5 to 12 cm in length and weighing around 50 grams, these Australian possums, as their name suggests, are exceptionally small. You can easily mistake one for a mouse.
The pygmy possums are omnivores. Their diet is varied and much like mice includes fruit, nuts, and insects.
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What damages can possums cause?
Australian possums can inflict quite a bit of damage in your property. Once they make your attic their new home, they may:
- Begin to use materials, such as wood and insulation, to make their layer a bit more cosy;
- They may cause problems with the electric installation and become a fire hazard (especially coupled with the previous point);
- Possum faeces carry lots of bacteria and germs so they may become the source of an infection;
- De-valuating your property;
Being protected by the law makes Australian possums all the more impertinent so if you encounter possum problems, don't hesitate to call a professional possum catcher!
How to protect your home from possums
When it comes to possums, the best approach is not allowing them to enter your property in the first place. This means:
- Sealing any possible entry points;
- Trimming all the branches around the house;
- Trimming all the branches over the fence.
These tips should help you keep the possums away. Besides them, learn what else can be included in the category of Most Efficient Ways to Keep Possums Away.
How to detect possum activity
Possums aren't difficult to detect. They're usually much noisier than rats and mice and make a much bigger mess. The noises possums make are heavy, more comparable to those of a cat than a mouse. The commotion occurs mostly at night, so you will definitely notice it.
If the noises aren't enough, possum urine has a distinct, pungent smell. You may start seeing yellow stains on your ceiling if the urine begins to seep in through the seams.
How to get rid of possums
It's illegal in most states to handle possums on your own. This means you need to book the services of a licensed possum removal expert. Otherwise, you're risking a huge fine.