Rid of Possums

Possums in your backyard can be beneficial and are not a threat to you and your family. Often, they are transient and move on quickly. They are beneficial for gardens because they eat all types of insects, snails and slugs and sometimes small rodents. The problems come in when the possum moves into your roof cavity. Do you know how to humanely get rid of possums?

When a possum moves into your roof it becomes very territorial and if you remove one from the area, that may not take care of the problem as more possums will move into the vacant space in short order. It is very important to move the possums out quickly and you do not want to kill them because that is illegal.

When you have a possum in your roof this can be a sure sign that there are maintenance issues with your building that need your immediate attention. You could go through the work of removing the possum from the roof only to have it return because you have not dealt with the access that the possum used to get into your roof. It is recommended that you use camphor blocks or mothballs and place them into the roof space. These can effectively repel possums, but it is important not to use them together because there can have a chemical reaction with one another. Add a bright light into the area, this is also a repellant for the possums.

Here are some tips for preventing the attraction of possums in the first place:

  • If you have fruit trees or garden crops, pick them as soon as they are ready and never leave any old fruit or rotten fruit or crop items on the ground in easy reach of possums.
  • Close up your pet door at night if you have one. Possums are opportunists and will enter your home through a pet door if the opportunity presents itself.  You can chase a possum outside by using a broom.
  • Never leave garbage or pet food outside your home at night. This is a total invitation to a possum to stay for dinner.
  • Remove piles of brush, any run-down buildings and fill in any holes under concrete slabs. These are all great locations for possums to hang out. They also live in the abandoned burrows of other critters instead of going through the work of making their own.
  • Possums do not stay in one place for too long so if you think they will take over, you are wrong. A mother with babies might stay for a while but will eventually leave if there are no easy food sources.

Do you know how the possum is getting into your roof space? You can observe it at dusk, this is when the possum will leave its lair to forage for food. Once you have determined the location of the ingress, you can set up your live trap.  Live traps are the most humane way to get rid of possums.  Since it is illegal to kill a possum, you must live trap it and release it. The live trap does not harm the possum and moves it to a new location where it can get on with its life.

If you plant to trap your possum friend, you will need to get a licence and a live trap. The licence does not cost anything and can be obtained at your local NPWS office. The live traps are available from pest control companies. You will need to bait your trap with berries, peanut butter, canned pet food, fruit, vegetables or fruit.  Whatever bait you choose, put it inside of the trap at the far end so that the possum needs to get inside of the live trap to reach it and will set off the trap by stepping onto the foot plate.

Place your possum trap on a flat surface and when you handle the trap, use gloves because possums can detect the smell of a human. Place your live trap in an area that is frequented by your possum friends and cover the trap with leaves and twigs to camouflage it. Check the trap every morning to see if you have caught anything. You do not want the possum to be inside the trap for too long or it will become very stressed out.

Time to Release your Possum

Once you have successfully trapped a possum, you will need to release it. You must release your possum at dusk away from your home or it will simply return to where it was. Once you have trapped your possum, you will need to release it within 24 hours of capture. The trap should be covered with a cloth that air can flow through and should be kept in a quite area away from pets and other wildlife as well as out of the weather. Keep children away from the trap and resist the temptation to put your hands into the trap or you may be bitten.  Releasing a possum in the day can increase its stress and put them in danger of being attacked or suffering an injury from a domestic pet or a predator.

Now that you have released your possum, seal off the access points to your roof or below your home.  Fill the hole with chicken wire or wood and remove branches that overhang and reach to your roof.  If the possum returns, there is undoubtedly another access point that the possum is using.  Placing a metal collar around a tree trunk can prevent the possum being able to access your roof and can protect the fruit on your trees.

Trapping possums in live traps is humane because they will not be injured or harmed in a live trap. The possum can be taken away from the area where it is staying and introduced to a different area where it can have free range away from your home, allowing you to get back to your daily life without a pesky possum residing with you.