Managing Possums Humanely

In Australia, there are two types of possums that can be observed: the common bushtail possum and the common ringtail possum. These small animals (about the size or half the size of a cat) are quite adorable, but they have been known to find their way into homes and commercial buildings, causing some damage (often to the roof cavities and to plants in gardens). This article focuses on managing possums humanely, in accordance with the law.

Your initial instinct may be to address this emerging pest problem by catching the possums and having them put down or relocating them to an area far away from your property. However, you need to hold those thoughts immediately.

A protected species

In this country, possums are protected creatures under the Wildlife Act 1975. That means that possums are considered to be part of the natural and urban environment and it is illegal to trap them and release them away from your property.

Possums are known to be highly territorial. If you were to trap a possum in your home and release it somewhere else so that it can’t come back, it is very likely that the possums already inhabiting the area you chose would attack the new possum.

Being relocated can be very stressful to possums, and this will almost certainly result in their death. If the animal happens to be sick, then its death in a different location may cause its disease to spread.

Trapping and relocating a possum won’t solve your pest problem at all. Another possum within your area will simply find its way to your property and take up residence there. It won’t be the same possum that you released — there’s no way for that same animal to come back to your house since it will have died under stressful circumstances where you relocated it.

Better alternatives

For homeowners in places like Victoria and New South Wales where possums are protected by law (they cannot be harmed in any way or kept without approval), the government offers different, more humane ways to approach the problem of possums making homes in houses and commercial buildings.

Possums can be controlled through the following means:

Trapping

  • Only homeowners or occupants and their families, building managers and their staff, and DELWP-licensed Wildlife Controllers can trap bushtail possums.
  • A cage trap must be used; typically, it is a wire mesh box with the mesh measuring less than 19 millimetres square (any larger can cause injuries to possums). These traps can be loaned or hired from some local councils.
  • The trap must be placed in a level, stable position, protected from direct sun, rain, wind, and dogs and cats at all times.
  • You must check the trap no longer than two hours after sunrise. Keep any trapped possums in a quiet place with a cloth or bag covering the trap.

Releasing

  • Trapped possums can only be released no more than 50 metres from its capture site.
  • The release must be done after sunset on the day the possum was captured. Doing so in the daytime can be stressful to possums, increasing their risks of getting injured or attacked.
  • Possums must preferably be released against a structure they can climb right away, such as a tree.
  • If there is no reasonable way to release the possum on the same property, the possum must be humanely put down. This can only be done by a registered veterinary practitioner within 24 hours of the animal’s trapping.

Because possums must be released back into your property if you were able to trap them, the best way to prevent them from causing damage to your home or building is to block off their access points.

  • In your roof areas, create a one-way door that possums can exit, but not enter.
  • Prune all tree branches that lead to your roof.
  • Talk to your electric or telecommunications service providers about possum-proofing the transmission cables around your home.
  • Build a floppy fence around your garden using heavily galvanised chicken wire.
  • Protect any fruiting trees with tree collars.
  • Install a nest box where possums can live instead.

 

If you require an experts help to humanely manage your possum home invaders – Call Jim’s Termite and Pest Control on 131 546 or book online today for your free, no-obligation quote!

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