Get Rid of Pesky Possums
If you believe that a possum has found a comfortable place to live on your property and you need to move them along, this guide is for you. There are several tips and tricks for removing possum and preventing them from coming back that you can try to solve the problem and prevent future ones. With a bit of attention and effort, you can rid your property or home of unwanted animals once and for all.
#1 Step: Identifying a Possum
Before you decide what to do, it’s important to make sure that you really have a possum on your hands. Unless you have seen them in person, it may be hard to tell. If you have caught a glimpse, the possum will look rather like a very large rat, although they are in no way related to rats. They have a distinctive pointed snout and a long, hairless tail.
"possum hiding behind greenery" | devra | CC BY 2.0
Possums are normally a dark gray or cinnamon color, but white ones do exist. They grow to a weight of about 10-15 pounds / 4.5-6.5 kg, commonly sized similar to that of a large housecat. A possum will live a few years of so, and actually hold their young in a pouch like a kangaroo or koala, as they are also marsupials.
If you have a possum on your property, you may have noticed that they are nocturnal, heading out to scavenge for food while you sleep.
What's The Problem with Possums?
Possums are generally a very harmless animal, but they do bring certain problems when they make a home around humans. They like to live in nooks around the house, under a protective deck or garden shed, or even in the attic. If they live in your home they will leave plenty of droppings behind which is quite unsanitary.
They are scavengers for food and will disrupt things like pet food bowls or bird feeders and they will rummage through the garbage can. While possums are not known as being aggressive, they can bite when scared or backed into a corner by humans or pets as any wild animal could.
Perhaps the worst thing is that they can carry disease such as certain parasites, though they very rarely carry the rabies virus. Just as bad, their short lifespan means that they eventually will die, and when that happens in your attic or under the house it can make for a very bad smell. For all of these reasons, it is best to keep possums away from your home and in the wild as intended.
Prevention Over Cure: Possum Proofing
The best way to control possums is prevention of their nesting in your area in the first place. If you already have a possum on sight be careful about eliminating access points without the help of a professional as you may end up making matters worse by trapping other possums inside where they will eventually die.
Effective ways to keep possums out of the house include covering vents with grills or wire mesh so the animals cannot climb into protected areas, and covering openings like fireplaces with similar materials. Possums are good climbers and will find any opening there is, so don’t think a high opening is safe.
Pesky Possum trying to tear its way back into the roof
Around the perimeter, closing off access to the area under a deck or shed is also important as they are favorite spots for various wild animals to call home including possums. To keep the excellent-climbing possums from your roof, trim back trees at least 10 feet from the side of the house to remove that access point.
Easy sources of food attract animals like possum. Remove food sources like pet food bowls and put them inside. If you have fruit trees be sure to pick up fruit quickly before it begins to rot as this is a favorite food of possums. Also, keep the garbage can safely stored in a garage or be sure to secure the lid with a bungee cord so the critters can’t help themselves. Once they find an easy source of food they will be back.
Finally, look around the property for any other hiding places that would be attractive to possums. Examples would be a thicket of bushes that offer protection, a woodpile, or any other spot with places to hide that would offer animals protection.
Before you think about poison or trapping consider this. Poison may be illegal in your area and may not work anyway. Instead, it is likely only to create a risk to pets or other animals for which it is not intended. Trapping in a humane way is a better choice, but this activity may also be regulated by your municipality. Trapping a possum is not too difficult but care must be taken with the animal to release it in a proper manner. This is best left to a skilled professional that understands the laws and risk to completing the task.
Image Credit: "Rhymes with Possum" | David Goehring | CC BY 2.0
Australia Possum Removal Services
Here are a few reputable sources for removing possum in your area to not only remove an unwanted guest from a structure, but to proof the area for a future problem. Expect to pay a fee starting around $250 for this service, although this will vary depending on how much proofing your property requires.
In Melbourne, hellopossums.com.au will do the job in a humane manner, from inspection of your property, to removal and possum-proofing the property for the long run. The work is guaranteed for 12 months. They will build one-way exits to rid your structure of pests and then seal it for good once the animal is gone. If they have to trap as a last resort they can take care of that as well.
In Brisbane, www.possumman.com.au is another humane choice, offering 25 years of experience in dealing with the removal of unwanted wild animals like possums. They offer a 12 month warranty of the work and will install possum boxes as needed, finishing the job by proofing entry points that led to the problem in the first place. They have plenty of experience in evacuating possums from various types of buildings.
In Sydney, www.sydneypossumremovals.com.au is a company that offers Syndey-wide service for possum removal. They will install possum-proof doors that let the animals leave but not come back. Then, once gone, they will proof the structures to remove the chances of a re-entry. The work is covered by a 12 month warranty.
Note: Possum Behavior
Possums are omnivores that will eat nearly anything. If food sources are left around, they will eventually find it. They are nocturnal nomadic scavengers that generally don’t live in one place for too long, but if food is plentiful and shelter is good they can call a structure home.
The animals a slow but will fight if cornered, and while they are good climbers and can use their long tails for climbing support, they rarely hang from it, especially when they age. It is true, however, that a possum can play dead when frightened, so beware that an animal that appears to be dead may be just acting.
The best way to deal with possums is to avoid making a home for them in the first place by removing food sources and blocking possible housing locations. If you already have a resident possum, however, the safest and surest way to get rid if them in a humane and legal manner is to contact a reputable possum removal service.