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How to Rid of & Prevent Possums from Returning to your Rooftop?

How to Rid of & Prevent Possums from Returning to your Rooftop?

Posted by Muzi On 30 Jun, 2024

If you're a local resident of Melbourne, it will come as no surprise to you to receive frequent visits from your native marsupials - the Ringtail and Brushtail Possums. Although they pose no serious threat to humans, these nocturnal pests are known to cause significant damage to your property along with many disturbed nights due to strange noises coming from outside or roof tops. If you've been experiencing these struggles due to possums visiting your rooftops, then this article will definitely help you.

How to Prevent Possums from Running across the Roof?

Usually, there are just three reasons they will frequently visit your home. They are using your roof to go from one point to another, or they are residing on it. Removing trees near the roofline is the best way to deter them from running on your roof.

They can climb deck posts and grilles to access your home. So, you should surround these with smooth metal or plastic to prevent them from gripping and climbing them.

How to Get rid of a Possum from the Roof?

The first step is identifying the different entry and exit points and blocking them to prevent access.

A quick and easy method to check if a possum is using a hole in your home's roof cavity is to crumple up a few newspaper pages and shove them into any openings. The stuffing would be pushed out if a possum is indeed using it to enter. If there are multiple entry spots then you might need to repeat the process to completely shut off their access to your property.

To prevent them from reentering, you must seal all entry points with timber, solid sheeting, or sturdy mesh. Avoid chicken wire as it can be peeled away with their sharp claws.

What are Alternate Solutions?

Opting for a professional to catch and relocate them is one of the most effective ways to safely get rid of a possum from your property. Since they are protected under the wildlife protection act, you should not try harming them in any way to avoid any legal issues.

How to Prevent it from Returning?

  • Motion Sensors: You can install a motion sensor on the roof cavity that will turn on the lights or go off when it detects any motion as that will scare the possum away and prevent their return.
  • Strong Odors: They hate the smell of ammonia, mothballs and garlic. Using these or a strong/pungent disinfectant will mask their odor and prevent them from returning.
  • Food: Eliminate any source of food in the surroundings - be it netting your fruit trees, getting rid of your garbage effectively, securing your pet food or cleaning your BBQ often.

How Can I Trap a Possum?

1. Trap Requirements:

  • The trap or cage should not injure the possum
  • Foods like peanut butter, vegetables or fruits should be used as bait
  • The trap should be secured away from direct sunlight, rain, snow, dogs, or cats
  • The mesh cage trap should be lesser 19 mm sq. but not more

2. Trapping Conditions:

  • Trap inspection should be done anytime during or two hours after the sun rises but not later
  • During the day if the possum is caught in the trap, keep the cage hidden in a cool secluded place and cover the cage to block the light

3. Trapped Possums Release Guidelines:

  • Trapped possums should be relocated within the 25 meters radius from the site it was captured.
  • Relocation should take place post daylight to prevent stress and chances of being attacked.
  • Use a long pole or thick gloves as protection to avoid getting scratched.
  • Face the cage towards where you want the possum to go when you are releasing it.
  • Relocating a Brushtail possum beyond 50 meters or in a new environment is forbidden as it causes distress and increases the chance of it being attacked by others.

Home Inspection for Possums:

  • The average weight of a Brushtail Possum is up to 5 kgs so they make a thumping sound when they walk around.
  • During an inspection, if you find your ceilings stained and a strong lingering smell of ammonia, then you are probably dealing with a infestation on your roof.
  • You would also hear hissing, coughing, and loud banging noise coming from the roof. If you do, get a home inspection soon.
  • Male Brushtail Possums make a deep throaty call to warn intruding males when they attempt to enter their territory
  • They might even build their nest made from leaves in your ceilings
  • The size of their droppings can go up to 15 mm and can be spotted near their feeding ground/tree

How do Possums access the Roof?

A few ways they enter roof tops are through hanging trees or plants leaning against the property, holes in the building or unattended openings in the roof that they can fit themselves through.

What is Possum Damage?

They can damage your property by ruining the wiring, ceiling space, weatherboards, and plasterboard. Their urine can even leave a nasty odor and stain. Not to forget the stench of a dead possum or the constant noise of a live one.

Why do They Prefer Roof Cavities?

They are nocturnal tree-dwellers and spend the day sleeping in the hollows of trees or high on the tree. Due to the scarcity of tree hollows and the prolonged duration for them to be restored, possums have adapted and turned to roof cavities to stay hidden and safe.

Possums on your Property? Here's what you can do:

1. Hacks for Co-existing with Possums in Your Home:

  • Block entrance points, designate one-way exits, and trim overhanging branches to keep them off your roof. Do this only during the night when you are sure they isn't inside your home.
  • As an alternative to your home, install wildlife nest boxes way high up on a tree that is in your garden and out of any dog or cat's reach; this may encourage them to vacate on its own.
  • Employ a pest controller expert with a license to safely get rid of and relocate them.

2. Trapping and Releasing Hacks:

  • To trap and relocate, you can apply for permission from theEnvironment & Water Department and abide by the rules.
  • For a long-lasting effect, possum-proofing and trapping should be done simultaneously or they could come back.
  • Trapping is only applicable indoors to the roof or building structure but not outdoor to the garden.
  • Relocation beyond 50 meters away from the site is prohibited and illegal.
  • Only a licensed pest control expert with experience in possum control should attempt to catch and release/relocate them

In conclusion, while possums do not harm humans in any way, their presence on your property could cause a lot of damage and inconvenience to you and your family members. Since they are native species in Australia, they are protected under the wildlife act and can't be harmed intentionally or unintentionally. Therefore, it is important to get rid of them in a humane way or better relocate them to a better location. By following the steps mentioned above, you can easily get rid of your pest problem in no time.

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