Deciding which animal is a pest and which ones you might be prepared to live with isn’t always black-and-white. When it comes to possum they may be seen as pests, but they are a protected species. How you can learn to live with (or without) possums might mean a change in behaviour – and some practical tips to help protect your property.
Some pests need to be removed – immediately
When our qualified inspectors deliver building and pest inspection reports, our focus is on the types of pests that can wreak havoc on your property’s structural integrity – and leave you with a potentially costly repair bill. In terms of termites, if our radar and thermal sensor equipment detects them in your property, there is only one solution: exterminate! With a single termite colony housing as many as one million termites, protecting your property from the damage that many termites have the potential to cause is critical. When it comes to the discovery of other pests, though, extermination is simply not an option – and that’s a great thing!
Learning to live with protected possums – and still protect your property
Dealing with possums on your property can still cause stress – especially if they are causing damage, nasty smells, or a lot of noise that keeps you awake at night.
In most suburban backyards across Australia, brushtail and ringtail possums are the most common species you’ll see – and, like all possums in Australia, they are a protected species, under the Wildlife Act 1975, which means killing them, harming them, or relocating them is prohibited. In less urban areas, and, depending on the state or territory you live in, there are more than 30 different Australian possum species who might pay your property a visit one day.
To reduce your stress levels and protect their safety at the same time, learning how to live with possums can be a positive step to look after your home, as well as their need for a healthy habitat.
To help manage what you might see as a pest problem, try these handy 7 tips to help deter possums from your property
1. Secure your compost and rubbish bins
Possums love food – even if it’s rotting. Your beloved veggie patch will be just as appealing to them – especially if it’s filled with delicious herbs and crunchy vegetable – and if you use compost as part of your gardening goodness, it will be an open invitation for possums to visit for dinner. Consider fine netting (but make sure you buy the size that can’t trap and kill creatures) to protect your growing garden. To stop possums foraging through rubbish and compost bins, place a heavy brick on the lid, or secure with a latch that possums can’t penetrate.
2. Provide a separate food source
Providing your furry-faced possum friends with a separate food source in your garden can be a smart way to protect the plants you love. By growing native fruits, perennial edibles and spicy leafy greens for them, you’re also helping create a more natural, native eco-system in your garden.
Take the time to cover your delicate plants, and, if you have a veggie patch, grow more than you need so there is enough for your family, as well as the possums.
3. Garlic and mint are natural repellents
Possums are deterred by the smell of garlic and mint, so planting mint around your garden, and growing garlic chives, or using garlic spray or crushed garlic cloves around the plants you want the possums to leave alone can help. Not only is it cruelty-free, it’s also environmentally friendly and affordable. Other possum-repelling plants include geraniums, chrysanthemums, and prickly plants, such as banksias or hakaeas.
4. Trim trees and branches close to sheds and structures
Possums can only jump sideways and up but they’re not great at jumping down long distances.
By trimming branches that give them a ladder up to your roof, as well as a platform to leap from above, you’ll help prevent the likelihood of them getting anywhere near your home.
5. Block access points into your roof or wall cavities
Possums are nocturnal creatures and by day they love to hide away in safe, dark spaces. Blocking access to your roof is critical to sustainable possum prevention — but make sure every member of the extended possum family isn’t trapped in your roof first.
6. Explore ultrasonic pest repellent
This humane, chemical-free and environmentally friendly form of possum control promises to keep possums away by emitting sound frequencies that repel pests – but can’t be heard by humans.
7. Install a possum box
Possums in the roof? Consider employing a professional possum catcher to set a trap to catch it and remove it from your roof – making sure they also block off the entry points so it can’t move back in. By providing a safe, cosy alternative somewhere in your garden in the form of a purpose-built possum box, you can still offer a warm, weather-proof home – just not yours!
Learning to live with living creatures such as native birds, bees, and other wildlife, can be the best thing that happens to your outdoor living space – as long as it’s not risking damage to your own property.
By changing a few habits of your own, you can change the habits of the creatures that share your space – and exist together happily.
For any information about checking if other unwanted pests might affect your property, talk to Rapid Building Inspections today.