- Possums are about the size of a domestic cat.
- They have a small head, pointed nose, catlike whiskers and large oval ears.
- The possums fur is thick and woolly and the colour, though usually brown, can be variants of grey as well.
- Their tail is long, black and bushy and they have sharp claws which they use for climbing trees and grooming.
- Possums are marsupials – meaning that the females carry their young in a pouch.
- They usually give birth in the winter after just 17 days gestation and the newborn possum finds its way to the mother’s pouch and attaches itself to a teat.
- The young possum usually spends up to 5 months in the pouch before moving to cling to its mother’s back for about two more months.
- Possums generally only have one young at a time and are fully grown at ten months although not reaching sexual maturity until about a year.
- Other than when breeding, Possums are solitary creatures and tend to stay within their own ‘range’ which they claim by covering tree branches with a scent released from glands on their chest.
- They nest in forests and woodlands either in the trees or under vegetation, in hay stacks and even in the roofs of buildings!
- Possums are nocturnal and so are rarely seen during the day.
- The diet of a possum is varied – they eat almost anything and can cause considerable damage to flora and fauna as not only do they they eat leaves and berries from trees but also strip their bark. Their diet can also birds eggs and young birds, agricultural crops and even insects.
- Some countries have attributed the spread of Tb in Cattle and Deer to Possums.
- Possums are native to Australia, New Guinea and Sulawesi but were then introduced to New Zealand in the early nineteenth century.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Do you / can you / can I kill the possum?
A. No, it is against the law. They are a protected species.
Q. Can you take the possum away?
A. No, we can only remove it 25m from where we catch it. It is a territorial animal and will die if taken out side of its territory.
Q. Won’t it get back in my roof?
A. No, we will repair the hole(s) where it is currently getting in and any that it could possibly get through later.
Q. What damage can it do in my roof?
• Possums will urinate through your roof leaving yellow stains on your ceiling or walls.
• They will also poo all through the roof space.
• Possums can get caught in lighting wires in your roof and damage lights. They won’t normally eat the wires but rats will. Both possums and rats are a fire hazard for this reason.
• They can die in your roof and stink to high heaven. You’ll know if you have a dead possum in your roof. We charge a minimum $250 to remove a dead possum, more if it is hard to get to.
• Possums make nests in insulation by tearing it up and moving it around your roof.
• Possums, rats and birds can all carry lice, ticks and other nasties, making them a health hazard.
Q. I have possums in my garden, how do I keep them away from my plants?
A. “Stray Ban” produces a device that emits a high pitch sound that keeps possums away; this could interfere with family pets and is only effective for a 15m radius. This device costs approx $150; check Google. You will need a licensed electrician to install them outside and they don’t have all weather plugs fitted.
Q. I have heard that lights / camphor chips / moth balls keep possums away?
A. None of these are effective.
Q. Possums run across my roof at night, what can I do?
A. Cut back tree branches that give possums access to your roof: 1.5m minimum from guttering.
Q. Can you do the rat treatment at the same time as the possum treatment?
A. No we must get the possum out of your roof first. You don’t want a dead possum in there.
Q. What about dead rats then?
A. The rat bait we use causes the rats to dehydrate and leave the house to find water. You might find dead rats in the garden after the treatment.
Q. How long does the rat bait last?
A. We will put enough in your roof to last 12 months.