Do you have a furry housemate living rent-free in your roof? Chances are, it’s a cute and cuddly possum.
However, you have probably already discovered that they aren’t the best guests. They’re messy, noisy, do a lot of damage, and leave smelly waste lying around. It’s no wonder they’re are considered a pest in many Adelaide homes, businesses and schools.
If you suspect that you have a possum problem, or you want to prevent them from getting in your roof in the first place, it is useful to understand possum behaviour and the best way to control them. Continue reading to get our tips on:
The signs of a possum issue
How to tell the difference between a small possum and a large rat
How to deter possums from your home
How to eliminate possums from your business or school
Ways to remove possums
Why are possums a problem?
In developed, urban areas of Adelaide, shelter and protection from trees can be scarce, and so possums tend to seek refuge in roof spaces instead. The most common species to do so is the Common Brushtail Possum, which is active at night and feeds on eucalyptus leaves, fruit, vegetables, and even food from your kitchen pantry.
Possums are messy, hungry and noisy at night when you’re trying to sleep. Sometimes, they may even fight with your pets, especially cats. They can make it into your roof quite easily, squeezing through openings the size of a tennis ball. Once they have made it their home they make a huge mess and cause a lot of damage – often chewing through insulation and electrical wiring, which leads to costly repairs and sometimes even fire or electric shock.
It only takes one possum to cause a lot of trouble, so it’s important to get rid of them quickly. You may also find that other pests, such as rodents, are using the same entry point to gain access to you roof, which makes it even more important to get on top of the problem early.
You can’t just trap or cull a possum – here’s why
In line with the National Parks and Wildlife Act possums are a protected animals in South Australia. This means that anyone who wants to trap and remove a possum needs a Permit to Trap and Release from the Department for Environment and Heritage.
Once captured, the possum must be released within 50 metres of where they were initially found. This is to prevent the risk of it being released in the territory of another possum, who could fight and kill the newly released one.
Our Allstate team all hold possum removal permits, so that you won’t need to worry about getting one yourself. We take them from your roof humanely, then put protection in place to stop them getting back in.
Speak to us today for effective and safe solutions for possum control in Adelaide – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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Signs of Possum Issue
Since possums make their nests in your roof space, pay attention to activity that seems to be concentrated in the area above your ceiling. This can include:
- Noises: hissing, screeching and coughing noises; lip-smacking sounds are also commonly used by elder possums to call out to mates and baby possums
- Movement: due to their weight, it is heard as heavy banging and loud thudding
- Urine: is often a large puddle with a strong ammonia-like odour; look for scent stains too
- Droppings: are usually more than 15mm in length, dark coloured and cylindrical shaped
- Damage: to home insulation and electric wiring, as well as scratches around entry points
- Missing food: especially cat food
- Rubbish bins: possums love rummaging through trash, so take note if yours looks particularly chaoti
- House gutters: if your home has overhanging tree branches, check the condition of nearby gutters to see if they are damaged with scratches, or gutter rash (mould); this is a strong sign that possums have made their way inside your home
Is it a small possum or a large rat?
There are a range of animals which enjoy the comfort and shelter of roof spaces, and sometimes you may find a variety of them living together. If you hear sounds in the roof, it is often difficult to tell whether they are smaller sized possums or larger rodents. Here are some ways to figure it out:
Possums can weigh up to 5kg and tend to make heavier thumping sounds as they move, whereas rats weigh up to 400g and make lighter scurrying sounds. Quite often a possum can sound like an elephant in you roof!
Also consider that if the sounds are coming from the walls or you hear gnawing and scratching, it is more likely to be rats.
Sometimes, squealing noises can be heard from possums fighting or mating, whereas rat squeaks are higher in pitch. Male brushtail possums can also try to mark their territory and warn off other males by making loud throaty calls.
Rats tend to build elaborate nests made out of various materials. Brushtail possums may nest on bed down, insulation, leaves, or not require a nest at all.
Are dark and cylindrical shaped for both rats and possums, with longer ones (greater than 15mm) from brushtail possums and smaller (7mm) ones from rats.
How to keep possums away from your house
- Remove or trim any overhanging tree branches and foliage that come within 15 metres of your home
Keep your home maintained
- Install grid screens or barriers to safeguard low decks from possums
- Check for dislodged roofing and tiles, particularly after extreme weather conditions
- Look for gaps and entry points, then fill or block them
Put up physical barriers
- Bird spikes in high traffic areas may be helpful
- Scatter hair or fur from pets, which possums consider as predators
- Turn on sprinklers and/or install motion sensitive lights
- Spread pungent items or food, such as garlic, mothballs, camphor, quassia chips, and ammonia
Remove food sources
- Don’t feed the possums
- Seal and secure bin lids
- Keep pet food indoors
- Keep food preparation areas clean, such as the BBQ/grill
- Remove fallen fruit and vegetables from the garden
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How to stop possums from entering your school and business premises
Even a small possum living in a large roof space of a commercial or public building can cause problems, particularly in schools and businesses. Besides damaging buildings, stock and supplies, a possum invasion can lead to poor hygiene – putting staff and customers at risk of falling sick – and a failure to meet regulatory standards. You could be at risk of hefty fines and you risk ruining your reputation.
Possums tend to find single- and double-storey buildings easier to access than taller ones, so they are most likely found in the following types of places:
Possums can be an unwanted distraction to students, teachers, and support staff. Their presence compromises the health and safety of the school if left unchecked.
When managing a possum situation in schools, you should consider the use of classrooms and space, local surrounding environment, layout and design of the school, location of food areas and previous pest reports.
Warehouses/ distribution facilities
A possum infestation can have devastating effects on the quality and quantity of your stock, the health and hygiene of the facility, as well as staff, customers and consumers. A failure to meet strictly audited industry health and safety regulation standards can lead to heavy fines.
Food, hospitality and catering businesses
Possums are huge trouble in food preparation facilities, damaging supplies and contaminating food and the food preparation environment. This can cause huge losses in stock, result in heavy fines for failing to meet food regulation and safety standards, and turn customers away.
How to Control a Possum Outbreak
Once you are sure that a possum is responsible for causing problems inside your home, business or school, there are several options available to safely remove it, with some requiring permits and others not.
Prevention and removal methods that don’t need a permit
- Purchase a possum nesting box place this at least 4 metres above the ground, to provide an alternative home for the possum, so it is protected from pets and feral animals.
Purchase a possum nesting box place this at least 4 metres above the ground, to provide an alternative home for the possum, so it is protected from pets and feral animals.
- Secure your property by sealing or blocking off access points to your roof space: this is best done after dark, when possums leave their nest
- Install a one way door flap at the access point in the roof
Removal methods that do need a permit
If the above methods don’t successfully get rid of the possum, you will need a licenced possum control technician to capture and remove it with a possum trap. It’s essential this is done by someone with a permit, otherwise you could face heavy fines.
Allstate Possum Control in Adelaide
Having noisy possums in the roof is disruptive and stressful enough, let alone taking the time to work out how to catch, remove and prevent them from returning. Luckily, our licensed, experienced possum removal professionals are trained and equipped to help you to manage these pests. We are happy to accommodate the needs of your family, business or school, whilst carrying out the process as safely and efficiently as possible.
We all use the following method for humane possum control in Adelaide:
Assessing for access points
Our technician will begin by thoroughly assessing your building for all possible entry points that possums may use to enter your roof, confirm that they are indeed the culprit, then propose the best course of action.
Proofing the entry points
We will then prevent possums from entering and leaving your roof by installing proofing materials over all entry points. Our technicians are fully equipped will all the required materials, so you won’t need to source them yourself.
Positioning a cage trap
To try and catch the possums, we will position a cage trap at the main entry point, and check it daily for you. Our approach focuses strongly on safety and care for the environment, so we take the utmost care not to harm or cause stress to the possum during this process, as per government regulations.
After the possum has entered the cage, we ensure it is calm and comfortable, by keeping it in a quiet, dark area.
Then we move onto proofing the remainder of the roof. This will include spraying disinfectant chemicals or bleach over the entry points to remove markers of possum scent, and patching up the entry point to prevent re-entry.
Giving the possum a new home
Our technicians will locate a tree within 50 metres (as per government regulations) of the captured possum and install a new nesting box, then release the possum into it.
If there are several different animals co-existing in your roof, ask us about a customised pest management program. We ensure that all animals and pests are removed long-term, so you don’t have to worry about anything being left behind or returning.
How much does it cost?
Why Choose Allstate?
At Allstate, we understand how disruptive and stressful it can be to have a possum nesting in the roof. That’s why our expert possum control technicians are available 24/7 catch, remove and deter unwanted possums from your roof, saving you the time and energy of doing it yourself.
Our focus in on providing Adelaide homes, schools and businesses with long-term protection from possums, using up-to-date methods and a safe and compassionate approach.
We offer a 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee, and affordable interest-free payment plans.