What can you do with possums in an open area under your home?


Possums in an open area
Possums in an open area

Possums sometimes take up residence under a Queenslander house or inside an open-sided carport. These are examples of situations where possums cause problems for the homeowner but it is impossible to permanently exclude them. If there are many entry points or the area has large open sides, it is sometimes not practical (or affordable) to install secure mesh that will keep the possums permanently outside. Trapping the possum is not effective because, under native wildlife laws, it must be released within its usual territory, which limits the distance it can be moved to 25 metres. So the possum will go straight back to its favourite sleeping area that night.

There are several reasons for the Queensland law on not relocating possums:

  • Research shows that most relocated possums will die before they can find shelter and food as they get attacked by cats/dogs and other possums.
  • Possums lay a scent trail so when one is removed from an area the other possums know it has gone and another one moves into that territory; so apart from being illegal, relocating possums is also ineffective.

However, there are a few strategies that may reduce the problem.

  • For a long term solution, we would recommend getting a builder to enclose the area but that can be an expensive solution.
  • Some homeowners have set up areas under their house that are possum-proof rooms to store the more valuable items, leaving the remainder open.
  • We would recommend having a good look at how they are getting to the area and trimming back any trees or shrubs to discourage them from accessing your property.
  • If there are specific areas, placing mothballs or other products like Deter and PossOff supplied by hardware stores, may help.
  • Some homeowners have had success with sensor lights as the possums come to sleep and don’t like the light.
  • It may be practical for the house occupant to mount a campaign of gentle disturbance, aimed at persuading the possum to find another place to sleep where it will not be regularly woken up.

Sometimes it requires acceptance that we must share the space with our native animals, even if it means providing a specific comfortable area for the possums to call home. As a general rule, if the possum has only recently started using an area it will be easier to discourage it from returning. If one has been “in residence” for years, it will consider the space its territory and refuse to leave.

So there is no easy solution to excluding possums in an open area, but physical barriers work best if possible.