When you hear rats in your roof, the temptation is to simply throw a few rat baits into the roof and be done with it. This is the absolute worst thing that you can do!
Both rats and possums make scrabbling/scratching noises. Both gnaw at wiring and roofing materials. Both destroy insulation to make nests for their young. Both can squeeze into tiny gaps to access your roof.
Rat baits are unfortunately highly attractive to possums. If you put rat baits in your roof to kill rats and you also have possums living in your roof, then you are sentencing the possums to die a slow and extremely agonising death.
Aside from the cruelty factor, a dead possum in your roof creates a raft of other problems, with the intense smell being the least of your worries.
Decaying bodily fluids rot through ceilings and walls which then require replacement of gyprock and repainting. You may also need to have roof metal or tiles lifted, or holes cut in walls if the possum has died in an inaccessible spot.
The only way to tell for sure if you have both possums and rats in your roof is to have a professional check your roof before any baiting occurs.
If you have possums in your roof, you need to have the possums removed and all access points closed before you can safely have the rats baited.Read here for more information on how to get rid of rats safetly.
Just a word of warning – deliberately baiting possums is illegal and leads to prosecution for cruelty to animals, large fines and/or jail time.