Possums As Pests

Don’t let their looks fool you, although cute and cuddly, possums can be a real pain when they invade your home. In addition to the ruckus they cause as they go about their business inside your home, possums present a health risk as they can spread disease to humans and pets. Possums spread diseases through their urine and droppings.

Possums could also cause damage to your house when they chew on electrical wiring which is both a fire hazard and expensive to fix. There’s also a possibility that possums could introduce other pests into your home such as ticks and fleas.

The Lifecycle Of A Possum

Possums are marsupials, meaning they carry their young in a pouch. They usually give birth in May and June after a gestation period of about 17 days.  A newborn possum is about 1.5 cm long and only weighs about 2 g. Despite the small size, the newborn can climb unaided through fur into the female’s pouch where it attaches to a teat.

The young possum will feed and develop for about 5 months while still inside the mother’s pouch. It will then spend another two months clinging to its mother’s back as she moves around. Usually, possums give birth to only one young at a time, which males do not participate in looking after.

By seven months, the young possum is mature enough to live independently and is fully grown by the tenth month. For females, breeding starts when they reach 12 months but males can go for up to 2 years.

(Source: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/animals/TheBrush-tailedPossum.htm)

Control and Prevention of the New Zealand Possum

The first step in possum control is prevention. Keep them out of your home and you won’t have to worry about getting rid of them. To keep possums out of your home you should:

  • Cover all openings that possums could use to get into the house. If it’s a vent, use a slotted metal vent cover to ensure that no animals get through.
  • Trim the tree branches near your home so that they are at least 10 ft from your roof. Possums are good climbers and could use them to get to your roof.
  • Protect low decks by installing grid screening and other suitable barriers.

Additionally, you can use professional animal repellers to keep possums out of your compound.

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