November 22nd 2011
Living with brushtail possums
There would be few residents and even visitors to Magnetic Island who haven't encountered, often at quite close quarters, a brushtail possum and or a family of them. Cute to watch but cheeky and pesky too, it's sometimes hard to know what to do about problem possums that are living a little too close for comfort. Following however is a very sensible article sent to us from Magnetic Island Fauna care Organisation (MIFCO) on the best ways to live with possums.
Brushtail possums are one of the most common native animals in Australia. As they live around people's houses, brushtail possums are one of the few native mammals that continue to share space with people around their homes. This is particularly so on Magnetic Island. However, like all native wildlife, the brushtail possum is protected in Queensland.
Possums are territorial animals and so it is important to learn to live with and protect brushtail possums. If you are having problems with brushtail possums at your home, trapping the possum and releasing it in another area will not solve your problem.
Please note: A permit is required to trap or remove a brushtail possum.
A trapped possum can only be released within 25 metres of where it was captured. This is because possums that are removed usually die as they canít find a new territory. Removing a possum from its habitat is cruel and unnecessary.
And if you remove just one possum, next thing youíll have four more come in straightaway and the problem will be worse as they battle over the new territory. Possum-proofing your house is the only ethical and moral way to live with these animals.
Possum-proofing your house
Remember: If a possum can fit its head through a hole in your house, its whole body can get through.
To make sure your house is protected from brushtail possums, follow these simple steps.
*Find out where the possum is getting in and out. Cram loose wads of waste paper into suspected entry points during the day. After dark, the resident possum will push its way out, showing you where it gets in and out.
*Make repairs to prevent entry. This can be done at night from 8Ė10 pm when the possum is outside feeding.
*Splash the old entry areas liberally with a strong smelling substance, such as disinfectant. The possum's scent glands will have marked the entries to its den. If you don't destroy the scent, the possum will try to re-enter the den.
*Seal the entry points.
*Hang wooden nesting boxes or hollow logs in trees nearby to give the possums new homes.
Helping to protect brushtail possums
You can help protect the brushtail possum by sharing your backyard with this delightful animal. Put nesting boxes in your trees to discourage them from living in your ceilings. There are numerous websites on the Internet that show you how to make a possum nesting box.
Brushtail possums provide an important link between people living in urban areas and Australia's native animals. Just because these possums are common, doesn't mean they deserve to be taken for granted!
Fore more information, contact Magnetic Island Fauna Care Organisation on 0427 918 130.
Source: Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management.