October 3, 2021
October 3, 2021
Possums are cat-sized scavengers with four paws, a hairless tail, and a pointy snout. They are commonly referred to as possums in written form. They have a life span of around two years. Their name came from their ability to “play possum” when they feel threatened; they mimic a dead animal in appearance and smell when in the way of harm.
Generally, they do not overstay in one place unless a mother possum makes a home for her babies. Typically, they go through your yard to look for water and food before moving on to another location.
Possums can be bad news for your home, garden, and poultry, especially chicken. If you have a garden with ripe fruits and vegetables, they might just be your unwelcomed visitors for an extended period. Besides destroying your crops, messing with your garbage, and feasting on your chicken, possums also make unpleasant sounds at night, depending on their mood.
Common Brushtail Possum Sounds
Can you remember that heavy thump and unearthly shriek that scared you in the middle of the night, thinking you have ghosts in your home? Yes, that one! You can now relax as today you will learn that it was probably a family of common brushtail possums.
Possums are mainly active at night. These pests are usually quiet when alone, so when you hear them at night, it means they are multiple of them nearby. Possums make different sounds. Below you will find a list of some of the noises made by possums.
A baby possum is usually a few inches long. They make hissing or clicking noises when seeking the attention of their mother. When the mother leaves the attic, baby possums make chirping sounds similar to that of birds out of fear. Other than that, they do not make any other sounds.
Female possums make clicking sounds to their young ones as a form of communication. They also make a ‘choo-choo’ sound to call out to their young ones. Female possums make a clicking noise when they want to attract males to mate.
Possums make high-pitched squeals when fighting. Similarly, male brushtail possums make loud noises when mating to warn other males in their range. They also make a ‘shook-shook’ sound when courting females.
When possums feel threatened, they make growling or clicking sounds to threaten their predators. Moreover, they make grunting, hissing, and teeth-chattering kind of noises when in distress.
Signs Of A Possum Infestation In Your Home
If possums infest your home, it should be evident as they are not discreet. Here are some signs you may notice if possums invade your home.
Damage to the Exterior of your Building
Since possums enter your property by climbing, the first sign you might notice is damage to your property. Often, this damage is done by tearing shingles or ripping your house’s rooftop. In some cases, you could come across damage on the eaves, gutters, and sidings of your house.
Disappearing Pet Food
Possums love cat food. If you have an outdoor cat, you may notice the unusual disappearance of your pet’s food; then, you probably have a possum infestation. If you think it is a possum infestation, then you should take immediate action to protect your cat from an attack by the possum.
Constant Animal Sounds
As mentioned above, possums make different sounds such as hissing, shrieking, and growling. If you notice these sounds during the night, the chances are that you have a possum infestation or one possum trapped in your home.
If you notice some scuttling, scratching, or ripping noises in your home during the night that are similar to mice or rat sounds and you are sure that you do not have either, you might have a possum infestation. These noises are also loud as large animals produce them. Additionally, are these scratching noises from the walls or across a wide area? If yes, it is definitely a possum infestation.
An unpleasant smell is one of the most distinct signs that you have an infestation. Possums excrete wet droppings similar to a cat’s. They, in turn, soak your building materials, causing an unpleasant smell.
How To Keep Possums Away From Your Property
You can concur that everybody needs peaceful sleep at night after hustling and bustling during the day. Although possums do not pose any harm to you and your family, they can tear up your attic and disrupt the quality of your life, making it impossible to sleep at night.
Clean-Up Brush Piles, Trash, and Pet Food Remnants
Remove all accessible sources of food and water for possums from your property. This reduces the chance of possums sticking around as they can eat anything and build their nest box in the bushes and debris in the yard. Cover your compost bin as well to cut off their access to ‘delicious’ contents. The lack of a constant supply of food will drive them away to their next location.
Seal your Chicken Coop
Ensure that your chicken coop has no entry points and lock the chicken at dusk every day. Possums feed on chicks, eggs, and chickens.
Harvest and Pick Any Ripe Fruits and Veggies
Collect any fallen fruit on the ground and pick the ready ones as soon as possible from your garden. Leaving the ripe fruits lying around invites possums in your compound to explore.
Get Motion-Activated Lights or Sprinklers
Installing motion-activated lights or sprinklers should not be your first option as it can be expensive. However, if you have a serious infestation, this is a good alternative. Sudden lights or water will scare the possums away and stop them from coming back.
Install Solar LED Deterrent Lights
These lights resemble the glowing eyes of the predators of possums. When you install the lights near your chicken coop or garden, these nocturnal animals get scared and run away.
Place a Radio Outside your House
Possums hate noise, especially when they are not aware of the source. Place your radio outside your house and keep changing the radio station at intervals.
Use Chilli Powder
Possums hate the smell and taste of chilli powder. Fortunately, chilli only deters them from coming back as opposed to harming them. After they taste the chilli, they learn to stay away from that area. However, you have to keep reapplying the chilli often, especially during the rainy season.
Set Catch and Release Traps
This should be your last resort. Use dog food or canned cat as bait or fish. Place the trap in a place you are sure the possum frequents and create an accessible trail leading to the trap. Leave the trap overnight and check in the morning. Proceed with caution not to scare the possum once it has been trapped.
Drape a towel on the trap to calm it and release it around 5 miles from your home. This distance is far enough for it not to come back but not too far such that they cannot find their source of food and water.
Keeping Possums From Your Home
Unless there is an entry point in your home to access water and food easily, possums do not usually enter your home. However, in the event that they do, here are several ways to keep them away from your home:
- Close any pet doors at night.
- Clean the leftovers from your compound, such as barbecue leftovers, to avoid attracting possums.
- Cover the outdoor bins so as not to attract possums due to the presence of food.
- Install grid screens to protect your low decks from possums.
- Remove all water and food sources.
- If already in the house, open the door to usher them out.
- Contact a possum control professional.
Before taking any action to get rid of possums, you should know that they are protected by Australian law as native animals. So regardless of the nuisance they cause, only professionals would know how to rid them from your property safely. Here is the detailed process:
- If you set a trap and catch any, you should have a cage to trap the possum and not cause any injury.
- Once you trap the possum in the cage, keep them away from rain, wind, sunlight, pets, and any other form of danger.
- Release the possum after sunset on the day of the capture, around 50 metres away from your property.
Having said that, ensure that all these measures are undertaken lest you get a fine of about $5,000.
Additionally, the first step to getting rid of them is identifying their entry point to your property. It may be not easy but try to spot them in the evening as they head in or early in the morning as they head out. You can also follow the possum’s droppings to find their nest or the branches above your home.
Benefits Of Possums
Although possums may disrupt your night with their sounds, they are beneficial to you as well. Here are some of the benefits of possums:
- They keep your area clear from pests such as mice, rats, and cockroaches.
- They reduce Lyme disease by feeding on any ticks they come across.
- They feed on venomous snakes.
- They do not contract rabies.
- They gloom your garden by feeding on slugs, snails, overripe and fallen fruits.
Possum Control May Be The Answer
Possums are harmless and shy with two defence mechanisms. The first mechanism is hissing and display of teeth. A possum will hiss at you out of fear and when it is unable to flee. This behaviour may appear fierce, but it is only a warning. The second mechanism is playing possum. If a possum feels in danger, it may act and appear dead, and when it feels safe, it revives and moves on.
Possums are nomads, and they never establish a permanent territory. They are ideally nocturnal and wander at night in search of food and water. During the day, they sleep in brush piles, hollow trees, caves, and under porches.
There is a high chance that your backyard has a possum hanging around. Listen for any possum sounds at night, to be sure. As mentioned earlier, possums are harmless. Therefore, you can help them out by providing a safe environment and reducing the use of pesticides. If you cannot co-exist, use humane control solutions to get rid of the possums.