Possums in Perth

Not as rare as you may think, sometimes we receive requests from our tenants to control a wide variety of pests and perhaps the least odious, but possibly the noisiest, are possums. Hearing thumping in the ceiling when you go to bed can be disconcerting, to say the least yet in the Perth metropolitan area it’s not uncommon. Of course, noise in the ceiling isn’t restricted to possums as rats will also cause merry hell upstairs however possums don’t conjure up the same feelings of disgust and revilement as do rats.

A rat or a possum?

Tenants often call and say there was a “noise in the ceiling”. Dismissing all thoughts of poltergeist activity we then ask if the noise was a scratching or a thumping one. Rats generally scratch and scurry around whilst possums, particularly when they are playing, will make louder banging noises that can sound like a herd of elephants at times.

A point to note, the methods used to eliminate a rat or possum presence are completely different and if done incorrectly can have serious judicial consequences!

The final determination of which species is having a party in the ceiling is done by a specialist technician. They will inspect the ceiling for droppings as the size and shape of these will alert the appropriate pest controller as to whether it is indeed a rat or a possum.

Possum habits

Possums are primarily herbivores consuming leaves, buds, flowers and fruits of trees however they also like bugs, insects, moths and even bird eggs and if you leave pet food out, they will also devour that with glee!

Another characteristic of possums is that they are territorial and so if a tenant complains of an indeterminate foul smell in a house or unit – and perhaps even a stain on the ceiling – there’s a chance a possum has urinated to “mark” their territory.

The nocturnal nature of possums becomes evident at night when they can almost sound hyperactive in the ceiling (and even walls of an older fibre constructed homes). Nighttime finds them out foraging for food but this doesn’t preclude them from doing the same in daylight hours as one client of ours in Wembley found out. At the rear of this lady’s house was a tall fig tree about 4 – 5 metres from the house. Early one morning she happened to notice a possum leap from the roof of the house into the tree in search of food highlighting the fact that possums are extremely agile and may seek food at any time if they’re hungry.

Possums in Perth

You’d be surprised at the number of call-outs we get for possums in the Perth metropolitan area. Perhaps the design of our homes plus the ubiquitous greenery we are surrounded by makes a happy haven for these mammals.

Some areas of Perth seem more prone to possum infestation. Older established areas such as Floreat, Wembley and even Cannington and Forrestfield commonly have visits from possums however our western suburbs – Nedlands, Claremont, Fremantle etc. seem to be the ‘areas of choice” of possums. Newer areas such as Jindalee, Aveley, Ellenbrook,

Baldivis etc. seem less prone to possum visitation, however, this may change over time.

How to remove possums

First up, possums are a protected species. They can’t be killed or even harmed in any way under the Wildlife Act of 1975 and to do so results in severe penalties. If rats are the problem we use one method . . . baiting. This will eliminate any rats present but baits in the presence of possums can have dire consequences and this is where correct training is important in determining what exactly is in the house . . . a rat or a possum.

At Perth Pest Control they use a “catch and release” methodology in their treatment for possums. They have the purpose built steel wire traps into which they place a piece of fruit such as an apple to entice the possum. Once inside, the trap door closes and the possum can’t escape and they then relocate the animal to another area.

But . . . will they return? There’s no guarantee with this. Even if the original possum doesn’t return, it may be that another possum family could take over. One method Perth Pest Control use to ensure possums won’t return once extricated is to proof the premises. This involves sealing up possible possum entry points in the house and we can advise on this.

Possums may seem cute however in a home they can be like the relation that comes for a couple of days but stays for 6 months . . . you just want them out! If you’re renting and you have any issues with ceiling noises do call your Property Manager so they can contact the best pest controller as they are the experts in getting rid of possums!

Source, Howard Mutton: Perth Pest Control

If you’ve got questions or are looking to employ the trusted experts in property management for your rental property, call Katherine direct on  0421 197 723 or email

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