Have you found a possum living in your roof or garden shed? Read our steps on how to live well with possums.

Cartoon of possums in a tree beside a roof with overlay text 'Living with possums: Possums in your roof'

As a native species, common brushtail and ringtail possums have called Adelaide home for hundreds of years.

As more people have moved into Adelaide’s urban areas, this has changed the availability of possums’ natural homes of hollows in gum trees. With many of these old trees removed from the environment for developments, our local possums are looking for alternate homes – sometimes in our roofs or backyards.

Though it can be annoying when a possum sets up a life in your home, they are a protected species in South Australia. That means it’s illegal to catch, harm, hunt or kill one without a permit.

So, it’s important that we learn to be good neighbours to these fluffy marsupials.

Here are some simple ways to be a good possum neighbour if you have a one in your roof:

Image of a possum with overlay text 'Block access points to your roof'.

Prevent access

The first step is to find where the possum is getting into your roof or garden shed and block the access point once the possum has left, which is usually at night.

Bear in mind that possums, particularly ringtails, can live in groups with their babies, so make sure you wait for all the possums to leave before blocking access. You can install a one-way gate, or door so the possums can escape but not re-enter.

Image of a house with tree branches close by and overlay text which reads 'Trim branches over your roof'.

The next step is to check for and trim any tree branches that overhang the house that could give the possum a leg-up onto your roof or into an access point.

A possum inside a nest box with overlay text 'Provide a new home'

Provide a new home

You can provide the possum with an alternate artificial living space or 2, such as wildlife or nest box, to discourage them from wanting to come back into your roof.

Place the nest boxes in a sheltered spot in your garden at least 4 m off the ground and check on them regularly to make sure bees, wasps or pest birds haven’t taken up residence.

Nest boxes can be purchased locally from organisations such as Cleland Wildlife Park, State Flora Belair, Fauna Rescue, and fauNature. Alternatively, you can make one yourself.

Possums are curious by nature so with time they will find the nest box.

As with all wildlife, feeding is not recommended as it can cause the animal to become reliant on humans, or you may give them something that’s not suitable for their diet, causing them to get sick.

Trapping and releasing

You can only trap a possum when it is inside a built structure, and you must first have a Trap and Release Protected Animals Permit.

Trapping can be stressful for possums, so you must be able to demonstrate in your permit application that you have tried other options to deter possums.

Some councils have wire mesh possum traps that you can rent.

If you catch a possum, you must:

  • release it within 24 hours, at night and on your own property within 50 m of the capture site (this is known as its ‘home range’)
  • take all reasonable steps to protect the possum from injury or predation by other animals.

Possums are highly territorial and have a small home range. Relocating a possum beyond their home range is not permitted – they need to remain in this range for survival.

If you’re still having trouble removing a possum from your ceiling space, it may be time to contact a licensed expert in possum removal, such as a local ‘pest’ controller.

Possums in your garden?

Have you ever had a possum causing damage in your garden or eating fruit from your trees?

If you’ve ever had this issue, check out our simple steps for deterring possums from your garden.

Check out everything else you need to know about Adelaide’s native possums.

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