Living with Possums
The Barwon coastline has two species of native possums living throughout the coastal reserves and towns across the Bellarine Peninsula and Geelong region. Both species of possum, the Brush-tail Possum and the Ringtail Possum are impacted upon by development, the removal of old trees and dense shrubs, domestic animals and vehicles. Possums are protected wildlife under the Victorian Wildlife Act 1975 and are part of our landscapes, including your private properties. Possums are nocturnal and should not be seen travelling during the day. Possums seen during the day is an indication it has been displaced and is now at high risk of predation by natural predators and domestic animals.
Possums are territorial so displacement and loss of suitable habitat increases the stress levels further compromising the animals well being. Many individuals think they are doing the right think trapping a possum and releasing it elsewhere. Due to their territorial nature, when trespassing on another possums turf, serious injuries can occur from territorial fighting, or many of our possums now falling prey to domestic animal attacks. Due to these outcomes, it is now illegal and inhumane to relocate a possum any further than 50 metres from the trap site. Animal cruelty is an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, so it is important to remember that any methods use to repel or control possums must be lawful and humane.
You can assist in protecting these native animals through some simple tips.
- Keep your cats locked up at night and prevent them from roaming during the day.
- Keep your dogs close to you when walking through our coastal reserves; your dog will find a possum on the ground before you.
- If you have possums living on or travelling through your property ensure your domestic pets cannot get near the possums. Provide safe elevated platforms/climbing ropes for the possums to safely cross the property avoiding the need for them to go to ground.
- Build or purchase a nest box to put up in your property or school yard.
- If removing trees and shrubs from your property, ensure you have installed a suitable nest box at least three weeks prior to removing the vegetation.
Should you come across a possum on the ground during the day and it appears lethargic or injured please notify the relevant land manager, contact a wildlife shelter or call the DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
The Bellarine has already lost kangaroos, wallabies and koalas, just to name a few, so lets work together and live in harmony with what we have left.
Together we can make a difference.
Here are some websites that will be of further assistance.