Frequently asked questions
As possums do not live here naturally, our flora and fauna are not equipped to withstand their voracious appetites.
Possums are a serious environmental threat because they:
- Browse and destroy native and exotic trees, feeding on leaves and berries and stripping bark
- Browse and damage orchard trees, shelter belts, crops and pasture
- Feed on native birds (eggs, fledglings and adults)
- Feed on native invertebrates, such as insects
- Compete with native birds for habitat and food.
In 1837 some of New Zealand’s Pakeha (or white) settlers decided it would be good to start a fur industry, so they brought Australian possums to New Zealand. These first possums did not survive, but people kept trying. Twenty years later they succeeded. The first possum population to survive was in Southland in 1858.
In 1921 the Government made it illegal to bring any more possums to New Zealand. But by then, possums were already living in 450 different parts of New Zealand. In 1946, possums were officially declared a pest in the New Zealand environment.
Possums are a nocturnal animal so you don’t see them around during the day time. You may hear their at night or hear them on your roof.
Other signs of possums to look out for include:
- claw marks on trees, fence posts and gates
- bark biting (horizontal bites) on trees
- possum droppings (approximately 2.5cm long and slightly thicker than a pencil) scattered under food trees and in the forks of trees
If you suspect you may have a possum on your property contact OPBG. We can give you some chew cards to place around your property. These nontoxic corflute plastic cards are filled with lure to attract possum bites, this will give you a positive identification of possums.
All of the OPBG traps have only ever been baited with fruit or a peanut butter type lure which is less attractive to household pets. We have a number of different traps that we can use, although some have better chances of catching a possum. Like above, traps can be set at night when your pets are inside and released in the morning before you let them out.
Some people set and release traps near their pets to warn them of the danger, this can make them reluctant to go near them.
- Dogs – If you do have a dog there is a good chance you don’t have possums on your property. If you do we have traps that can be set off the ground. Most dogs pay little attention to the traps we use.
- Cats – If you are setting traps for possums we recommend that you keep pet cats inside at night.