With increasing development and absence of natural habitat such as tree hollows and dense vegetation for shelter and nesting, possums are sometimes forced to take refuge in houses and roof cavities.
Under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, all native animals including our local Ringtail and Brush-tail possums, are protected.
It is illegal to kill a possum. It also illegal to relocate a possum unless it is in your roof cavity, and in that case it can only be relocated up to 150m away. If you need to remove a possum from your roof cavity, there are several important steps and guidelines to follow.
You can also build alternative possum habitation. See 'How to Build a Possum Drey'.
Trapping or relocating possums
Trapping or relocating possums without a catch and release licence is illegal.
A biodiversity conservation licence can be granted to property owners to remove and release possums by the NSW Dept of Planning, Infrastructure and Environment (DPIE).
Traps are available for hire from some wildlife rescue services or pest control companies.
Or you can engage the services of a catch and release possum handler. Please ensure they hold a current NSW Dept of Planning, Infrastructure and Environment (DPIE) licence and adhere to the standard possum licence conditions.
Removing possums from your property
Possums are extremely territorial, nocturnal and arboreal in habit. Evidence has shown that a possum released outside its home territory will die due to predation by cats, dogs and foxes, vehicles, stress related trauma and starvation as they attempt to find an alternative refuge.
Possums need to be released at dusk or after dark no more than 150 metres away from the point of capture and near something it can immediately climb, such as a tree or tall fence, otherwise it will not survive. Remember to block off the access points into your roof and to provide a possum house if you intend to try trapping. Be gentle with the animal.
Sick and injured possums
Should you find a possum that appears unwell or an orphaned joey, please contact Sydney Wildlife or WIRES.