Common name: Possum

Scientific name: Trichosurus vulpecula

Why are they a pest?

Our friends across the ditch may love them, but possums are causing a lot of trouble to New Zealand’s biodiversity and farming. Possums mostly eat plants but also feed on invertebrates (animals without a backbone or bony skeleton), young birds and bird eggs. They damage young native plants by ripping off their leaves, meaning exotic trees can take over native forests/bush. They are also a threat to plantation forestry and farmland used for grazing. Additionally, they spread Bovine Tuberculosis, a nasty disease that infects mainly cattle and deer but can affect other animals and humans.

How can I control them?

1. Trapping is the main method for possum control. There are so many different versions of the possum trap. We have tried nearly all of them.

    • Timms trap
    • A220
    • SA45
    • Good Nature
    • Trapinator
    • Poditrap
    • Leg Hold Trap

I can say there is no silver bullet with possums, one day a specific trap will work well and then the next it is a failure.

The most successful trap to date is the A220 battery operated trap made in Whakatane. The downside is its cost.

I would recommend the Timms trap as a solid go-to trap for possums baited with apple and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

2. Shooting

3. Poisoning

We don’t poison possums for the risk of secondary poisoning from domestic animals scavenging the carcases.

 

What do they look like?

When not flat on the road, possums have a furry body, a long bushy tail that they can use to hang onto branches, a pointed snout, pink nose, long dark whiskers and brown eyes. The males and females are similar in size; between 650-930mm including their tail and can weigh up to 6.4kgs.

A cheeky possum about to attack a grape vine.