Operation Possum Box

Operation Possum Box

Today we found a possum box that had fallen onto the ground, complete with a startled sleepy brushtail possum still inside. 

At Madingley Homestead we’re creating a biodiverse haven to welcome native wildlife.  We extend habitat and have numerous nest boxes perched in trees to provide safe warm homes, including a several inhabited by possums.  It’s one way we practice the permaculture ethic of Fair Share; fair share with all living creatures and not just with humans.

But with the unusual gusty westerly winds we’ve been experiencing, this possum box fell from the tree to the ground.  Fortunately, the possum inside was surprised but not injured, but it was time for operation possum box.

Possum Box fallen onto the ground.
Startled sleepy brushtail possum still inside.

Securing the Possum Box Back in the Tree

Brodie carefully climbed a ladder and secured a wire covered with recycled hose (so it won’t cut into the bark) around the tall Cadaghi Corymbia torelliana.  Then he hoisted the box, and possum, back high into the branches and attached it securely to the wire. 

The entrance hole was orientated facing east to be warmed by the morning sun and to block cold winter winds from the west that might disturb the possum.  In this position, the box is also shaded by the tree so it won’t overheat during our hot summers.

Hopefully this will continue to be a nest for this possum and future generations.

Lifting the Possum Box back into the tree.
Wire covered with recycled hose to protect the tree.
Attaching the Possum Box to the wire.
Possum Box entrance facing east away from the cold prevailing winds.

Possum Facts

Brushtail and ringtail possums are both native nocturnal marsupials that have adapted well to urbanisation and are commonly found in gardens.  Ringtail possums are a social species that build nests of bark and leaves called dreys and usually live together as a family.  Brushtail possums are larger and more territorial and usually live in tree hollows.

However, with the clearing of their native habitat and the loss of natural tree hollows, possums often move into any space they can find including roof spaces, gutters, and downpipes.  One way to live in harmony with these beautiful creatures is to provide possum boxes for their daytime slumber.

Read more about solving issues of possums nesting in unwanted places in your home at https://www.rspcaqld.org.au/blog/wildlife-conservation/how-to-solve-possums-nesting-in-your-house.  The best option is to provide an alternative home before attempting to evict them.

Baby Brushtail Possum
Ringtail Possum

How to Construct a Possum Box

You can buy ready-made wildlife boxes, but there are also instructions readily available if you would prefer to make your own.  Different animals and birds will require different nest boxes, so it’s important to consider:

  • Shape and size of the box
  • Entrance hole dimensions
  • Placement height above ground
  • Orientation (entrance away from prevailing winds)
  • Construction from safe non-toxic materials
  • Insulation (natural hollows are well insulated from heat and cold)
  • Shading from hot summer sun

Links to Designs for Possum Boxes

Here are some practical designs with instructions that suit brushtails, ringtails and sugar gliders.

I hope you enjoy having possums in your garden as much as we do.  We’re often asked if the possums eat all our fruit.  They do share a little, but there’s plenty for us all and they never cause extensive damage.  When we strive to replicate nature and natural ecosystems, everything is in balance.

Brushtail Possum
Ringtail Possum
Brushtail Possum
Australian Sugar Glider