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Mammals

Ringtail Possum

It is unlikely that many wildlife gardens will host kangaroos, koalas and wombats but there are a number of small mammals that may take up residence, including antechinus, possums, bandicoots, bats and bush rats.

Possums and Gliders

Possums (such as the Ringtail Possum, Leadbeater's Possum and the Common Brushtail Possum) and Gliders (such as the Sugar Glider, Greater Glider and Feathertail Glider) are abundant in many parts of Victoria and also reside in Knox, with the Common Brushtail and Ringtail Possums being the most frequently sighted.

Possums use our trees, houses, garages and sheds for shelter and our gardens for food. Ringtail Possums feed on fruit, flowers and leaves, moving from tree to tree via branches. Brushtail Possums share the diet of Ringtails but supplement it with insects, eggs and young birds. Leftover pet food is a also a favourite.

Don't feed the Possums

You do not need to feed Possums because artificially feeding them will alter their natural feeding behaviour and cause them to become dependent and sedentary. Feeding Possums will also contribute to them becoming a nuisance.

Download our Do not feed the Possums factsheet

Living with Possums

Possums can be a nuisance if they are eating your favourite things in the garden and/or using your roof as an exercise yard or bed. If you wish to remove possums from buildings, wait until nighttime when they are likely to be outside and block all entry/exit points.

Place Possum boxes in nearby trees to provide alternative homes. It is important to make sure the following day that the Possums are out of the building.

Metal collars can be placed around the trunks of trees that you don't want Possums to climb. The collars should be 60cm tall and placed at least 60cm above the ground.

Download our Practical Solutions to Possums in your Roof brochure

Baby Sugar Glider
Baby Sugar Glider
Brushtail Possum
Brushtail Possum
Forest Bat
Forest Bat

Bats

Victoria is home to 22 species of bats, which are the only flying mammals. Whilst many people are familiar with the Grey-headed Fruit Bats, the smaller bat species are less well known. Bats can play an important role in maintaining the health of the environment. Most species are insectivorous, consuming up to half their body weight in insects each night and sheltering in tiny nooks and crannies during the day. They play a vital role in controlling invertebrate populations and are welcome in any wildlife garden.

Tree hollows, foliage, roofs, eaves and bark provide suitable roosting sites. If there is a shortage of such sites, bat boxes can be placed under branches or pieces of loose bark. Bats enter a box from underneath so it is necessary to have a small gap at the bottom. Rough pieces of hessian allow bats to grip the insides. See 'Nest Boxes' below for further information on suitable bat boxes.

Antechinus, Rats and Mice

A number of small native mammals, such as the antechinus, resemble feral mice and rats. It can be a challenge to determine whether the dark furry objects that scurry past your feet are welcome natives or hostile ferals.

Antechinus are small, native carnivorous marsupials and are often mistaken for common field mice. They are mostly nocturnal, hunting at night for small invertebrates like centipedes, crickets and sometimes larger animals like birds and reptiles. They are unlikely to eat stored foods.

Some clues in picking the differences between natives and ferals are:

  • feral rats tend to have long, thin ears, while natives have short or rounded ears.
  • the tails of feral rats are longer than their bodies.
  • feral mice are often seen in large numbers. Native animals tend to be thinly distributed.
  • feral mice have a well known 'mousy' smell.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to get rid of feral rats and mice. Poisons and traps will kill and injure many species, not just the ones you want to dispose of. Remove food scraps from the gardens and destroy any nest sites you come across.

Nest Boxes

Next boxes can provide additional habitat in gardens. Information about next boxes can be found on our Nest Box web page.

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