There are many ways to trap possums, but we generally recommends a Trapinator which you can borrow from the Urban Ark – Manawa Taiao tool libarary.
Go to 1:35 for baiting with an apple, and 2:24 for blazing the tree.
Thanks to Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group for the videos inculding:
Borrow a possum trap from the Urban Ark tool library
- let us know you’re keen to trap possums in your area
- we’ll arrange a time to come around, install the trap and show you how to use it
- you’ve then got 6 weeks to really clean out your patch
- if you’re still catching possums after 6 weeks you can sign up for another 6 weeks
- when you’re done, drop the possum trap back to us (or arrange for us to pick it up)
- always keep us posted about when you’ve got your trap set and what you catch
What’s the best lure?
We generally recommend starting with peanut butter, but people have had success with all sorts of things. As ever, if you’re not catching and think there are possums about, try something different.
- Peanut butter A long-standing favourite and the mainstay of hundreds of reserve trapping groups and backyard trappers. Reapply as often as is convenient.
- Apple A slice of apple often works a treat, especially with a dusting of ground cinnamon.
- Citrus peel Orange and lemon peel can be good in Trapinator and Timms traps. Make sure you remove all the flesh (the acids corrode the trap parts) and keep the pieces of peel small so that they don’t prevent the trap mechanism working.
- Carrots Yep, they work too. Try them with a smear of Vegemite.
- Corflute with lure Predator Free Franklin have had success using Timms traps loaded with a chew card impregnated with a long-life bait (such as Connovation Smooth or Possum Dough). They often get repeat catches using one chew card.
- Aniseed Dip some stale bread into aniseed.
Blaze your tree
Possums will be attracted to the smell of your lure, but also respond to visual cues. Try marking the tree below your trap with a blaze. Make up a dry mix then spread the blaze on the tree under your trap and on the ground nearby. Here’s one tried and tested recipe from Cam Speedy of Wildlife Management Associates Ltd:
- 10 parts flour
- 1 part icing sugar
- 1 part milk powder (optional)
- a touch of peach essence
Other aromas which have had some success include aniseed, cinnamon powder, mild curry powder and raspberry.
Possum ‘party zone’
Try placing tempting morsels in the area where you intend to set your trap, until you see signs possums are coming in regularly to take it (e.g possum poo on the ground). Once they’ve sent the message out to their buddies that there is free food available, start setting your trap and knock them off one by one. They are not intelligent enough to be put off by the sight of their deceased friends.
What do I do with a dead possum?
Firstly, make sure you’re wearing gloves. Apart from the yuck factor, dead possums (and other animals) transmit leptospirosis, a bacterial disease you don’t want to get.
- Possum carcasses are big and smell for ages. If you’re trapping in a reserve, Auckland Council recommend putting the carcase in plastic bag and dropping it in a park rubbish bin. At home, burying it is probably the best bet.
- If the possum is female it may have a joey (in the pouch, or possibly on the back). It isn’t going to survive long, so put it out of its misery with a hefty stick or your boot.