Notification: Parks and Wildlife Service is part of the new Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

Ringtail possums poisoned in the South West

Western ringtail possum
Western ringtail possum Adrian Wayne/DBCA

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) is urging South West residents to think twice before using rat baits in their roofs.

Several critically endangered western ringtail possums have been unintentionally poisoned with rat baits over the past few months.

DBCA Parks and Wildlife Service regional wildlife officer Pia Courtis is encouraging residents to take a closer look at any droppings left behind by animals before using baits.

“Rats, mice and possums often live in roof cavities, especially in winter when they are looking for dry and warm shelter,” Ms Courtis said.

“Some reptiles and other native mammals, such as goannas and phascogales, also make scratching and chewing noises and can be found in roof spaces.

“Prior to undertaking any damage prevention or control methods, residents should determine what species is actually responsible for the problem.”

Ms Courtis said the easiest way to determine whether rats, mice or possums are in the roof is to look for their droppings.

Possum scats are the largest, compared to the dropping of rats and mice, which are generally skinnier with pointy ends.

The lingering smell of rats and mice is also distinctive from possums.

“If you think you have mice or rats but are concerned possums may also enter your roof space, try to place baits where possums cannot access them, such as in a baiting station, or consider using multi-feed baits that are less toxic,” Ms Courtis said.

“Preventing access is the most effective way of controlling damage caused by animals nesting in a roof cavity.”

If you come across sick or injured native animals, contact the Wildcare helpline on 9474 9055.