Possum

There are four species of possum found in the Northern Territory (NT), but the most common is the northern brushtail possum. 

The rock ringtail possum and sugar glider are less common in urban environments in the Top End. 

The common brushtail possum is a rare species found in Central Australia. 

Possums are a protected species in the NT and should not be interfered with without a permit. Read more about wildlife permits.

Northern brushtail possums are one of few native animals that will live and breed in the urban environment. 

They are found in suburban areas across the Top End, including Darwin and Katherine. 

They breed year round and young emerge after spending four to five months in the female’s pouch.

Possums are important for spreading pollen and seeds for many native plants and flowers.

Feeding

Possums come out at night to feed on the leaves, flowers and fruits of ironwoods, wattles and melaleucas. 

In urban areas, possums also feed on fruit trees and introduced garden plants. Possums will also scavenge from bins, compost heaps and pet food bowls.

Threats

The northern brushtail possum is one of the few mammals in Australia that has successfully adapted to urban environments. 

Urban possums are often victims of cat and dog attacks, car strikes and poisoning from rodent baits.

Interactions with people

Possums take advantage of reliable food supplies, protected nesting sites and well irrigated habitats in homes and towns. 

Living with possums can cause problems, especially when they move into roofs. 

Brushtails often use roofs for shelter and to breed because natural tree hollows are unavailable in urban areas. 

Possums can also damage gardens and fruit orchards, particularly when there is a lack of natural food.

When possums communicate they often use sharp hisses and deep coughs, particularly during breeding, which can cause a lot of disturbance.

Possums near your home

There are a number of things you can do to reduce possum problems in your area. Read more about possums and your home

Report a possum

If you have a possum in your roof you can contact a pest control company.

If you would like further information on possums or how to care for injured or orphaned possums, contact Parks and Wildlife.

Last updated: 27 June 2017