How do you recognise what is making that noise in the ceiling? Take notice of when you hear the noise. Possums will only be heard at dusk and dawn, if they are living in your roof or ceiling, you will hear them when leaving at dusk, and then again when they return at dawn.

Rats and mice are active at all times of the day and night, especially at night, when you may hear them fight. It is quite amazing just how much noise such fairly small creatures can make.

Possums will take up residence in ceilings only because their habitat is being lost at an alarming rate. New housing estates spring up fast, where one moment possums had their homes, now stands houses!!

There may be trees left standing, but possums are territorial, another possum may already be in residence, and they DO NOT share accommodation. You may not be living in a house with no prior issue of a possum in your ceiling, but you suddenly have a possum has moved in. This may occur as someone close by may have cut down an old tree, the home of the particular possum; it had no choice but to find another home.

What can you do to discourage the possum. First provide a home for the animal. This can be easily done by making or purchasing a possum box. Locate the possum box close by in a suitable tree, remember they will need shade as a box heats up fast in the sun, the box will need to be as high as possible no less than 3 meters above ground . In the old days possums were relocated, this has however proved extremely unsuccessful. Possums are territorial and do not tolerate competition for shelter or food.

In most instances the relocated possum will not survive. As we encroach on the habitat of native animals such as possums, it is our responsibility to make sure these animals have a place amongst us, let them live their lives as undisturbed as possible, by providing them with a new home close by.

        Animals in the ceiling

 Native animals in ceiling spaces are a matter of building maintenance rather than wildlife volunteer removals.

It is essential to determine how the animal is accessing the ceiling space and then make a one way cat flap type arrangement so the animal can exit but not re-enter.

This might mean installing a sturdy strip screen of for example aviary wire (1cm sq) around the periphery of the roof line apart from a metre or two where the temporary animal flap is installed. The flap can be as simple as a strip of shade cloth taped at the top with gaffa/masking tape, preferably at known point of access.

Once the animal has departed, close the gap with aviary wire.

 Older style houses can have many access points for animals looking for a hollow to call home

Pythons will often take up residence in the ceiling and are a free non -toxic rodent control. They are non-venomous and do not chew electrical wiring. People will, of course, need to house their chooks, aviary birds, rabbits and guinea pigs in python proof enclosures (aviary wire). However children, dogs and cats are faster than pythons and should not be at risk.

Co-existing with wildlife is part of the pleasure of living in the Northern Rivers.