Why Possums are Beneficial to Urban Areas

02 Jul 2023


Australia's urban areas have a hidden population of furry little creatures living amongst us - possums. These nocturnal marsupials are a common sight in many garden verges and parks around the country, yet few people know much about them. Not only are possums adorable, but they also play a crucial role in our ecosystem and can offer several benefits to humans. In this blog post inspired by the beloved Costa Georgiadis, we'll examine why possums are essential in Australia's urban areas.

Possums can be found all over Australia, including in urban areas. They tend to be most active at night and spend their days snoozing in hollow trees or in roof spaces. Possums have adapted well to our cities and are happy to share the space with humans. They are remarkably resilient creatures, surviving harsh environments and adapting to changing landscapes. One of the many positive attributes of possums is that they are curious creatures and will explore anything that looks like a potential food source. This curiosity is why possums can help control pest populations in gardens and parks.

Possums are known to eat a wide range of food, and one of their favourite snacks is insects. With insect populations on the rise in our urban areas, it's no surprise that possums are becoming more prevalent as they eat and control these pests. Possums will eat many different insects that are considered pests, including cockroaches, ticks, caterpillars, and beetles. This means that possums can help control the spread of diseases and reduce pest control costs for homeowners, gardeners, and businesses.

Many people have negative perceptions of possums due to their tendency to rummage through rubbish bins and make noise at night. However, these behaviours are just part of their natural habits as nocturnal scavengers. Possums are scavengers and will eat whatever is available, including fruit scraps and vegetables. They have a keen sense of smell and will be attracted to rubbish bins, compost heaps, and birdfeeders. This scavenging behaviour is considered a secondary benefit as possums can help reduce waste in urban areas, thus reducing the environmental impact of our waste.

Another benefit of possums is their role in seed dispersal. As they travel through gardens and parks, possums will carry small seeds on their fur, helping to disperse them across a broader area. This dispersal can help native plants thrive in urban environments, improving the overall ecosystem of our cities and towns. Research has shown that possums can play a significant role in maintaining biodiversity in urban areas, making them a crucial part of our ecosystem's functioning.

Australia's possums are often misunderstood and undervalued. Possums may be nocturnal scavengers, but they play a vital role in Australia's urban areas. They control pest populations, reduce waste, aid in seed dispersal, and maintain biodiversity. Humans and possums can coexist, and it's essential to understand their role in our ecosystem. We hope this blog post has encouraged you to look at possums from a different perspective and appreciate their contributions to our urban environment. If you encounter a possum in your neighbourhood, take a moment to observe and admire these fascinating creatures.