How big is the box?

The box measures approximately 52 cm (H) x 25 cm (W) x 25 cm (D). The post is 80 cm long. It is made of pine timber and weighs around 8.5 kg. Sizes and weight will vary slightly due to the different timber used by the various Sheds. Inside, there are three small ledges to enable accidentally trapped birds to hop their way out.

 

How do I install a box?

  1. You will need a ladder and a hammer. Your box purchase will come with two nails for attaching the box to the tree. Have someone help you by holding the ladder securely.
  2. Look for a mature tree with plenty of leafy coverage. Note: a growing tree may cause the nails to pull loose when the tree expands upwards. Evergreen trees are ideal as they do not shed leaves in winter. Avoid positioning the box in an exposed or bare area of the tree.
  3. The box should be placed 2.6 to 3 metres (8.5 to 10 feet) from the ground as a safeguard against predators and to provide a quieter, more private environment.
  4. The post should lie against the main trunk and the hole face southeast, or as much away from the afternoon sun as possible.
  5. Hammer the top nail into the tree at a 45 degree angle, leaving 5 cm sticking out. Climb carefully with the box to hang it on the nail. Hammer the second nail through the bottom slot at a 90 degree angle, positioning it at the top of the slot. Test to ensure the box is securely fastened to the tree and will not shift in strong winds.

 

Can Wildlife Victoria help install the box?

We’re sorry but we do not have the resources to carry out installations.

 

How long will the box last?

If you take care of the box and check on it every six months to ensure it is still securely attached, it should last at least 10 years.

 

How do I take care of the box?

Ensure leaves don’t collect on top of the box. If they do, they can cause water to pool and rot the wood. Every six months, check that the box is still securely attached to the tree.

 

Can I paint the box?

Some Sheds provide boxes already painted, but if the box you collect is unpainted, you may paint it with a water-based, non-toxic paint. Do allow it to air completely so the paint smell is gone before you install it. Also, avoid painting around the rim of the entrance as possums sometimes chew that area.

 

How long will the possum live in the box?

Possums are territorial, so if a possum is using the box now, it is likely to continue using it for the rest of its life. Ringtails live 8 years on average, while Brushtails can live up to 12 years. If for some reason a possum vacates the box and leaves its territory, another possum is likely to move in quickly.

 

What can I feed the possums?

We don’t recommend that you feed the possums as you may be giving them food they don’t usually eat. Possums feed on native fruit and plants and will source their own food.

 

The only time that you might provide food is when you are trying to lure a possum out from your roof, shed or garage. In such situations, you can leave a trail of small pieces of fruit such as apple or banana. Once the possum is out, please discontinue the feeding.

 

What if my cat climbs up to the box?

We strongly recommend that cats are kept indoors for the safety of wildlife as well as the cats. Alternatively, you can provide an enclosed cat run for your pets.

 

Please note that if your cat has attacked a possum, the possum will need veterinary assistance as soon as possible even if there are no visible signs of harm. Cats carry nasty bacteria in their claws and teeth and the smallest scratch can cause a deadly infection for possums if untreated. Let the vet know the possum has come into contact with a cat.

 

Why does the box cost $50?

The box is less expensive when compared to other commercially available nest boxes.

 

Wildlife Victoria is working with Men’s Sheds to build these boxes. The price covers the material (nails, screws, wood glue, etc) and labour costs, as well as our administration costs. All profits go toward our rescue and rehabilitation efforts, as well as our education and outreach programs. Wildlife Victoria is a volunteer-run organisation that does not receive ongoing government funding and relies on donations.

 

You’ll be pleased to know that we are recycling the timber by building these possum boxes. The timber would otherwise go to landfill. Some Sheds are also painting their boxes with paint obtained from a company that collects and processes waste paint that is destined for landfill too.