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Importance of tree hollows

Possum Homes

Making a drey using hanging baskets
It is important that possum homes are strong and waterproof. An artificial drey should resemble as closely as possible, in comfort and size, the natural drey. Hanging baskets conform perfectly to these specifications.

Items Required

1. Two wire hanging baskets (10” for up to 4 ringtails, 12” for up to 8 ringtails)

2. Two coconut fibre basket liners, please ensure coconut fibre basket liners are good quality NOT loose fibres.

How to make the drey

1. Bottom - put the bottom liner inside the WIRES basket and stick in place.

2. Top - remove the chain and place the fibre liner on top of the wire basket

3. Spread the wire apart on the top basket to make an opening. Cut a tennis ball size hole in the top liner to form an entrance, and stitch in place.

4. Wire the two sections together together in at least four places

5. Extend the chain from the bottom section over the combined baskets and attach a hanging hook (made from a cut-off piece of wire coat hanger).

6. Soft leaf litter or coconut fibre can be placed in the bottom of the drey for added comfort for the animal, and a few layers of paper bark tied on top of the drey gives it extra protection from inclement weather and also looks ‘natural’.

 

Guide to making a Brushtail possum house

Images below copy right Department of environment & conservation (nsw)

 

 

HOW TO INSTALL A POSSUM BOX

Placement of the box can be as important as its design:
The positioning of the Possum Box is an important factor when considering its installation. Studies have shown that possums prefer sites in older larger trees that provide some safety away from predators, provide some privacy and remain cooler during the day. Height must also be considered as this can influence the optimal thermal environment by providing protection from heat stress. Therefore try to locate the Possum Box where it will have some canopy tree shading and protection from extreme weather. Although varying heights of den sites and a variety of trees are used by Possums in the wild, the following is recommended when installing a Possum Box;

 

HEIGHT:              3.5 – 5.0m above the ground

TREE SIZE:         300mm diameter preferred
LOCATION:        Partially shaded from extreme direct summer sun & buffered from extreme weather conditions/storms.
ASPECT:            Do not face opening into direct, exposed northern or western summer sun. Position the box with the entrance facing away from the direction of the prevailing rain and wind.

 

INSTALLATION
A variety of methods can be used, however it is widely accepted that screwing the nest box to a tree will have the least impact on a trees health. Several factors need to be considered to reduce the risk of the Possum Box falling down, these include;

  • Position it firmly so it does not wobble in the wind or when bumped around by possums
  • Make the box last by using galvanised batten screws or galvanised roofing screws to avoid rusting and consequential collapse/failure.
  • Don’t place the box in/on a fork because as the tree grows it may be squashed. Place 50mm above a limb.
  • You may wish to add an extra roof as a weather measure if shading is not adequate.

 

Securing Possum Box Direct to Tree (using a Spacer)
A 'spacer' needs to be erected before the Possum Box can be installed. This will allow the lid of the Possum Box to be opened for inspection or cleaning.

  • Use 2 x 150mm long, galvanised batten screws (countersunk), to attach a 100 x 50 hardwood 'spacer ' to the tree trunk. This should have a minimum length of 500mm and be placed in a vertical position.
  • Then, from inside the box, screw through the back of the box direct to the spacer and into the tree trunk. Use 2 x 75mm galvanised roofing screws to do this.

Ideally the screws should be located 30mm from the top and bottom of the box.
 
Hanging Boxes from a Tree Limb
A loop of heavy gauge wire or chain, sheathed in garden hosing is used as the top support in this method. The top support is hung over a suitable limb, close to where it connects to the tree trunk. Enough room must be to allow the lid to be opened. Sheathing with garden hose is used as it helps to protect the tree from damage due to ring-barking.
 Remember, the Possum box should be attached to the tree in two places. A base support is used by securing it with a spacer. In this method the spacer is secured in a horizontal position.
To make the top support- insert 1m of wire or chain through a 300-500mm long piece of garden hose. Attach it securely, to one side of the box through pre-drilled holes, located 30mm from the top of the box.
Pre-drill the other side so it is easier to attach when you have positioned it over the branch. Remember,
you will need to do the final attachment while you are on the ladder-so be prepared with pliers. Apply safety when using a ladder and remember to tie the ladder to the tree before use.
The base support- Attach a 100x 50 horizontal spacer, as mentioned above.

 

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Donations can be posted to:

WIRES NR

PO Box 1356 Lismore NSW 2480
Tel: 02 66281898

 

 

 

Updated January 19, 2014

 

Webmaster: Susanne Ulyatt

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