When it comes to infestations in the home, there are a few culprits. Normally, you can tell the difference with ease. After all, an infestation by mosquitoes and termites is very easy to tell apart. However, two infestations that can seem very similar and get confusing are possums, and rats. So in this article, we will look at how to tell the difference between rats and possums, especially in the home.
Does the Difference Between Possum and Rat Infestations Matter?
While possum and rat infestations are both undesirable, there is a difference between possum and rat infestations. For one, possums are protected by law, so removing them without consideration for the welfare of the possum can be troublesome.
Another difference is their behaviour and options for removal from your home.
So before you can think about taking action against the intruder in your home, you must know how to tell the difference between rats and possums.
Are Possums and Rats Related?
No, while there are similarities between the two species, rats and possums are completely unrelated. The similarities between them are a sign of convergent evolution, where two species have evolved to look similar or take on similar adaptations because those adaptations are ideal for the specific requirements.
There are many examples of this in the wild, for example, legless lizards, skinks with missing limbs, and snakes all not having legs. Another example of convergent evolution is dolphins, sharks, and ichthyosaurus.
So while they look similar and there are some differences, they are not related.
Differences Between Rats and Possums
There are numerous differences between rats and possums. These can be split into several different areas. So let's look at these.
Rat VS Possum – Living Arrangements
Rats often live in small colonies, where they multiply, with several rats operating out of a nest. And this can be a great way to determine if there is a significant rat problem at a property. Rats are very secretive in the wild, but if you start to see rats out and about during the day, then they’ve become too confident because of their numbers.
Possums like to live on their own. Males tend to have a territory where they will defend the territory against intruders. Males will sometimes try to visit other territories for mating, but they will return to their homes.
Rats are also known to be active all the time. They rarely are seen during the day, as they like to stay hidden. In contrast, possums will sleep most of the day and only come out at night.
Rat vs Possum Eating Habits
Rats are secretive animals and try to hide their presence. For example, they won’t eat all the food on offer and will move between different sources, taking only a small amount. This allows homeowners to conduct a test, known as the apple test, to see whether a possum or a rat is infesting a home.
Possums on the other hand will eat all the food from a source.
Rats prefer to eat grains too, compared to the mostly fruit diet of possums.
Rat Poop vs Possum Poo
Comparing rat poop vs possum poo is one of the best ways to tell the difference between the two species. Rat poop is often spread around the place and will be small and can look like a banana.
Possums are different. They will leave droppings in one location near their home. They are relatively clean in their droppings. However, their urine is much different and can stain ceilings as they often urinate throughout the day and night.
Rat vs Possum Appearance
It is very hard for you to see either a possum or a rat. Mostly, because they don’t like to be viewed by humans and will often hide. However, if you do see a rat or possum and would like to know which one you would like to see, then you might need to look at the tail.
Possums have bushy tails whereas rats have hairless tails.
One massive difference is how they will behave around humans too. Rats will run away and be quiet for a long time after being discovered. However, possums will freeze for a moment and then will return to whatever they were doing. They don’t consider humans to be a major threat.
How to Get Rid of Rats or Possums
So if you know the difference between rats and possums, then you need to learn how to remove them from your home. There are some differences between the two. For instance, rats can be trapped and moved, whereas possums have to be persuaded to leave.
Rats also have no problems leaving a home, whereas possums can suffer greatly in a move and males are known to die if they are forcibly removed from a property.
One of the best ways to move the rats and possums is to use an ultrasonic device. These devices emit a sound that humans can’t hear and the rats and possums dislike this. As a result, they will attempt to find a new home.
Possums can also be persuaded to find a new home by removing access from the home. Repairing walls so that the possum cannot gain access to the home again will deter them.
Rats can also be deterred through the use of natural predators. Dogs and chickens are pretty good deterrents. Chickens, for instance, can be useful because they will hunt rats in the garden as a pack. Partly this is a defensive posture to protect their eggs.
Cats can be useful against smaller individuals but are less likely to attack larger rats that can be found in urban areas.
However, possums will not be deterred by chickens as the bird doesn’t consider them a threat. A dog might be a deterrent, but the possum can easily escape a dog or stay out of its way.
Final Word: Possum VS Rat - What Makes Them Different?
Rats and possums are similar in look, but there are massive differences between them. However, getting rid of them when they’ve infested a home is vital for the health and safety of your family. Envirobug offers Ultrasonic Pest Repellers and Garden Sentinel Motion-activated animal sprinklers to help you manage rodents and possums infestations.