Pests or pals? How to live in harmony with urban wildlife

Brushtail Possum in a boxCalamitous cockies, pushy possums and the odd snake: love them or loathe them, Australian cities are rich in native wildlife that’s adapted to an urban lifestyle.

And even though they can be annoying and often become pests — as anyone who has had possums living in their roof will attest — we can co-exist happily with our city-dwelling feathered, furry and scaly friends.

That’s right — even possums.

Here are a few ways to live alongside the animals on your doorstep without calling pest control every other day.

How do I stop possums nibbling on my herbs …

Boil chillies and garlic in water, let it cool, strain and pour it in a spray bottle, and spray your garden.

This stinky, spicy concoction will keep possums away, along with loads of other herb-chomping creatures, said Sarah Bekessy, an urban ecologist at RMIT in Melbourne.

The natural chemical weapon contains capsaicin from chilli, which is the active ingredient in pepper spray, and irritating sulphur-based garlic compounds, which can kill insects on contact.

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FAWNA Winter 2017 Newsletter

FAWNA Winter 2017 NewsletterFAWNA volunteers have contributed in so many varied ways to ensure the group met its objectives with excellent outcomes in a spirit of harmony and cooperation.

FAWNA’s wildlife records are under final compilation for the report due in, to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service at the end of September 2017. Preliminary figures including new
intakes and carry-over animals from the previous year total around 3550 and to that we need to add a reliable estimate of the very large number of flying-foxes that perished in the two events referred to on Page 1. It is important that history will show the frequency and timing of catastrophic events for particular wildlife species.

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Big effort for little penguin

Photo June and Ron LePla

Photo June and Ron LePla

From the public, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Vets and FAWNA, many hands came to the fore in an effort to help an underweight and moulting Little Penguin found needing help at Forster.

The juvenile Little Penguin, named Sweet Pea after his visit to the Sweet Pea Animal Hospital in Forster, was vet checked and announced ready for rehabilitation.  FAWNA carers Gail and Allan, Wendy and June, arranged a relay transfer from Forster to Port Macquarie where temporary special facilities were prepared to take in this special little bird who was diagnosed as needing “fattening up” and supervision until the moult was complete and new feathers grown.

FAWNA carer, Gail from Rainbow Flat, reported “This little cutie won all our hearts as it was being transported to us, although it did bite me once when giving him some Spark.  It was a pleasure to be part of this team effort to help this Little Penguin”.

The little penguin is the only penguin species that breeds on the Australian mainland. Little penguins are found along the southern coasts of Australia, from near Perth in Western Australia to around Coffs Harbour in northern NSW. They also occur in New Zealand.

Originally, little penguins were fairly common on the Australian mainland, but these days their colonies are generally restricted to offshore islands. Approximately 25,000 pairs nest on islands off the coast of NSW.

FAWNA asks if anyone comes across a penguin causing concern they should contact FAWNA immediately on 6581 4141, and keep it secure and warm, or take it to a local vet.

When ready for release the little penguin will be returned to its encounter location if its own species are present, or efforts will be made to introduce it into an existing penguin colony.

“Happy Feet” FAWNA’s last rehabilitated Little Penguin was successfully released in waters off Port Macquarie.

For more information about FAWNA’s volunteer work with wildlife go to