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Monday, 18 Dec 2017

Brushtail Possums

 

  possum

 Photo taken by Ashley Wallis

                                                                           Roleystone has the subspecies Trichosurus Culpecula. v. hypoleucus


Habitat 

In the wild this possum lives in forests and nests in tree hollows during the day, usually large eucalypts, but this nocturnal creature has become quite comfortable around people, has adapted well to living among them and become quite versatile when finding nesting sites.

Size & Diet

About the size of a cat with big ears, a pink nose and a bushy tail, they spend almost as much time on the ground as they do in trees. Leaves form the bulk of its diet and flowers and fruits are an important component. They may eat plants from our gardens.

Breeding

Most brushtail populations have a major autumn and minor spring breeding season and females can begin reproducing at about one year old. A single young is born 16 - 18 days after copulation and will spend four to five months attached to a teat in the pouch. They develop rapidly and after a couple more months spent suckling and riding on the mother's back weaning is completed. Except when breeding, possums generally like to live alone and from 6 to 18 months is a hard time for the juveniles as they leave the area where they were born to find a home range for themselves.

Alternative accomodation

Because possums have adapted so well to urban living, they often take up residence in the roof cavity of houses. If this has happened to you and you want them removed, find the entrances they are using and when they come out at night to forrage seal the entry.

Possums like a dark safe place and having a nest to move into when this happens can be a good idea. Boxes can be made by wiring two lined hanging baskets together and cutting a hole near the top. Also wooden boxes around 30cm high and 40cm wide with a few drainage holes drilled in the bottom are suitable. Put a wire mesh ladder or wooden strips inside one wall of the box to allow the young to climb out.

 

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