After the neighbour in the back has trimmed his trees, there are some brushtail possums move into our shed. Brushtail possums are commonly live in the suburbia. Our shed sits under a pear tree. My husband is going to make a couple of boxes and he will hang them in the tree with the hope that they will move in there. In the evening when they got out of the shed, we will close the gap on the top of the shed door. It is the only way the animals can get in there. They are such a lovely animal with soft fluffy fur and a long bushy tail.
Brushtail Possums ( Trichosurus vulpecula)
Like any other possums in Australia, brushtail possums are marsupials. They are nocturnal, so they will sleep during the day and roam and feed during the night.
What are marsupials?
Marsupials are mammals with a pouch. They differ from other mammals by having their young born in a very immature or undeveloped state. Newborn marsupials emerge from their mother’s birth canal and instinctively wiggle their way to a nipple. In most species, the nipples are located in a pouch called the marsupium. Newborn marsupials undergo most of their development attached to one of their mother’s nipples and nourished by her milk. They remain close until they no longer need her milk and can fend for themselves. A few marsupials, such as the shrew opossum, do not have pouches.
It is said that there are about 334 species of marsupials, over 200 of them native to Australia and nearby islands to the north. There are also around 100 American species, mostly in South America, but also, as a result of the Great American Interchange, 13 species in Central America and one (the Virginian Opossum) in North America.
Brushtail possums can grow as big as a domestic cat, pointy snout, pink nose and large oval ears. They have a long and bushy tail. They eat leaves, buds, flowers and fruits (This explains the culprits who neatly cut-off some of my rose and geraniums buds). They pick and hold the food with their front paws.
Mostly brushtail possums live a solitary life except in breeding seasons. The mother lives solitary with the young inside the pouch or cling on her back. Usually in May and June, a baby possum is born after only a gestation period of 17 days (human’s is 9 months gestation). The newborn which is foetus-like no bigger than a jelly bean will find its way into the mother’s pouch and attach itself to a teat. It will grow for about 5 months before it comes out of the warm pouch and for another 2 months it will cling on the mom’s back. After 7 months old, the young possum will be independent and they start to breed when they reach one year old.
The images above were taken few months ago. It shows the culprit that eats my rose buds. Ha, ha……
The mother possum in our place is so tame, it will take a piece of fruit or bread from our hand. Many people hate these possums, but we are trying to share the same habitat with them peacefully. 🙂