Friday 23 November 2012

Update 23rd November 2012

Kiki, Svejk, Wesley, Pinot and Marlon have all been visiting (in roughly that order of frequency).

A new male ringtail has been seen around. He looks like Wasabi - who is quite possibly his father - but is smaller (smaller than he looks in the photo) and has some nicks out of his ears. He might be one of the babies seen in September of this year. We have called him Tabasco. Hopefully, like Wasabi, he will prove to be distasteful to pythons.

Tabasco 7/11/2012

Wasabi himself hasn't visited for a while, however there have been ringtails seen in the trees, and it's possible he's about, but just not visiting.

Saturday 10 November 2012

Toe-biting Possums

Many brushtail possums have a toe-biting habit. When I was on holidays in Tasmania a few years ago, one of the local possums (named Rufus) greeted me in the following way:

Rufus toe-biting - Cradle Mountain, Tasmania 8/9/2008

I haven't worked out what the motivation for this is.

The majority will advance menacingly towards a person's foot, lightly nip at the big toe then run away. Some, however, will merely sniff at a toe. Very few will bite hard. Some possums never toe-bite at all. Ginger, our first possum, was like this. She would occasionally climb a person's leg, but never toe-bite.

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Update 30th Oct 2012

We haven't had a photo of Pinot in a while, so here's one of him in a characteristic pose on the balcony rail.

Pinot 24/10/2012

Some of the possums are now visiting much less often than before. For a while, only Kiki, Svejk and Wesley were visiting and we thought that the others may have left the area, however all of the remaining possums (Marlon, Pinot, Flea and Wasabi) have since shown themselves. No pythons have been seen in over a month.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Update 11th Oct 2012 - Possums, Turkeys and Koalas

We haven't had a picture of Marlon for a while, so here's a recent one of him pulling a face at the camera.

Marlon: "Get lost! I don't want my photo taken!"  5/10/2012

Friday 28 September 2012

Possum Status Update 28th Sept 2012

More pythons. This time a 2 m long one (that is to say, half way between Morlock and Grendel in size) descended through the trees in the possum feeding area.

Here's Kiki glaring at it with bared teeth.

Kiki on guard against the latest python 23/9/2012

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Update your bookmarks!

If you have the Possum TV Live webcam server bookmarked, you will need to change your link from to

There's a somewhat involved story behind this, but in brief, DynDNS changed their policy to no longer allow free accounts (such as mine) to use "wildcard" domains. I.e. I can have, but not or etc. This policy change actually happened some time ago (last year, I think), but it seems my site was only affected just recently, after I had to reset the IP address due to problems caused by a power outage.

Possum TV Live Webcam showing Flea in box 1 recently

Monday 17 September 2012

Possum Status Update 16th Sept 2012

Still no sign of Nosferatu. At this stage we're assuming he has met with some accident; either a python or one of the other many hazards a possum has to put up with.

Another new male possum has been seen in the area. It's possible that this possum is Dexter, who visited very briefly in May last year.

Unknown Brushtail (Possibly Dexter) 12/9/2012 [Photo by Xesce]

Saturday 8 September 2012

Possum Status Update 8th Sept 2012

Over the last couple of days the weather has warmed up considerably and, on cue, the pythons have been swarming all over the place. At dusk on 6/9/2012 a large python (quite probably Grendel) was stretched out on the balcony rail where the possums come. The following day, the python I had photographed on the roof on 22/4/2012 (see the Python TV post) was seen in the tree next to the balcony rail. I have named this second python Morlock. Subsequently that same night another smaller python (about 1 m long and very thin) also appeared in the same tree.

Kiki was lower down in the tree when this last python appeared, and here's a photo of her reaction to it. She glared at it for a long time with her teeth bared like this. I've never seen a possum do this before; their usual defensive pose is with mouth open, making vocal threats, and with one or both hands raised with claws outstretched. I'm thinking that Kiki is not making a threatening gesture as such, but is simply readying her teeth for biting purposes. Unlike when she saw Grendel, she wasn't nervous and shying at sudden movements, but instead looked like she was going to charge at the python and attack it.

An angry Kiki, ready to attack a carpet python 7/9/2012

Thursday 30 August 2012

Possum status update 30th August 2012

Kiki's new baby is out of the pouch. This is the first photo of the little one back-riding. The crumpled looking ears are normal for a baby which is spending a lot of time in the pouch.

First Picture of Kiki's 7th Baby 9/8/2012

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Possum status update 7th August 2012

There haven't been many photos of Svejk in this blog so far, so here's a recent one of him exploring the house.

Svejk 4/8/2012 [Photo by Xesce]

All of the regular possums are still visiting. Wesley was absent for over a week and we thought he might have left the area, but he returned last night.

Saturday 21 July 2012

Possum status update 21st July 2012

The python (I'm assuming it's Grendel although I still don't know for sure) is still sleeping under the eaves.

Wasabi, who had been making himself scarce since Grendel returned, has started visiting again. He has collected a couple of new scratches on the face but is otherwise in very good health.

Wasabi 19/7/2012

Sunday 15 July 2012

Possum status update 15th July 2012

All of the possums are still around and in good health. Marlon (pictured below) hasn't visited for a while but has been seen sleeping in nestboxes.

Marlon 5/7/2012 [photo by Xesce]

Saturday 14 July 2012

Possums in Garage Doors

Recently, Flea has taken to sleeping in the garage door.

It's quite common for possums to sleep inside rolled-up garage doors. It's not clear what the attraction is. I can certainly think of a number of negatives: It's closer to the ground than possums usually like. A metal door is going to be cold in the winter and hot in the summer. The door rolls up or down at random times when people use it, which must be at best annoying, and at worst there's the danger of getting caught up in the mechanism.

Leena in Garage Door - Feb 2010

Saturday 16 June 2012

Possum status update 16th June 2012

I've been away from home for work and this blog has been neglected for a while. This neglect is probably going to continue over the next month or two, but hopefully I can squeeze in updates like this one every now and then.

Kiki, Flea, Marlon, Pinot, Svejk and Wasabi are all still visiting regularly, and have recently been joined by a new male possum who we have named Wesley.

Wesley enjoying an apple core [photo by Xesce]

Sunday 20 May 2012

Possum status update 20th May 2012

Kiki, Flea, Marlon, Pinot, Svejk and Wasabi are all still visiting and have been hanging around the house for longer periods than usual. Possibly the pythons (which haven't been seen for nearly a month) have moved somewhere else, or possibly there's less natural food around in the colder weather.

Pinot is no longer nervous around the humans and is becoming quite bold.

Flea is learning her place in the possum hierarchy; last night she hissed at and chased off Pinot.

Here's a photo of her glaring at him from the balcony rail.

Pinot (background) and Flea (foreground)
One piece of bad news is that Flea looks like she has got exudative dermatitis. She has scabbing around both eyes, with a little on the sides of her mouth and also in her left ear.

Sunday 13 May 2012


Since it's Mother's Day, I thought I'd write about Kiki. Kiki is the dominant female brushtail in the area (i.e. the Top Possum, because the females are always higher in the pecking order than the males).

Kiki is around four years old and has had six babies, which makes her the most successful mother brushtail we've seen so far.

Here's a recent photo:
Kiki (right) and Flea (left)

Sunday 6 May 2012

Flat Stanley visits the Possums

In March we had a visit from Flat Stanley who came all the way from Canada. The possums were all eager to meet him.

Flat Stanley meets Flea

Saturday 5 May 2012

Possum status update 5th May 2012

No big changes in the possum world. The pythons haven't been sighted again, but the possums are still visiting less often than before. This could be because there has been quite a bit of rain, which the possums never like, but it could also be that the pythons are still lurking somewhere out of sight.

Some time ago Svejk had a very small infection (smaller than the one Marlon had) in the corner of his mouth, but this went away on its own and he now appears to be in perfect health.

Flea now visits much less often than before. Here's a recent photo. I tried to capture how fluffy her tail is, but I don't think I've done a very good job; in person it looks much more impressive.

Flea 29/4/2012
As an aside: I'm not sure why brushtails have such amazingly bushy tails when ringtails can get away with tails that are almost bald. Brushtails often use their tails as pillows when sleeping, which must be very soft and warm, but I can't believe it's just about warmth because both types of possum live equally well in both hot and cold climates. Maybe it's a way of advertising their reproductive fitness: "Look at how plump and luxuriant my tail is; I must clearly be a very healthy and successful possum to grow such a tail."

Saturday 28 April 2012

Possum status update 28th April 2012

While the pythons were about, the possums made themselves scarce. On a couple of nights, only Kiki, the fiercest of our possums, was brave enough to visit. At one stage, Grendel hid in the gutter over the possum feeding area, presumably also looking for a feed, but was out of luck because the possums kept away.

The last couple of days have been comparatively cold (by Queensland standards) and the snakes have not been seen at all during this time. Maybe the temperature has made them more sluggish or maybe they've gone away to find a warmer place.

Pinot has been gradually getting over his shyness.
Pinot 24/4/2012
Wasabi was seen briefly tonight, but wasn't game to approach the house. He is the smallest of the possums and the most at risk from pythons, so it's understandable that he's still being cautious.

Monday 23 April 2012

Python TV

If you want to read about the funny antics of cute possums (which was intended to be the main point of this blog), I would suggest skipping over this post, where I talk about one of their biggest enemies.

Last night, in addition to Grendel who is still sleeping in box 4, I saw two more carpet pythons on the roof, so this is probably a good time to write a post about these animals.

Carpet pythons are common along the eastern coast of Australia and are particularly common here in Brisbane. If you're interested, the subspecies we have here is Morelia spilota mcdowelli. They grow to 3.5 m (about 12 feet) in length. Here's one that was in my back yard a few years back.

Carpet Python (Sept 2009)
They mainly eat warm-blooded prey; small mammals and birds. They are a major predator of possums.

Saturday 21 April 2012

Possum status update 21st April 2012

A couple of days ago, a carpet python moved into Box 4. This is the same python which ate the ringtails Gumdrop and Lychee in February of this year. I've named this python Grendel. I'll write more about him/her later.

Grendel the Carpet Python enters Box 4
The new possum has finally come over and taken food from hand. Close up, he doesn't look or act like Piranha and we have named him Pinot.

Marlon looks much better now. I'll post an updated photo when I can get a good one. Marlon has been a particularly good patient, always visiting at a regular time for his medicine.

Also, I've just put Box 6 back up. This box is intended for sugar gliders and was removed in October 2010 after it had been taken over by bees. The box took this long to refurbish, partly because the camera had been wrecked by being embedded in honeycomb, but mainly due to slackness on my part. In fact, I was only spurred to do something by the sugar glider which visited recently.

There's currently a lot of interference on the Box 6 camera. I think that water might have got into the video cable when the box was removed. I'll probably re-terminate this cable some time soon.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Possum status update 14th April 2012

I'm going to periodically make posts like this to keep people updated on the status of the possums. I won't be able to be as regular or as comprehensive as David Sneddons's Possum Diary, but I'll do my best. And by the way, if you like cute possums, be sure to check out the rest of Sneddo's site. In addition to his Possum Diary, there are galleries of possum photos and videos.

Kiki (left) and Flea (right)
Kiki is becoming a little less indulgent towards Flea and has chased her off a couple of times, but still generally tolerates her. Flea is behaving like a typical cheeky young brushtail, and still tries to tear food out of Kiki's mouth when given the chance.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Introducing Possum TV

Australia is home to some of some pretty amazing wildlife. I think it's a sad thing that most Australians remain ignorant about the animals that (quite literally) live in their own backyards. It's sad not only for the sake of the wildlife, which often gets treated with callous indifference as a result, but also sad because people are missing out on so much.

Not only are the animals incredibly cute, but they're also more interesting than you might imagine. I have been following the lives of the local possums since 2005 and there are still unusual things happening all of the time. As an example of this, a sugar glider visited while I was writing this post. This is the first sugar glider I've seen in the area since 2010.

Sugar Glider looking on cautiously
Anyway, I'll start this blog off with a brief introduction to the possums currently in the area. I'll try to fill in the back-story later, but for the moment you can find more information on the Possum TV Live site if you're interested.

Kiki is the dominant female of the area. She has had six babies so far, with a seventh (probably) in the pouch.  Kiki is missing the middle toe on her front left foot.

Flea is Kiki's daughter. Flea is a very athletic little possum. She is still on friendly terms with her mother. The pronounced white tip on her tail is uncommon in this area.

Svejk is the dominant male of the area. Although now over five years old (middle-aged for a possum), he's in very good condition.

Marlon is a marauding male visiting the area. He may be related to Svejk.

Unknown Male Possum (maybe Piranha)

This possum has been sleeping in Box 2 recently. He hasn't come near enough to be unidentified yet. He could be Piranha (one of Kiki's babies) come back for a visit.

Wasabi is a young male ringtail. He was lucky to escape the clutches of a carpet python which ate has mother, and probably also sister, earlier this year. He is less shy than most ringtails and has visited several times over the past few days.