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

We've named Kiki's 7th baby Nosferatu after its vampirish expression. The photo in my last blog entry doesn't show this expression too well, so I'll re-post it cropped a little closer. You can click on the picture for a bigger image.

Nosferatu 9/8/2012
The bad news is that Nosferatu might no longer be with us. It's been well over a week since we've seen him/her. While it's quite normal for Kiki to leave a young baby like this by itself when visiting us, this rarely happens for more than a couple of days in a row. It's possibly Kiki might have hidden Nosferatu away in some safe place away from the snakes, but clearly it's possible the little one might have ended up as a python's dinner, which would explain Kiki's recent anger.

The wound on Flea's back started to get the ugly, scabby, appearance of exudative dermatitis (I'll spare you the photos). Normally this infection starts on the edge of a mucous membrane, such as around the mouth or eye, so it's unusual to see it in an isolated spot in the middle of the back. Maybe she was bitten by another possum who carried the infection in their mouth.

On the advice of Dr Jim Pollock, we have been treating Flea with Ceclor. It'll be a few days before we start seeing results.

Dangling Flea 25/8/2012
Svejk injured his right back leg and also picked up some scratches to the face. He has been limping and favouring the leg for a number of days now, but it doesn't seem to be broken and he looks to be improving. He was recently seen in a nestbox, grooming (carefully) with the injured leg, so it can't be too bad. We're keeping an eye on the scratches, but so far no sign of anything nasty.

Svejk 7/9/2012 [Photo by Xesce]
Wasabi has been seen around but is understandably nervous. When the pythons were active, he sensibly stayed high in a gumtree and didn't approach the house.

The other possums are in good health and visiting regularly.

There has also been a female ringtail (as yet un-named) with two well-grown babies seen in the garden, but none have approached closely.

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