Thursday 14 February 2013

Update 13th Feb 2013 - An Eye For An Eye

Still just Kiki, Pinot and Marlon visiting the house, but there have been a couple of young ringtails seen around and also a surprise visitor to box 3 (see later).

Over the past few days there has been a bit of a dispute between Marlon and Pinot. They have been chasing each other over the roof and in the early hours of this morning were heard trading insults and threats in the garage. Today Pinot arrived looking like this:

Pinot after a bit of a fight, 13th Feb 2013
His eye wound is almost identical to the one inflicted on Marlon in January, so it looks there has been some payback happening.

Kiki's baby is not yet back-riding, but has grown to the extent that occasional body parts now poke out of the pouch.

First sighting of Kiki's 8th baby (back foot, part of tail and tip of nose visible)  8th Feb 2013

Kiki was back in box 7 once at the start of the month. Her baby was out of the pouch most of the time they were in the box. At that stage he still looked more like starved rat than a possum, but was much more alert and inquisitive than before, and also fairly cheeky. Here's a film of him face-scrabbling Kiki.

Kiki's baby face-scrabbling 2nd Feb 2013

It looks cute, but there's serious business going on here. Young possums only spend a few months under the protection of their mothers. By the time they become independent they will need to be able to defend themselves against bigger possums, and other worse enemies. Scratching ones adversary in the face seems to be a popular and effective method of defence and we've seen Kiki teaching her last three babies (Piranha, Lex and Flea) this technique. I'm not sure how much actual teaching is going on and how much is instinctive, but nevertheless, Kiki's babies all seem to get a lot of practice at face-scrabbling from an early age.

A young unknown brushtail briefly visited box 3 one night. There's a good chance that this is Flea's baby; it's about the right age and this is about the time Flea's baby would be independent and trying to find a territory for itself.

A new possum (Possibly Flea's Baby) entering Box 3 - 12th Feb 2013
New possum in Box 3 - 12th Feb 2013

In case anyone's wondering, we weren't affected by the recent flooding. Our house is situated in the foothills near the crest of a rise, so it won't ever go under water, although we can still suffer various direct and indirect effects of heavy rain. Fortunately there wasn't any real damage this year.

I'm not sure how the possums deal with storms. They usually don't visit the house when the weather is really bad, which is understandable because it must be very unpleasant (and potentially dangerous) to move around in the trees when there's high wind or heavy rain. On the other hand, they rarely come into boxes to get out of the weather either.

I'm assuming they just hang onto a stout branch and wait it out. Unfortunately, nature doesn't make any concessions for animals just because they're cute and furry.

1 comment:

  1. Same with our local Bobucks, during bad weather. We have two emergency nest boxes - one on the bathroom roof which we set up when Puss was recovering from eye surgery, and the other on the garage roof, under the eaves of the main house roof, which is nicely protected from weather. Lou set up a nest there in 2009 and it's been used on and off since then. We put a new box up a few months ago when we realized Oli was now using that space. This is just near where we sleep. One night during a very bad storm we realized three possums were camped there lol.