Tuesday 26 February 2013

Update 26th Feb 2013 - Possum Hospital

Kiki, Pinot and Marlon are still visiting and Wesley has returned with a bite wound on his neck. It looks like another case of exudative dermatitis. [The wound is actually significantly worse than it looks in this photo; I chose the photo because it's a better one of Wesley.]

Wesley after a bit of a fight 22nd Feb 2013
Wesley was last seen in November last year and we thought he'd returned to where he came from, but it seems he's come back for medical treatment.

I'm not necessarily claiming that possums consciously reason it out like this, but I think it's not just a coincidence that he's appeared soon after getting an injury. A number of times we've had possums, who haven't been seen for a while, turn up when they have a problem, visit regularly for treatment and then go away when they're healthy. Maybe it's something simple like choosing an easier food source when they're feeling weak (even if that means running some risk intruding on another possum's territory where they would not normally go), but I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that they make some sort of connection between the yummy pink stuff (Ceclor) and getting better.

Wesley isn't the only one to turn up with injuries. Kiki has suffered what must be an extremely painful wound on the outside of her pouch. [In case it's not clear, that red patch is the wound; it's not the entrance to the pouch, which is up higher.]

Kiki with pouch wound 18th Feb 2013
Kiki's pouch is now getting very plump with the baby inside and often drags on tree branches; it wouldn't surprise me if it got caught on some sharp metal squeezing into someone's ceiling space or garage door.

Kiki and Wesley are both being treated with Ceclor. Kiki's wound isn't actually infected, but it's fairly large and probably comes into contact with dirty surfaces quite often, so (according to our veterinary advice) preventative measures are appropriate. BTW, it's OK to give Ceclor to mother possums with pouch young.

At least Pinot's eye wound is now much better. There is some missing fur, but there's clean, healthy skin visible underneath with no sign of infection.

We haven't seen Kiki's new baby in person yet, but we've got more footage on him, this time in Box 1. He actually looks like a proper possum now.

 Kiki's baby exploring 20th Feb 2013

Despite the face-scrabbling and toe-biting in this movie, Kiki's baby seems to be less of a brat than other baby brustails we've seen. He was more interested in exploring than pestering his mother and (although it isn't shown in this video) frequently climbed up to look out of the box entrance.

There has been at least one ringtail seen around, but it didn't get close and we can't tell if it's one of the babies seen earlier. No ringtails have visited any of the possum boxes in over a year and they tend to keep clear of the house. Quite possibly our house has a bad name in the ringtail community owing to the abundance of pythons last year. Still no pythons so far this year.


  1. This week you're Possum Hospital and we're the Possum Ambulance Service lol. We had to put Puss The One Eyed Mountain Possum through the trauma of being caught and caged for two days before a 40 minute rough road drive to the vet. Still, the result was an injection with two week's worth of antibiotics, which will hopefully help Puss' damaged thumb begin to heal.

    1. We had possum toe injury once. A bit over three years ago Kiki appeared with a toe (middle toe on front left foot) that was completely dead. We still don't know what caused it; possibly something got caught around it which cut off the blood supply.

      We treated her with Ceclor and made several attempts to capture her to have the toe amputated, but she evaded us and refused to approach a cat trap baited with her favourite foods.

      It seems she knew what was best for herself. She visited regularly for treatment even though at the time this was her mother's territory and she was running some risks by trespassing. Eventually she started refusing treatment and went away again. When next we saw her, the toe had dropped off and healed over perfectly.

      Possums seem to be incredibly tough when it comes to physical injuries like this, so I'm sure Puss will be OK.

  2. Hi
    Congratulations on a great site.
    In box 6 a colony of native bees are starting a hive,it would be interesting to watch it develop over the coming months.
    Do you plan on allowing it.

    1. Thanks for your interest.

      I was wondering what was going on in box 6; I initially thought it was ants, but they weren't behaving quite like ants. If they're native bees, I'll certainly let them stay.

      I don't know how long you've been viewing the site, but in 2010 the box was taken over by European honey bees (there's a video of it on the YouTube site). My understanding is that European honey bees are a dangerous feral pest, so I got rid of them, but native bees are not a problem and they might as well use the box if no one else is going to.