Saturday 13 September 2014

Update 13th Sept 2014 - Comet back-riding

Comet is now fully out of the pouch and back-riding. Here is a photo from his first visit to the house.

Comet riding on Kiki's back - 7th Sept 2014

And another one from a few days later.

Kiki with Comet back-riding - 10th Sept 2014

Although Comet is not yet weaned and has only been back-riding for a little over a week, he's very adventurous and often goes off on his own for short periods.

Comet (left) and Kiki (right) - 12th Sept 2014 [Photo by Xesce]

The photo below was taken when he climbed back into the trees after madly scampering back and forth across the balcony.

Comet - 12th Sept 2014

The other possums in the area; Dexter, Prok, Tilda, Ruby and Wasabi have been seen around. Ruby and Tilda both have babies in the pouch.

Ruby - 5th Sept 1014

Wasabi is his usual friendly and cheerful self.

Wasabi - 1st Sept 2014

It's now getting on for a year since Wasabi's eye injury. I once had a wildlife carer tell me that ringtails were more delicate than brushtails and that while a brushtail could survive in the wild with only one eye, a ringtail probably couldn't. Wasabi has proved this theory wrong. Despite having a tail injury on top of his eye problem, he has not only survived, but maintained his place as the dominant male in the area and fathered another round of babies with his two girlfriends.

So the moral is: don't let anyone euthanase a possum because they believe it won't survive in the wild with a seemingly serious disability like this. Wildlife is tougher than many people realise.


  1. Yes!!! Yes!! Yes!! (but you already know we agree with you lol)

    Lovely to see Comet out and about. He's a gorgeous colour.

    1. Jeni,

      Unfortunately, there was a minor tragedy here last night where I was forced to go against the advice I had written above.

      I don't know the details of exactly what happened, but at about 8pm last night there was a squawk in the trees (which actually sounded most like a fruit bat) and what sounded like a small possum falling onto the leaves below. There wasn't the usual sound of it scampering away after it hit the ground, so I went to investigate.

      There was a small ringtail (one which I hadn't seen before) lying there in a pile of leaves, barely moving, with an entire eyeball hanging out of the socket. The possum was then quickly placed in a cat carrier and taken to the after-hours vet.

      Unfortunately, the vet and vet nurse (who had actually been a possum carer) decided that the possum couldn't be saved. I explained about Wasabi, but they said that a much younger possum (possibly not even fully independent), with a more serious injury, wouldn't survive.

      My suspicion is that the fact that their vets were busy at moment may have influenced their decision, but there wasn't much I could do about it. The possum needed urgent treatment (surgery) and they were the only after-hours vet in the area. If they weren't willing to help, the only alternative would have been to take the possum back off them (which would have no doubt made them much less willing to help me in future), and spend hours driving around Brisbane in a possibly futile search for a vet who would be willing to help.

      Exactly what had happened to the little ringtail is still not clear. I didn't get an opportunity to examine it closely or take any photos (I was concentrating on getting it to the vet as quickly as possible). It seems unlikely that such a small possum falling into a deep pile of leaves could injury itself that badly - I've seen much heavier possums fall almost as far onto a brick patio with no problems. Even if it hit its head on the way down, it's difficult to imagine how that could have popped its eyeball right out of the socket.

      There was very little blood and vet nurse said that the eyeball looked a bit "dried", as if it had been out for some time. So maybe it was a pre-existing injury, which just makes it more mysterious.

      I have a suspicion that there was more damaged than just the eyeball, in which case euthanasia may have been for the best, but I'm kicking myself for not having examined the possum more thoroughly. Next time I'll insist on being present when it was examined by the vet, and not let it be whisked off to the back of the surgery with everything done behind closed doors.

    2. Possum Dreaming,

      Possum Dreaming,

      I'm so sorry I've not replied until now, I only discovered you'd written this when you mentioned it in your most recent post.

      What an awful thing. Poor little possum. Thank God you were there, and heard the fall. Our various vets allow us to stay for examinations when our local possums go in, but those are wildlife vets operating during surgery hours. We've luckily not had an emergency.

      Poor little thing.