|Ruby, Koji and Keeta (bottom to top) - 20th Sept 2016|
The ringtails are seen together in different combinations. It is never clear who will be visiting at any given time. It does seem that Maple (and possibly Clover; sometimes they don't come close and it's difficult to tell them apart) is doing child-minding duty from time to time.
Here are some photos of the two babies together.
|Keeta (left) and Koji (right) - 8th Sept 2016|
|Keeta (left) and Koji (right) - 12th Sept 2016|
Although Koji is the slightly bolder of Ruby's babies, both are very brave and will accept food from humans. Here is Koji holding onto a feeding stick.
|Keeta - 9th Sept 2016|
I should probably explain about this. When feeding a very small possum, it's probably best to only give tiny morsels of food. This is particularly the case with ringtails which have a more sensitive digestive system. It can be difficult to hold a small piece of food in such a way that a possum can get at it without accidentally biting or clawing your fingers. Also, some possums may be hesitant to approach too close to a human hand which might be bigger than they are.
Therefore we often skewer the food onto an ice-cream stick which has been whittled to a blunt point. It's easier to get at and less intimidating for the possum, and safer for the human, especially with brushtails who (due to fear, or simply being in a bad mood) will sometimes swipe with their claws at food items.
[By the way, a number of web sites claim that ringtails must never be fed fruit. These are simply wrong. According to Australian Mammals, Biology and Captive Management [Jackson 2003], fruits form a legitimate - and recommended - part of the diet of a ringtail. The problem comes when a ringtail being hand-reared is fed excessive fruit - this is a genuine concern but is really only applicable to captive possums with restricted access to natural foods. Feeding small quantities of fruit on an occasional basis to wild-living ringtails is a very different thing.]
In the brushtail world, Farley is still around and visits fairly frequently. Toto hasn't been seen for a while. When last seen she had a tiny baby in her pouch. I am hoping she has found a nesting spot out of the reach of Sasha where she can raise her baby in relative safety.
Sasha and Mischa visit regularly. You can usually see them sleeping in boxes 4 or 7 during the day, however a few times recently they have chosen to sleep on top of Box 7. This box is in a dark corner of the garage and the top of the box is just below the ceiling, so it's still a fairly good sleeping spot. Interestingly, the box temperature sensor is sensitive enough to pick up a possum sleeping on top of the box.
Sasha is doing alright, but poor little Mischa managed to have a tick attach itself inside his right eye-lid. This is quite possibly the worst place to get a tick and must have been incredibly painful. We weren't able to get many pictures of him because Sasha was being unusually protective of him and would take him away whenever a camera appeared.
Here is the only photo we have showing the tick attached. It grew even bigger than this.
|Mischa, with tick in eye, back-riding on Sasha - 25th Aug 2016 [Photo by Xesce]|
When the wretched thing eventually dropped off, the eyeball looked in very bad shape, however our experience with Queek (See Poked in the Eye) indicated that it would slowly get better over time and there would probably be little long-term damage.
|Mischa's injured eyeball - 7th Sept 2016|
It's now looking much better.
|Mischa's injured eyeball - 24th Sept 2016|