Saturday, 8 April 2017

Update 8th Apr 2017

About two weeks ago, there was a visitation by a 2 m carpet python. At that time, the possums, who had previously been visiting regularly (often as many as five possums would appear together at 6:40 pm) went into hiding. I had been waiting for them to reappear before posting again - or at least that's my excuse for not posting in a while.

I am pleased to report that, since Niva reappeared yesterday, all of the regular possums (except for Mischa, who was expected to leave the area sometime soon and has grown into a big strong possum, so is unlikely to have been eaten)  have now been accounted for. It makes sense that Niva, who is the smallest of the possums, and an easy meal for a python, would remain in hiding the longest.

I would also like to mention, in case anyone's wondering, that cyclone Debbie [I'm disappointed they missed the opportunity to name it Donald] didn't affect Possum TV. There were no strong winds here and only about a day and a half of continuous, but not particularly heavy, rain. We are too high up for flooding, so the main effect was that the possums had an unpleasant couple of nights out in the wet.

Here is Niva on the night of her return in a typical acrobatic pose. She can twist around nearly 180° in this position.

Niva - 7th April 2017

When Niva reappeared, Wasabi was watching over her. It has been interesting to see how Koji (her older brother) and Wasabi (her father) have been taking turns taking care of her.

Wasabi (left) and Niva (right) - 8th April 2017

Wasabi (left) and Niva (right) - 8th April 2017

It is not clear where Nebo (Niva's sister), is. She stopped visiting some time before the python was sighted, however she wasn't eaten by the python because when it appeared it was acting hungry and didn't have a bulge in it. Often, one of a pair of ringtail babies will decide to stay away from the house while the other continues to visit regularly and I hope this is what is happening with Nebo.

Koji - 1st April 2017 [Photo by Xesce]

A new female ringtail has been seen in the area a few times recently. She has been named Zoë.

Zoë - 17th March 2017 [photo by Xesce]

Here is the carpet python on the day of its first appearance. It is making its way off the balcony rail after receiving various types of discouragement, including having a jug of cold water (kept in the fridge specially for this purpose) thrown over it.

It's not that I bear any ill-will to carpet pythons, who have a right to exist and eat their natural prey, but I don't want the balcony to become a death-trap for possums. Possums are lured to a known place by the promise of food and might become distracted by the presence of humans and bright lights, so that puts them at an artificial disadvantage should a python be lurking nearby. It's only fair to even the odds by chasing off pythons from the area.

I don't know if this is the python which strangled Ruby. It's an obvious suspect, but it honestly looks big enough to have swallowed her body afterwards.

Carpet Python on balcony rail - 23rd March 2017

The next day, the python inspected Box 2. Normally Farley sleeps in this box (in fact he had slept in this box on the five preceding days), but this day he was in Box 1. I think it's quite likely he was forewarned in some way.

Carpet Python checking out Box 2 - 24th March 2017

 The day after, the python was on next door's balcony rail, still looking for a meal. It hasn't been seen since.

Carpet Python on next-door's balcony rail - 25th March 2017

In brushtail news, Sasha is in good health and continues to be a good mother possum to Raffi. Farley, following his usual habit, has managed to pick up some nasty wounds to his neck. He's being monitored in case they get infected. Toto hasn't been seen since the last blog post and, as mentioned at the start, Mischa may now have left the area.

Raffi continues to be a cute little possum.

Raffi drinking from a bucket - 21st March 2017 [photo by Xesce]

Raffi - 3rd April 2017 [photo by Xesce]

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