|Sasha with Zak back-riding - 27th Jan 2019|
Normally, Sasha will bring her babies into Box 7 in the garage for at least a short period when they're at the stage of sleeping in the pouch during the night and up to mischief in the nestbox during the day. This is always fun to watch and I give a Baby Possum Alert on this blog when it happens.
This time, however, Sasha didn't use any of the nest-boxes at all. She would sleep on top of Box 7, inside a stack of car tyres next to it, in the garage door or in the Possum Apartments; everywhere in the garage except the possum box. I suppose she has her reasons. Here is a photo of her and Zak in the possum apartments. Zak is now back-riding all night so he sleeps during the day rather than making a nuisance of himself.
|Sasha (back) and Zak (front) - 26th Jan 2019|
|A happy Sasha with a less-happy Zak back-riding - 30th Jan 2019|
Koji has been seen again a couple of times, but hasn't come to visit in the normal possum visiting area on the balcony; for some reason he remained on the other side of the house. Since he was in good health and was happy to see humans and accept food from them, I'm assuming he has a compelling reason to stay away and probably this is related to protecting his family.
|Koji - 28th Jan 2019|
Nikita's babies have been named Ryder and Rune. Ringtail babies seem to be more independent than brushtails, or at least more willing to leave their mother's backs at an earlier age. Here is a photo of Rune on his/her own.
|Rune - 30th Jan 2019|
I think that when babies are exploring on their own like this, their older relatives are keeping a lookout for danger in the area, and this may explain why Koji has been behaving differently.
In the last blog entry, I referred to Nikita's boyfriend as Bamm-Bamm, however it looks he is a different possum than the one originally named Bamm-Bamm, and he has been named Austen. It seems that Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are no longer around and have possibly been chased out of the area.
With encouragement from Nikita, Austen has learnt to accept food from the humans. Here is a photo of Nikita smelling Austen's breath after he had been given some food. "What's on the menu today", Nikita is asking, or maybe they're just kissing in a possum way.
|Austen (left) and Nikita (right) - 26th Jan 2019|
Pogo is still around although there are no recent pictures of him. He is unusually cheeky towards Bilbo, even to the extent of climbing up the balcony handrail toward him and hissing at him
Bilbo is a particularly tolerant possum. Here he is sniffing noses in a friendly way with Nikita.
|Bilbo (left) and Nikita (right) with Ryder and Rune back-riding - 20th Jan 2019|
Also, I saw another brush turkey chick very soon after it had hatched. I saw the little ball of fluff pop up from the mound and stumble off clumsily, like it hadn't got the hang of walking yet. I went to get a video camera but it hid behind a tree and I didn't want to harass the poor thing so I didn't take any photos or videos. It was still around the following day, but hasn't been seen since.
There seems to be a particularly high mortality of brush turkey chicks this year. This could be because of the weather. Unlike the rest of Australia it hasn't been super hot here, but it has been continuously hot and unusually dry for all of January. I can't imagine that we have had more than one millimetre of rain over the entire month. Also, all of the spiders seem to have vanished; usually there are orb-weaver webs everywhere, but all of these are gone and I haven't even seen a huntsman indoors.
Merlin, the male brush turkey, seemed to have had an accident about a week ago. He was unable to use his right leg and had some tail feathers torn out. I'm not sure what might have caused this. He hasn't been seen since then. However, his injuries didn't seem to be necessarily fatal (there weren't any visible wounds and he could still fly - a broken leg is a recoverable injury, although will obviously put him at a disadvantage until it heals) and he's gone away before for weeks at a time, so hopefully he'll be back. Meanwhile Sabrina and another female turkey remain in the yard to hopefully provide whatever protection they can to any more hatchlings.
[Edit 2nd Feb 2019 - Merlin has been seen limping around the yard today.]