Saturday 28 April 2012

Possum status update 28th April 2012

While the pythons were about, the possums made themselves scarce. On a couple of nights, only Kiki, the fiercest of our possums, was brave enough to visit. At one stage, Grendel hid in the gutter over the possum feeding area, presumably also looking for a feed, but was out of luck because the possums kept away.

The last couple of days have been comparatively cold (by Queensland standards) and the snakes have not been seen at all during this time. Maybe the temperature has made them more sluggish or maybe they've gone away to find a warmer place.

Pinot has been gradually getting over his shyness.
Pinot 24/4/2012
Wasabi was seen briefly tonight, but wasn't game to approach the house. He is the smallest of the possums and the most at risk from pythons, so it's understandable that he's still being cautious.

Monday 23 April 2012

Python TV

If you want to read about the funny antics of cute possums (which was intended to be the main point of this blog), I would suggest skipping over this post, where I talk about one of their biggest enemies.

Last night, in addition to Grendel who is still sleeping in box 4, I saw two more carpet pythons on the roof, so this is probably a good time to write a post about these animals.

Carpet pythons are common along the eastern coast of Australia and are particularly common here in Brisbane. If you're interested, the subspecies we have here is Morelia spilota mcdowelli. They grow to 3.5 m (about 12 feet) in length. Here's one that was in my back yard a few years back.

Carpet Python (Sept 2009)
They mainly eat warm-blooded prey; small mammals and birds. They are a major predator of possums.

Saturday 21 April 2012

Possum status update 21st April 2012

A couple of days ago, a carpet python moved into Box 4. This is the same python which ate the ringtails Gumdrop and Lychee in February of this year. I've named this python Grendel. I'll write more about him/her later.

Grendel the Carpet Python enters Box 4
The new possum has finally come over and taken food from hand. Close up, he doesn't look or act like Piranha and we have named him Pinot.

Marlon looks much better now. I'll post an updated photo when I can get a good one. Marlon has been a particularly good patient, always visiting at a regular time for his medicine.

Also, I've just put Box 6 back up. This box is intended for sugar gliders and was removed in October 2010 after it had been taken over by bees. The box took this long to refurbish, partly because the camera had been wrecked by being embedded in honeycomb, but mainly due to slackness on my part. In fact, I was only spurred to do something by the sugar glider which visited recently.

There's currently a lot of interference on the Box 6 camera. I think that water might have got into the video cable when the box was removed. I'll probably re-terminate this cable some time soon.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Possum status update 14th April 2012

I'm going to periodically make posts like this to keep people updated on the status of the possums. I won't be able to be as regular or as comprehensive as David Sneddons's Possum Diary, but I'll do my best. And by the way, if you like cute possums, be sure to check out the rest of Sneddo's site. In addition to his Possum Diary, there are galleries of possum photos and videos.

Kiki (left) and Flea (right)
Kiki is becoming a little less indulgent towards Flea and has chased her off a couple of times, but still generally tolerates her. Flea is behaving like a typical cheeky young brushtail, and still tries to tear food out of Kiki's mouth when given the chance.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Introducing Possum TV

Australia is home to some of some pretty amazing wildlife. I think it's a sad thing that most Australians remain ignorant about the animals that (quite literally) live in their own backyards. It's sad not only for the sake of the wildlife, which often gets treated with callous indifference as a result, but also sad because people are missing out on so much.

Not only are the animals incredibly cute, but they're also more interesting than you might imagine. I have been following the lives of the local possums since 2005 and there are still unusual things happening all of the time. As an example of this, a sugar glider visited while I was writing this post. This is the first sugar glider I've seen in the area since 2010.

Sugar Glider looking on cautiously
Anyway, I'll start this blog off with a brief introduction to the possums currently in the area. I'll try to fill in the back-story later, but for the moment you can find more information on the Possum TV Live site if you're interested.

Kiki is the dominant female of the area. She has had six babies so far, with a seventh (probably) in the pouch.  Kiki is missing the middle toe on her front left foot.

Flea is Kiki's daughter. Flea is a very athletic little possum. She is still on friendly terms with her mother. The pronounced white tip on her tail is uncommon in this area.

Svejk is the dominant male of the area. Although now over five years old (middle-aged for a possum), he's in very good condition.

Marlon is a marauding male visiting the area. He may be related to Svejk.

Unknown Male Possum (maybe Piranha)

This possum has been sleeping in Box 2 recently. He hasn't come near enough to be unidentified yet. He could be Piranha (one of Kiki's babies) come back for a visit.

Wasabi is a young male ringtail. He was lucky to escape the clutches of a carpet python which ate has mother, and probably also sister, earlier this year. He is less shy than most ringtails and has visited several times over the past few days.