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.

Unknown Possum - Still a little shy
The unknown possum showed himself briefly and I managed to get a photo. I'm thinking now that he is probably not Piranha.

Wasabi has been seen around only once since last time I wrote. This is pretty normal for ringtails; even the ones who do visit have a very irregular schedule and often disappear for months at a time.

Marlon has been fighting. He has a nasty wound on his cheek which is probably a bite mark from another possum. Although this wound looks unpleasant, it's all in a day's work for a possum and nothing to be concerned about. A bigger problem, however, is the scabbing at the corner of his mouth.

Marlon - Infection on mouth (1)

Marlon - Infection on mouth (2)
It doesn't seem much - it's hard to even see in person - but we've seen this before and it looks like exudative dermatitis. This is a nasty bacterial infection which often starts at the edge of a mucous membrane (mouth or eye) and spreads over the skin. It can get really bad; it looks like leprosy and the possum can die from it. Brushtails are very tough animals and make light of most injuries, but for some reason they seem to be very susceptible to exudative dermatitis.

The infection is clearly at a very early stage, and it's possible that such a small infection might clear up on its own, however, we've been in consultation with a vet (Dr Jim Pollock, who is an expert on this disease) and he has considered it worth treating and has supplied us with antibiotics. We've successfully treated numerous possums this way before and Marlon has a very good chance of complete recovery.

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