Wednesday 25 September 2013

Update 25th Sept 2013 - A possum fight and a trapped possum freed

I'll start with a cute photo of Amiri.

Amiri grabbing onto Kiki's back 15th Sept 2013

Amiri is growing more bold and confidently ventures away from Kiki. He has now visited a couple of times on his own.

Amiri 24th Sept 2013

Recently I saw a family of ringtails climbing about in the camphor laurel. It might not be immediately obvious from the photo, but there are four possums; Mum in the foreground, followed by two babies, with Dad bringing up the rear. I didn't get a good look at any of them, but the father is probably Wasabi.

The mother may be Tilda, who is a female ringtail who has been seen around occasionally with Wasabi. Tilda can be distinguished from Ruby by her more mottled looking tail.

Family of Ringtails 23rd Sept 2013

Several days ago, I heard a vigorous gnawing sound coming from the ceiling over the kitchen. I assumed a rat had got in because rats love gnawing on things whereas possums generally don't. I've very seldom seen possums gnawing in boxes and they usually seem to do it only to smooth off a rough piece of wood that has been causing them irritation.

The gnawing sound was repeated several times over a period of a couple of days, so I decided something needed to be done and peeped under the edge of the roof. I came face to face with a possum, wedged in between two beams, apparently trapped and trying to enlarge the opening to get out. What is amazing is how the possum managed to get in there in the first place; the gap is only 40 mm high and only very young possums have ever managed to get inside. Even Grendel (the carpet python) couldn't manage to get in when she first came to the area.

Seeing as the possum had probably been trapped inside for days, I levered off a piece of cladding under the eaves, and placed a tray of food and water on a stand underneath the opening.

About a hour later, the possum emerged. It was an adult male who I've never seen before. He looked like Dexter but was slightly smaller and not rufous. He has been named Baxter. Here's his photo:

Baxter, free after having been trapped in the ceiling 21st Sept 2013

He seemed to be pretty much unscathed by his ordeal - he leaped 1.5 m into a nearby tree without difficulty when approached - but I noticed he had an early stage exudative dermatitis infection around his right eye. I have picked up some Ceclor from the vet and he will be treated if he appears again.

Yesterday a new male possum was seen in Box 2. I assumed it was Baxter because the only other adult male brushtail in the area was Dexter who was sleeping in Box 3 at the time. Also it made sense that a possum who liked to squeeze into tiny sleeping spaces would choose the smallest of the possum boxes.

The new possum entered Box 2 at about 3 am, and soon afterwards Dexter came to welcome him to the neighbourhood by piling into the box and attacking him. There was a relatively prolonged fight, after which Dexter was ejected from the box with a fairly nasty bite wound on his back. [I won't be putting the fight footage on YouTube because the camera is in such poor condition that you can barely see anything that's happening]

I later photographed the possum when he left the box and was surprised to see that it wasn't Baxter, but another completely different and younger possum, who has now been named Deckard.

Deckard 24th Sept 2013

Deckard must be a pretty tough little possum. He is significantly smaller than Dexter, but managed to repel him from the box and suffered fewer injuries in the process. Not only that, but the following night Deckard went into Box 3 and rubbed his chest on the walls, as if to leave a message for Dexter: "I'm still around, come and get me if you dare".

Another recent visitor is Scruffles, a rat who makes off with any piece of food left outside. Scruffles is getting fairly cheeky and has even tried (unsuccessfully) to intimidate Amiri.

Scruffles 12th Sept 2013

Unlike Mr/Ms Thief who raids Northern River Dreaming's possum's food, Scruffles in not a native antechinus, but appears to be a Black Rat.

Finally, a political comment (but still possum-related): Apparently our new Fuhrer is refusing to move into the Lodge in Canberra owing to an "infestation" of possums. So on top of all of his other faults, he's also a possum-hater. Why am I not in the least surprised?


  1. You are definitely living in Possum Central at the moment, with all these new arrivals. How amazing :)

    Not surprised to hear that about "our new Fuhrer". As an ex National Gallery curator I wasn't impressed to read Julia Gillard's story about fresh possum pee coming down the walls of The Lodge towards paintings on loan from the National Gallery. I don't blame the possums, though, just the people who should be maintaining the Lodge!

    Do you have an email where I could drop you a line, or would via Facebook work??

    1. Jeni,

      The best way to contact me is by email at, I tend to avoid Facebook because I don't really like the format.

  2. Amiri is a beautiful looking little possum.