|Oz scratching himself - 26th Feb 2014|
|Oz clinging to Kiki's back - 1st Mar 2014|
Dexter has been seen around quite often, usually watching over Kiki and Oz. I'm not sure if he's looking out for Oz, who is quite likely his son, or whether he's waiting for an opportunity to mate with Kiki.
|Dexter - 24th Feb 2014 [Photo by Xesce]|
Amiri is still around and also in good health. He's looking more and more like an adult possum all the time.
|Amiri showing off his big fluffy tail - 28th Feb 2014|
Unfortunately, Wasabi is having some problems. The wound at the base of his tail noticed on the 10th Feb is not getting any better, and there are also other wounds and bald patches on this tail, including a nasty raw area underneath.
|Wasabi's tail injury - 27th Feb 2014|
The exact cause is unknown. It could be the wound keeps getting re-injured due to environmental factors (e.g. an unsafe sleeping place), however there is also some infection present and possible evidence of demodectic mange.
Since demodectic mange, and wounds that don't clear up on their own, are both often related to stress, it's quite likely the underlying problem is stress. Although his eye problem isn't noticeably affecting his ability to get around, it might still be hampering him to some degree and adding to his stress level. Given that ringtails are supposed to be more susceptible than brushtails to stress, this presents an unpleasant dilemma. It seems that things are getting worse and he needs treatment, but capturing him and bringing him in to a vet - which would seem to be the logical thing to do - is likely to be so enormously stressful that it might make things worse.
Treatment with Ceclor isn't an option because it's generally accepted that oral antibiotics must never be given to ringtails. I believe the evidence for this isn't quite as conclusive as people make out, but I wouldn't even consider doing it without good evidence that it works. Also, out-patient treatment is problematic because Wasabi often disappears for considerable periods of time.
After consultation with two vets and some debate, the plan is that Wasabi will be captured and treated with Baytril and Ivermectin. Baytril is an antibiotic which will be given by injection and Ivermectin is an antiparasitic effective against mange. Both are fairly safe medications with few side-effects.
To eliminate the stress of being transported to some unfamiliar location for treatment, I have constructed a possum aviary out of a flat-pack chicken shed. It's not as large as I would like (I was limited by what was available off the shelf), but it appears python-proof and a variety of fresh leaves and two sleeping places have been provided.
|Possum Aviary - 2nd Mar 2014|
[Edit: I should add here that for long term use, a possum aviary should be considerably bigger than this one. Possums Juvenile to Adult [Sonya Stanvic] recommends a 2.4 m x 4.8 m x 2.4 m (L x W x H) aviary for rehabilitating possums. Australian Mammals - Biology and Captive Management [Stephen Jackson] recommends an even bigger 3.4 m x 3.4 m x 3.0 m (L x W x H) enclosure as a permanent home.]
Wasabi has not visited for the past two days, so the waiting game to capture him and begin treatment begins.
Tonight, a possible reason why he might have been keeping away appeared, in the form of a 1.2 m carpet python (the first one seen so far this year) right in the possum feeding area.
|Scowling Carpet Python - 2nd Mar 2014|
In principle I accept the right of pythons to go after their natural prey, but this one was pushing its luck and got a good soaking of cold water for its troubles.