|Toto - 11th Feb 2017
She looks calm and is in very good condition, which is very encouraging.
She slept in Box 3 today, which might not have been a good idea because it reached 41.3 C in this box. This is the hottest temperature ever recorded in any of the possum boxes (with the exception of Box 6, which is an insulated box intended for Sugar Gliders and always seems to get hotter than the rest).
It is not clear whether the mysterious Marlowe has anything to do with Toto. They aren't the same possum (although I could easily have confused the two when sleeping in Box 1) because Marlowe is definitely male and Toto is female. It's possible Marlowe could be Toto's son.
If you don't recall Toto's history, here's a bit of a recap:
For a long time, Kiki was the Queen Possum here. She was in the area for seven years and was the dominant female for five of those years. In that time she had 13 babies. In 2015, when she was still nursing her second-to-last baby, Toto, a larger female possum, Sasha, moved into the area.
By late 2015, Toto had grown up and we had the unusual situation where there were three adult females in the area. Normally there would only be one.
Soon afterwards, Kiki disappeared. There seemed to be three possibilities; Kiki had met with an accident, Kiki had abandoned the area in favour of her daughter Toto (apparently female brushtails sometimes do this), or that she had been chased out of the area by Sasha. Kiki was seemingly a fixture in the area and was fierce enough to chase off pythons, so she must have had a pretty strong motivation to leave.
For what it's worth, Sasha's young baby Puck also disappeared around this time, so there could have been all sorts of unpleasant things going on.
For a while, Toto lived uneasily in the area with Sasha. She was forced to squeeze into the ceiling space were Sasha couldn't get at her and she lost at least one of her babies. She generally managed to evade attacks by Sasha, but it was obvious that this situation couldn't continue and in August 2016 she disappeared.
The local neighbourhood is getting increasingly unsafe for possums (more trees chopped down, more houses built, more traffic etc.) and it's aways a worry when a possum has to leave. If the larger, fiercer and more experienced Kiki had had problems, then things were going to be very difficult for little Toto.
So it's a relief to find that Toto has not just survived but is strong and healthy and feeling confident enough to return to the area, even if just for a short visit.
Finally, here's a photo of Ruby and Niva taken the same night.
|Ruby with Niva back-riding - 11th Feb 2017