Other than some disruption caused by a carpet python, there have been no major upsets in the possum community since my last blog entry. All of the babies are doing well.
|Grasshopper (Wink's baby) - 5th Sept 2022|
| Rae (Blossom's baby) - 11th Sept 2022|
|Aeon (Sasha's baby) - 10th Oct 2022|
Despite having both her mother and grandmother to contend with, despite having to live outside the Possum TV area, and despite having to look after her first baby, Blossom is doing very well. She looks healthy and has no wounds from fights.
|Rae back-riding on Blossom - 8th Sept 2022|
|Rae back-riding on Blossom - 8th Sept 2022|
|Rae back-riding on Blossom - 18th Sept 2022|
|Rae back-riding on Blossom - 12th Oct 2022|
Soon after the last blog entry was posted, Wink picked up a small wound on the nose. It didn't heal as quickly as it should have and it appeared as if exudative dermatitis was setting it. After a while the infection spread to under her eye, but because it was small and progressing very slowly and because Wink had got over a similar infection without treatment before, we held off treating it. This turned out to be the right decision because it soon cleared up and the fur gradually grew back.
Despite suffering various injuries over the years, both Wink and her mother Sasha have never needed treatment for exudative dermatitis, and it would be good if they have some enhanced immunity that helps them fight off this nasty disease.
I haven't included any photos of the wound, but here's a photo of Wink dangling upside down to get to some juicy new shoots which are a possum delicacy at this time of year.
|Wink dangling- 13th Sept 2022|
Although Wink's baby Grasshopper was the youngest and smallest of the three youngsters in the area, he seems to have grown the fastest and it can be difficult to distinguish him from Rae. At least Aeon can be distinguished from the other two by the white tip on his tail.
|Grasshopper back-riding on Wink - 11th Sept 2022|
|Grasshopper (left) and Wink (right) - 14th Oct 2022|
|Grasshopper - 3rd Sept 2022|
|Grasshopper - 5th Sept 2022|
There has been some, but comparatively little, conflict between the female possums in the area. Here is a photo (not the best quality; it was taken from a considerable distance away) showing Wink bullying Blossom's baby Rae. Wink had forced Rae out onto the extreme end of a branch. Rae, although probably scared, was letting out little angry shrieks, and Blossom underneath was glaring at Wink as if to say "you touch him and you'll have me to deal with!".
Sasha ended up backing off and there was no fighting.
|Wink (top left), Rae (top right) and Blossom (bottom) - 17th Sept 2022|
Early in September an new male brushtail appeared in the area and at the same time Kulan disappeared. It seemed possible that Kulan had been chased out of the area and there would be a new dominant male, but the new male was only seen a couple of times and wasn't here long enough to be named, and after a bit over a week Kulan came back.
|Unknown Male Brushtail - 11th Sept 2022|
|Kulan - 4th Sept 2022|
|Kulan - 8th Sept 2022|
|Sasha (left) and Aeon (right) - 4th Sept 2022|
|Aeon (left) and Sasha (right) - 20th Sept 2022|
The snake probably came into the area on the 13th October because on that day all of the possum boxes were empty for first time in many months - the possums pick up on the presence of python in the area very quickly and respond by changing up their habits. At the time I was puzzled about what was happening and thought that maybe Sasha and Aeon were out house hunting for a territory for Aeon to move into and maybe Wink and Grasshopper were hiding somewhere in the garage. It was only after I saw the python stick its head into Box 8 a couple of days later that I realised what the story was.
On 19th October the python came to the possum feeding area and lay in ambush; probably waiting for an unwary rat to run by.
|Carpet Python waiting in ambush - 18th Oct 2022|
It was encouraged to leave the area by having jugs of cold water thrown over it and some poking with a broom handle. Pythons have a right to live in the yard and this includes the right to eat whatever prey they can find, but in the possum feeding area, possums are at an artificial disadvantage, being potentially dazzled by lights and distracted by yummy food and I don't want to be enticing them into a trap.
Anyway, the possums seem to know what they're doing. Sasha and Aeon have kept well clear of the house. Wink and Grasshopper approached the house from an unusual direction, bypassing the roof which is a usual haunt of snakes. Blossom and Rae were very skittish when they visited.
After over a month's absence - which is a long time in the life of a rat, Elmo has returned and acted like he'd never been away. Buffy hasn't been seen, but there was another smaller rat seen about who could be one of their offspring.
|Elmo - 19th Sept 2022 [Photo by Xesce]|
Merlin has been building up his mound and it looks like there will be brush turkey chicks hatching over the next few months. This photo doesn't show it very well, but Saskia (one of the female turkeys in the area) has excavated a hole to her lower left, probably for the purpose of egg-laying, while Merlin looks on.
|Merlin (top) and Saskia (bottom) - 20th Oct 2022|