Brush Tailed Possum - they are nocturnal and usually spends the day sleeping in a hollow limb.
They have a pointed snout, pink nose, long whiskers and large ears. The tail is
thick and bushy. They can range in size from 1 - 4 kgs.
They are found on both sides of Australia, they feed in the wild on leaves,
supplemented on fruits, buds and grasses. Their diet varies a lot depending upon
the dominant vegetation.
They have strong teeth and often use their front paws
to hold their food while eating. They prefer to nest in a tree hole but will
make a nest under suitable shelter on the ground. It is solitary, except for
breeding and males and females seem to have their own territories. They also
mark their territory with secretions from glands on its chest and rump and
vigorously defending it against intruders, first with hisses and barks and then
if necessary with tooth and claw.
The female has two teats but only carries one young. (We have seen twins occasionally here) Breeding usually occurs
throughout the year but peaks in spring and autumn. A gestation period is 17
days and the new baby weighs only 20-22 grams but then it will crawl unaided to
the forward opening pouch, where it attaches itself to a teat. The young possum
spends about 5 months in the pouch and a further 2 months clinging to it's
mother's back as she moves about. Young possums become independent by 7 months
and are fully grown by 10 months. Females usually breed for the first time when
they are 12 months old.
Guests at Yelverton Brook often comment on tail colour as some have a black tip or white tip, it is much like us humans having different hair colour.
We suggest guests leave to front light on to let the Possums know your there and maybe you have put out some the special feed provided for your stay. However they love a piece of fruit or two!