The Common Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) is approximately the size of a cat, with large pointed ears, grey fur, and a bushy black tail. This species usually has offspring in autumn or spring, with the joey spending half a year in the mothers' pouch and then 1-2 months on the mothers back until the joey had weaned and the leaves the den at 7-16 months.
The Common Ringtail Possums (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) is a much smaller possum (around half the size). They have rounded ears, a curled tail with a white tip and a grey back. They have one to three joeys during autumn or winter. This species usually builds a nest made of twigs and leaves several meters above the ground. These possums usually live in pairs and sometimes groups of up to eight.
Possums usually feed on leaves, flowers, and fruits with the brushtail possum also known to eat grass, fungi and bird eggs.
Possums SHOULD NOT be feed human food as it can cause dietary imbalances and other issues.
1.Loss of habitat due to land clearing
Humans feeding possums cause poor nutrition, spread disease, and alter the natural behaviours of the possum.
Capture/Release of possums
The entrapment of a possums causes great stress and cause be harmful if not managed properly. The trap must be secure and safe to minimise possible injured the possums. Traps must be set at dusk and closed in the morning to ensure the possum isn’t trapped during the day as they are nocturnal animals. DO NOT try to trap possums unless they are inside your house.
Once caught it is recommended that the possums are to be release on the same property within 24 hours of capture. The release should be conducted after dusk to accommodate to the possum’s natural cycle. This will minimise stress and ensure the possum remain in its normal environment as relocation can cause issues.
Extra Information on Safe Release
There is scientific evidence showing that release site features such as habitat quality and predators may be more important than release protocols. When there are less predators and efficient food sources are available the survival chances of released possums increase.
Predator control is likely to be the most important factor for successful reintroduction. Foxes and feral cat control in the area of release increases successful relocation (a buffer area around the core population should be used as juvenile possums can disperse to a large distance).
Release into degraded habitats is possible if tree hallows are abundant and there is predator control. If not meet, possums must spend more time on the ground and in more exposed sites, increasing the rate of possums dying or getting injured by predators. When looking for a release habitat there should be an abundance of hallow-bearing trees and quality food resources.
Immediate release is most suitable in environments with threat control and quality food. If there is no threat control in place, delayed release may offer some protection while the possum acclimates.
if you find an injured animal please call the South Oakleigh Wildlife Shelter.