This entry is something of a 10 Year Anniversary special
2004, a persistent little possum who was eventually named Ginger
decided that she wanted to know more about humans.
The first Possum TV
retired in 2010. Originally, I created that site because I thought it
would suck if people didn't get a chance to see GK's amazing photos,
but I hoped some day that he would do his own thing. I sort of
pestered him from time to time, suggesting pretty much what he has
now successfully launched: three different aspects of the whole.
Footage of nestboxes appears on GK's Possum TV Live
site. GK also has a Possum TV
and a channel on
, where all of the old possum clips, and many new
ones, can be found.
[The photos on this page were taken by me, with the exception of the
Ginger photo and the one of Švejk at the end of treatment in
Amiri has grown up and no longer visits. It is impossible to know if
he is still alive, but his mother Kiki is a good teacher, and Amiri
himself had a remarkable ability to come and go without making a
The usual pattern here is that there is one dominant female, one
dominant male, and one other male who doesn't stay permanently. The
second male will usually be about 2 years old when he is first
spotted, and sometimes will develop rufous colouring during his stay.
The dominant female's babies are usually allowed to stay (roughly)
until her next baby comes out of the pouch. Amiri stayed in the area
a little longer, but managed to avoid visiting when Kiki was here
with Oz. Kiki's daughter Flea was kicked out by Kiki just before
Flea's first baby began back-riding.
Pinot reaching for Flea's tail 2012
I am still very attached to possums, and still spend a lot of time
with them, but it is important for me to try to create a kind of
independence for myself, and to encourage GK to have his. I want to
speak for myself. There is a lot of pressure for people to form
couples, and it is difficult for people to see alternatives,
including the kind of alternative family arrangement GK and I have.
His possum sites are his. My aim is to move out on my own. It will be
difficult to leave the possums here. I am trying to take what small
steps I can toward that aim.
With this entry, I'm not really going to update much (I will leave
that to GK on his various sites), but what I will do is try to
explain about how my relationship and thinking regarding possums have
Wasabi and Spock 2013
I am not sure if Wasabi and Spock were friends, but they did often
seem to hang out together, and sometimes this was quite comical.
Often Wasabi seemed to be teasing Spock or playing with his tail.
When Spock was in Kiki's pouch in early 2013, there were some major
stressors in the area. 4 male possums (a highly unusual number for
this area) might have been fighting over this territory. Švejk,
(6 years old - by far the oldest), disappeared first, one of the
others who hadn't been seen in months, Wesley, showed up with a
really deep and nasty shoulder infection, and Pinot and Marlon were
seen occasionally, until they stopped visiting altogether. There is
an incredible variety and amount of foliage on the property, and it
is possible that this place is a highly desirable piece of possum
During all of this Kiki herself was quite stressed, and while Spock
was in it, she tore her pouch somehow. The wound looked shockingly
raw and painful, but healed well. He probably felt this stress while
in the pouch, which perhaps eventually resulted in the development of
a small patch of exudative dermatitis on his nose. Long after it was
treated, he still had a small scar - this is unusual, because all
other possums treated would eventually get their fur back.
Spock 2013 (the scar isn't visible
from this angle)
The fascinating thing was that Kiki would seem to bring Spock for
treatment. She herself had a couple of swollen toes, and there was
some worry that whatever had happened to cause the first one to
go black/die years ago was happening to her other toes. She would not
accept antibiotics, but would wait nearby. Spock would leave her back
and come forward, and take Ceclor directly from a syringe. For most
possums, Ceclor is absorbed into a piece of wholewheat pita bread,
but he was still so small it would have taken him forever to eat it,
and he might not have been able to as he was still at a mainly
suckling stage. When he had taken his dose he would return to Kiki's
Kiki's pouch and toes healed well. She had originally accepted some
antibiotic for the pouch wound, but when the toes were inflamed, she
would not. Maybe she knew she didn't need it.
Wasabi, in 2013 before his medical issues
A detailed description of what happened with Wasabi can be found on
GK's Possum TV
. (It has a happy ending, or a happy outcome, in an
Exudative dermatitis is thought to be brought on by stress, and in
particular, stress related to overpopulation. There are now 5 possum
boxes and 1 sugarglider box here, and most of the time, most of them
aren't in use. It should solve overpopulation-related housing
scarcity, but for some reason it doesn't. What does that mean? It's
difficult to work out. In years past, sometimes there were a few
possums in different boxes on a given day, and now it's fairly rare
that they sleep in boxes, with the exception of box 7, which is
situated in the garage, not outside. It could be about a fear of
pythons: Wasabi's mother and one of her babies were killed by a
python in one of the possum boxes. Some ringtails here have been
observed in makeshift dreys in the daytime, and what this might mean
is that it's a necessary precaution not to get too cosy, in case it
is necessary to flee. It might be easier to hear or see the approach
of a python in loosely-constructed dreys.
Destruction of habitat, dogs, cats, cars, pythons, owls.. these
are some of the stresses that possums face. Also, there are some
humans who might pose a threat. One neighbour here really doesn't
like possums and seems to think of them as horrible, unclean pests.
Would some people actually go so far as to kill possums? It's not
How do we know Wasabi is Wasabi? Why wasn't he with his mother
and sibling in the nestbox when the python attacked?
There are various different angles here. When a mother ringtail has
babies, sometimes she has three, but when this occurs, one of them
tends to disappear fairly quickly. When it comes to the other two, or
occasions when the mother only gives birth to two, for a while mother
and babies will sleep together, but footage of nestboxes has shown
that later on, the mother might sleep on her own in a nestbox, the
two babies might sleep together without the mother, one baby might
sleep alone in a nestbox, or the mother might sleep with one but not
the other - without it being a permanent arrangement. The sleeping
arrangements vary, and this might be how young ringtails are prepared
to live independently. Time and again when a mother was seen without
babies, or with only one, the lost one/s would later show up
Wasabi and Lychee visited the handrail with their mother before the
python attack. One night, when Wasabi was offered a piece of food,
Wasabi panicked and fell off the handrail onto the patio below. It
was quite a fall and we were worried, but he immediately picked
himself up, raced along the ground and climbed a small gum tree. GK
then took photos of him, and later, when 'Wasabi' returned after the
attack which claimed his mother's life, we had these photos with
which we could compare markings.
When it comes to brushtails here, there are usually more males than
females, but with ringtails, it seems it's the other way around.
Wasabi seems to have at least two girlfriends, and possibly many
Kiki and Oz
Oz is Kiki's 10th baby. Kiki is now over 6 years old. I have read on
the web that possums in the wild can live 12-13 years, but suburbia
is not exactly the wild, and from what I've seen so far, she has
lived much longer than most. One of Kiki's jobs is to watch for
pythons or other dangers, and it is interesting to note the ways that
Oz seems to be emulating her behaviour. He's very friendly and
energetic, but also seems to want to give Kiki a break from her
python-watching duties. They take turns, so sometimes it will be that
one will visit up close while the other stands guard, and the next
day they will switch roles. [April-May 2014]
In urban or suburban areas, in reality most possums might only live
to be about 2-3, if they survive into adulthood at all. Švejk
was 6 when he disappeared in December 2012, and he was the oldest
male I have had contact with.
Kiki is fierce, intelligent, and bright-eyed, and copes well with
each new baby. I don't know how the possum laws work. In many places,
it seems that females outnumber males, but in all the years Kiki has
been here, no other adult female brushtails have been seen - until
recently. A possum with a white-tipped tail who resembles Kiki's
daughter Flea has recently been spotted many times, and this makes me
wonder if she's just stopping in for a visit, or if she's trying to
take over Kiki's territory [Added later: it seems that this possum is
likely a male possum, not Flea]. Is it possible that competition is
intense here for reasons other than overpopulation? Is it an
exceptionally desirable territory? (Abundant foliage, availability of
seasonal fruits and medical benefits?)
There might be two possums referred to as Dexter. However, one has
been here for some time now.
At the time Švejk disappeared in December 2012, some of the
other known males: Marlon, Pinot and Wesley, were around for a time,
but at a certain point none of them were here any more. I don't know
if that means that Dexter was the one who 'won' this territory. Maybe
his strategy was to let the others wear each other down while he
waited in the wings. Dexter appears in the first possum mating video
GK has ever uploaded to YouTube. Kiki also appears. Pinot had
previously been photographed mating with both Flea and Kiki
(separately; it wasn't a threesome), but these were still photos, not
[This reminds me: in one of my earlier Possum TV updates, I said that
Kiki and Pinot made a hell of a lot of noise, and I would now like to
clarify. While they were having sex in front of me they weren't
vocal, but as they moved off into the distance, with Pinot following
Kiki, one would make a loud call (often referred to on Possum TV as
'puffing'), and then the other would respond with a similarly loud
call, and I think this went on back and forth between the two for a
half an hour or so. I haven't heard anything similar since.]
I wonder if Dexter had observed the goings on in the area for some
time. If he realized how special the other possums were here, maybe
he is self-conscious about 'winning'. He is hesitant to make contact,
but from what I have seen, he's a lovely possum, and would be welcome
Švejk December 2012
It was difficult for me when Švejk stopped visiting. I had no
way of knowing what had happened. I knew he was much older than the
other possums, but he still looked quite fit. He seemed quite
intelligent, and had extremely good depth perception. His aim and his
movements were very sure and confident. But aside from that, he had
a certain 'perceptive' quality that I first associated with
Blackbeard. And Švejk was the last of Cocoa's babies left
In 2008, I was on my own here and saw a possum that looked a little
familiar. I said 'Švejk!' and the possum's head snapped right
around, and he looked at me for a very long time. He came forward and
took food not long after. I don't think this proves it was him, or
that he remembered the humans, but I remember the moment. He hadn't
been seen for over a year, but then stayed in the area, showing up
from time to time, and then became the dominant male here for many
Blackbeard was the first possum to be treated with antibiotics for
exudative dermatitis. At first it didn't seem likely the small wound
near his mouth was any big deal. It would look a little better, then
it would get only a little worse, but when it hadn't cleared up in
several months, it became evident there was something wrong. He
wasn't visiting often during these months - usually only once every
few weeks or so - and so by the time it was obvious something had to
be done, we weren't really prepared.
The picture above was taken when his infection was bad. But, he looks
happy, and the infection is on the other side of his face. There are
some ugly photos of the infection and some of the story on the
following linked page, but you will have to search or scroll (and
->Blackbeard October 2007
Both Blackbeard's infection and Queek's scary eye injury might have
related to them fighting each other for this territory. For more
about Queek (you will have to search or scroll and click
->Queek November 2007
When it came to administering antibiotics, GK was the first one to
measure and give doses to Blackbeard, but when Queek also needed
antibiotics, GK was called away for a work trip, and so while he was
away, I took over treating possums, and did it thereafter with all
possums. It is helpful when GK is here, because he is a very good
photographer, and if he takes care of documenting the progress, I
can focus on dosing possums.
Originally, I didn't take many of the possum photos, but I did take
the ones of Blackbeard (kind of blurry) and Queek above with my
camera. I didn't know how to use GK's camera, and mine wasn't as good
for photographing wildlife. I learned how to use his camera while
treating various possums for exudative dermatitis - to document the
treatment, it was necessary to have high resolution photos. GK's work
often has required him to be away for 2-3 weeks at a time, and during
some of those times it was necessary for me to be the one
photographing, as well as treating possums. Somewhere along the line
I also started taking some non-treatment-related photos with his
Most of the time now, I concentrate on visiting with a possum and
don't take photos.
Blackbeard received ('black market') Clavulox before I found a way to
get antibiotics legally for him (and Queek, who had just shown up
with a really scary looking pus-filled eye, which created a need for
a larger amount of antibiotics). But, he disappeared before the
treatment could be finished, and I have always felt bad that I wasn't
quick enough to help him sooner. If it had been recognized that his
infection needed treatment earlier, maybe he would have experienced
the boost of confidence that comes with recovering from an infection,
and he could have better defended his territory. But what would that
have meant for Queek? That he'd have to go to another territory and
fight again, this time a little worse for wear, and untreated?
It could be that after this I was a little trigger-happy on the
antibiotics, but I did not want to be too slow to recognize a
problem. And the fact that possums are unpredictable can mean a
possum might go out there and die a slow horrible death, and so
sometimes all I can do is make the best call possible. However
trigger-happy I might have been, I was reasonable enough to seek
diagnoses from a vet.
Survival of the Fittest
If 'weak' possums are given antibiotics, when they 'should' be the
ones to die off, will their offspring be 'weak', and is this
something that should be avoided?
Over time, it occurred to me was that it was not the 'weak' possums,
or exclusively the young or old who developed exudative dermatitis.
It seemed to me that it was actually likely for any possum who lived
2-3 years to have it eventually. It was the norm, rather than the
exception - in this stressful neighbourhood. By the age of 2-3, most
will have bred, and this is what 'survival of the fittest' means:
surviving and earning the right to reproduce. Most of the possums
treated have already reproduced, before they are treated.
I realize that many people will say 'you probably caused it
[exudative dermatitis] by feeding them', and I realize that looking
at the original Possum TV site, there is a lot of bad behaviour there
when it came to feeding possums, but that sort of thing doesn't
happen now, and.. the relevant issue is that it seems unlikely that
any of that caused exudative dermatitis. Exudative dermatitis is
thought to be a stress-related condition, brought on by the
complications related to the destruction of habitat. Most of the
possums treated here weren't regular visitors when they showed up
with a problem. And in the early years (beginning in 2004), before
major development of the neighbourhood, no
exudative dermatitis were observed.
Anybody concerned with possums' weight should not jump to the
conclusion they are overfed. Possums look radically different
photographed from different angles on the same day. Their bodies are
designed to protect them, and when it comes to females, if they
don't actually have a baby in the pouch, their skin might be
stretched from having babies. Any creature who's had a certain amount
of babies will find the skin doesn't bounce back the way it used to.
The main reason for offering antibiotics is a quality of life issue.
Humans have eroded the possums' quality of life by destroying their
habitat to make way for human homes and the obligatory lawn with only
a few decoratively compatible trees, and introducing stresses such
as dogs, cats and cars. Some humans might have a wish to make up for
this. Possums were here first, but have no rights. Dogs or cats with
skin infections would be given antibiotics.
When it comes to evolution: perhaps one day humans will be extinct
and massive grizzly possums will roam the earth..
Were Queek and Švejk really the same possums Cocoa had raised?
Well, it's difficult to know for sure, but since their mother was
dead, it seems more likely they'd return to her territory than if she
were still alive, because presumably they couldn't mate with their
mother. Photos and markings were compared, and it really did at least
seem possible these were the same possums. There are many photos of
Švejk, and it is possible to note the changes over the years
while still recognizing it is the same possum.
Do people wonder if I have some kind of Munchausen Syndrome by
Proxy thing going on?
One of the risks in being involved with wildlife is that if you're
not seen as acting like a dumb human who won't leave well enough
alone, you might actually be seen as a pathetic crazy who seeks
attention through animal over-involvement.
It's not that easy to get to know me, and it makes sense to be
suspicious of me. I'm strange in various ways, and when trying to
categorize me, where do I fit? I can say that I don't try to make
possums ill so that I can treat them, but I think in order to believe
me, it might be necessary for people to know me on an individual
basis. Over time, my patterns and motivations would become
I am not sure if my depression affects possums. This is something
that worries me. When I see them, I don't think I ever project
depression - I am glad to see them, use enthusiastic and friendly or
gentle tones, and it's not forced, it's not pretend. But they live
and sleep in the area, and maybe they hear or absorb other vibes at
I think the issue is that this neighbourhood, for various reasons, is
a stressful place for possums. Three large carpet pythons have been
seen and photographed here, as well as some smaller ones. The possums
might not be able to sleep in the nestboxes for fear of python
attacks, and maybe most of the sleeping places they do find require
them to sleep with one eye open. There are many possum-friendly trees
on this property, but many nearby houses have few or even none. Most
people here do have dogs and/or cats, and these are a threat to
possums. Increased development in the neighbourhood has led to
increased traffic, (increased risk that possums could be hit by
cars), including that the traffic is faster-moving. Comments by a
(young) human overheard included: 'Shoot it!' upon observing a
ringtail possum on a power line, and it seems this sort of attitude
was likely passed on by older family members, and/or peers.
Carpet Python 2012
The carpet pythons have as much right to be here as the possums, and
of course they need something to eat. Perhaps if I had bonded with a
carpet python my behaviour might be a little different.
There is a large area at the back of the house where the possums feel
safe visiting, and I wouldn't want that to change. When pythons show
up there, it is likely because they know there's a good chance
possums will be there. I don't want them to think of it as some kind
of Drive Thru (Slither Thru) where they can easily pick up some
Possum McNuggets to go. I have basically spent hours studying their
movements and 'standing guard' in case they would try to attack a
possum there. Different methods have been employed to encourage them
to leave: throwing a bucket of water at them, shaking a tree or
thumping it to produce vibrations, or using a long pole to nudge the
in strategic places. I think the last thing
probably works best (for me, while I think GK prefers to heave a
bucket of water). It is not about hurting the python, but trying to
give the message that getting a snack isn't going to be so easy or
convenient as they might like.
GK and I have both taken turns at this sort of 'discouragement'. I
think it's possible that the possums are also concerned about us, or
more concerned for our safety than theirs. One time when GK went
close to a python's head to photograph it, Kiki was extremely alert,
and would not take her eyes off the python or leave the area until GK
was no longer 'in danger'. On another occasion, I was freaked out for
Švejk, who was close to a python but acting nonchalant. He
seemed to interpret my concern to mean that I was afraid of the
python, and so he actually followed it closely as it departed (and
puffed at it), which freaked me out further. (The puffing might have
been a warning to any other possums nearby.)
For the most part, it's probably best to trust the possums'
instincts, or not give them something else to factor in or worry
about, or something that will actually throw their concentration
I realize that this stance is unfair in favour of possums. I don't
think I could bring myself to watch while a python devoured a possum.
I mean, I forced myself to watch a video of this sort of thing on
YouTube, to know the realities about what was possible as far as what
size python could eat a possum, and what the process is.. but I could
not think of any possum I have known as expendable. Writing, I can
see the unfairness. The pythons are just doing what is natural, and
they want to survive. Why do possums deserve special consideration?
It's for an 'emotional', not a rational reason.
My reflex is to jump when I see a mouse or rat, but a few rats here
have helped me to relax a little.
Years ago, there was a rat spotted a few times who seemed to want
Cocoa to be its mother. It tried to cuddle up close to her on a
branch like a baby possum, and it followed her around a bit. She
was impatient with it, and it was only seen a few times.
Then there was Pita. Pita was living in the laundry room, and it was
decided that a 'humane trap' would be put out to catch Pita. First
the trap was laid out flat, and bits of pita bread were put on it,
then it was prepared properly, and pita bread was put on top of it,
and eventually inside. Pita never got caught, but managed to get the
pita bread. For a while Pita was allowed to stay in the laundry, and
every night I would vacuum up poo. When I was sitting at the computer
in the workroom (across from the laundry), I would sometimes talk to
Pita. GK eventually closed up all entries, Pita and Pita's poo were
no longer seen in the laundry, and before long Pita was spotted near
the possum visiting area - and for a brief time, Pita picked up
scraps there. The problem of having a rat in the house was solved
without the rat having to be caught or killed.
Scruffles is quite possibly still out there [possible sighting May
2.] He seemed to want to become a possum, or he was smart enough to
copy possum behaviour because it would mean he would get food. On one
occasion, I went outside to put some pita bread out for him, but I
was uncertain as to where to place it such that it was convenient for
him. This spot on the handrail? That one? On the balcony floor near a
branch I had seen him utilizing? Undecided, I put the pita bread down
in each spot before changing my mind. I eventually settled for a spot
on the handrail. When Scruffles arrived, he collected the bread, then
showed me he had been watching - he traced the path of all the places
I had put the bread down, in order. He was showing me that I could
put it anywhere, and he would be able to find it. At a certain point
it seemed that he didn't want bread just left for him, he wanted to
be handfed, like a possum. Instead of coming forward to take bread
from the handrail, he would sit on a branch and wait, like a possum.
At first I was nervous, because he moved much more quickly than a
possum and I didn't know if my nervousness would make him nervous and
he'd accidentally bite me.. But then when he did take food by hand I
felt kind of like I had overcome a fear, and was also quite proud of
Scruffles. He and Amiri had some confrontations, and Kiki also lunged
at him a few times, and so I think it's possible that he was
discouraged from regular visitation.
Possums and Humans
GK has done an incredible job of making nestboxes, installing
cameras, not to mention all the work that went into programming
everything such that footage in nestboxes would be saved, and later
clipped into movies for Possum TV. I wonder if some day someone will
want to talk to GK about Possum TV. He has accumulated an incredible
amount of data of possibly scientific value, and it's also possible
that some of what I remember could help when it comes to filling in
some important blanks.
GK created a very warm and inviting aviary for Wasabi when Wasabi
required treatment. The story can be found on GK's Possum TV
GK and Wasabi 2013
Through different kinds of mistakes humans sometimes made in dealing
with animals we have come to learn a lot more about particular
species. When animals have no one else to help them, is it better to
have an inexperienced human than no one? Are the relationships and
bonds 'real' to the animal? In many cases, it would seem so. Should
species stay with their own species? What about when one's territory
overlaps onto another's or if they share a territory? Should they
make every effort to avoid all contact? Or is it possible that some
interaction and compromise would be a positive thing?
Outpatient vs Inpatient
I'm not sure if it's clear, but aside from Wasabi the ringtail, all
possums here have been treated on an outpatient basis. I am not sure
it's clear to people what the difficulties involved with this might
be. A course of antibiotics is normally 5 days, twice a day. When it
comes to an outpatient possum, it can be challenging to give a dose
once a day. However, the antibiotic Ceclor is quite effective, even
with a once a day dose, for 10 days. Possums like it better than
Clavulox, and it is extremely well-tolerated. Clavulox is the
antibiotic most often given to dogs and cats - a taste test will show
that it is more bitter tasting than the sweet artifical
Even possums who visit regularly might not visit 10 nights in a row,
and many of the patients have been new possums who are unused to
humans. It could be that Ceclor is like the most delicious possum
treat in the world, which results in no possum wanting to miss out on
it while the Ceclor tree is 'fruiting', but they do have to receive
it at least once in order to know that.
To date, every possum who has ever accepted Ceclor once has returned
for a full course, and has been cleared of infection. The record is
not as good with Clavulox.
Even though I realize it might very well be only about the Ceclor and
the desire to have a treat, there is still a kind of ritual I go
through with each possum. It is possible it is about trying to form a
bond with the possum. When the possum receives the first dose, I will
establish eye contact with the possum, and speak in gentle tones. The
words probably don't matter. It's the tone and intent that have to be
conveyed, and trust established. I usually say something like: 'You
must try to visit every night for the next 10 days, or as many days
as you can. The infection can be fixed, but you have to visit. Try as
hard as you can. I will wait for you.'
And I maintain eye contact, and keep speaking until I see what I
have come to think of as 'the look'. There is a certain something in
the expression that seems to register something I have communicated.
OK, realistically.. it's the Ceclor that clears up the infection,
but maybe it's better for me if I at least have the illusion I have
bonded with the possum, which makes me more invested in making sure
the treatment is completed.
Svejk at the end of treatment in 2012
For possums, it could be that outpatient treatment is preferable to
inpatient, whenever possible. It is best to avoid as much stress as
possible, especially if the condition a possum has might be stress-related.
However, I do realize that for many people this might not be
practical. I'm nocturnal, and don't have a job. So, staying up all
night is not a big thing for me. For many possums, I have had to be
very alert, and have had to devise various tricks to make it easier
for possums to visit, but for me the unthinkable thing would be not
to do it. I can't send them off into the world with an infection that
might slowly and horribly kill them. I see treating the infection as
not only giving them more time, it's about increasing the quality of
whatever time they do have.
There's a point during treatment when it becomes obvious the
infection is clearing (usually around 4-5 days), and the possum will
actually seem more confident and energetic. It is an amazing thing
It is possible that part of what helps relates to knowing that
someone is on their side. Possums are solitary, and mostly just fight
with each other.
I think it might be a good idea to try to give possums equal
attention. I think it's possible that if certain possums are singled
out, others get jealous, or might lose confidence. When treating
possums, this can pose difficulties, because the one requiring
treatment will seem to be getting all the attention. When one is
being treated, I try to put extra effort into making sure the others
know they matter, too.
If I genuinely care for possums, why not try to get more involved in
wildlife caring, fulltime?
I think the reason I am effective in treating wildlife here relates
to the uniqueness of the situation. I care about these possums
and have come to see their patterns and behaviours and personalities
as a natural extension of my life here. At the root, my life is
not healthy. To become involved with more wildlife, I would probably
have to be more involved with people, and I don't think I'm at a
stage where that would work. It would turn something that is
authentic for me into something forced.
Possums experience stress because of humans. Much or most of the land
cleared in this country has resulted in the deaths of much wildlife.
Most people don't think about it. But in reality, if none were
killed, would there be any humans here? Is the point to save as many
as possible? I think what I do here is to concentrate on a few, and
give them as good a quality of life as possible.. but what seems
likely to me is that more land will eventually be cleared, and the
descendants of the possums I know will face increasing stress.
Does it make more sense to see the big picture, and to try to think
about preserving forests and places where possums don't have to
worry about humans and human-related threats? Should I branch out
into trying to help more nearby possums?
Wildlife caring is well-respected in the country, but most
Australians don't seem to know much about wildlife, or how their
behaviours and preferences affect wildlife. Most wildlife caring is
about hand-rearing orphans, and it's very cute to see the little ones
grow up healthy. In reality, how many of the released ones survive?
It actually makes sense for wildlife caring to be expanded into
caring for those with minor problems who can be treated as
outpatients, but this is less practical. A baby can be kept in a
house and then released later, but a possum treated in its own
territory probably has a better chance of survival. How practical
would it be to teach people about how to do this in their own
backyards? To learn to live with the existing wildlife and recognize
their charms, rather than think of them as a nuisance? I realize it
might mean rethinking a lifestyle, as well as gardening
Domesticated vs Wild
The hard part for humans relates to unpredictability and I guess
ownership. Dogs and cats have assigned roles. There are
responsibilities, and there is expected behaviour, and there is an
expected lifespan. The pet is there when people come home from
wherever. It has been acquired partly for that reason. I like both
dogs and cats, and had many of both growing up, however, my
experiences with possums have taught me to see the situation
You can't depend on a possum to always be there. Visiting times might
vary greatly, and they don't like to be picked up and cuddled. You
might want one to stay who 'has' to move away, according to possum
law. They might not live very long, even if they stick around.
But.. not knowing exactly what they are going to do means that life
is full of surprises. The routine isn't set in stone.
possum tv 2015
possum tv 2014
possum tv 2012
possum tv 2011
possum tv 2010
Note: I receive both antibiotics and advice from a vet who has
extensive experience treating wildlife - Dr Jim