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Last Updated: Wed Jun 11 08:37:49 UTC 2014


Common Brushtail Possum

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A juvenile Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) climbing a Banksia integrifolia tree. It retains in part the rusty yellow coat observed on other joeys in the this area (Sigma AF 100-300mm f/4 EX IF HSM APO / Nikon D7100 / LED floodlight).

Mundane as Australian suburbia might be, we often do get interesting visitors. This multi-part web page contains a selection of recent wildlife pictures of interest.

The Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is a frequent occupant of urban areas and grows to a weight of ~4.5 kg. These noctural arboreal marsupials are omnivores, and frequently scavenge pet food, or raid suburban fruit trees. They are also well known for climbing into roofs and keeping residents awake at night. There are several variations in coat colour, silver-grey, black, brown and golden, found regionally. The latter are most commonly found in Tasmania. All of the possums in these images are the silver-grey form, although joeys have a distinct rusty yellow-brown coat when younger.

Brushtail Possums are arboreal foragers, but also feed on the ground. This species is a frequent victim of electrocution on high voltage lines - I once observed an example fall from from a 7 metre power pole following a large blue discharge and bang, but recover and scurry off when I arrived to bury what I assumed was a deceased beast.

Older imagery mostly produced using a Nikon D90 and Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED or Sigma 105mm DG EX Macro autofocus telephoto zoom lens, using the internal flash, newer imagery using a Nikon D7100 either with the
Sigma AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro or Sigma AF 100-300mm f/4 EX IF HSM APO zoom lens

More recent images also involved the use of an improvised white LED floodlight,
which yields better results as white balance, metering and autofocus perform better compared to the use of the internal DSLR illuminator. The cost of the improvised LED floodlight was ~$18.00, using a 35 year old Velbon flash bracket.




LED floodlight front view.

LED floodlight rear view.

Photos and text 2012-2014 Carlo Kopp


Suburban Common Brushtail Possums




A large male Brushtail Possum (Images 2012 Carlo Kopp;  / D90 with internal flash).





Possums are fond of fruit and frequently inclined to raid suburban backyards to access fruit trees. Above, ripening nectarines on the branch, below the results of a possum raid, a half eaten unripe nectarine.





We usually think of possums as cuddly fruit eaters. What is less known is that they are occasional carnivores. I was sceptical until I observed this example consuming some chicken scrap, and with considerable relish. The flash was no deterrent given the fresh chicken to be eaten.



Another Common Brushtail Possum, photographed on the fence in January, 2013. This example is different in size and coat coloration, compared tCommon-Brushtail-Possum+Joey-Noble-Park-D7100-2014-Bo the example photographed in 2012.



Another Common Brushtail Possum, photographed in January, 2013, raiding the neighbour's yet to ripen nectarines. Possums are accomplished climbers and fruit trees are a favourite target where accessible.









Above, below, a possum in its typical posture and environment, in this instance the perch being in a Banksia integrifolia tree.





Above, below, an older, and battle scarred male possum, perched in the same tree. This possum, despite being 6-7 metres above ground, hissed at me repeatedly while I photographed it. Second lower image is a crop.





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Above and below, a very disageeable male possum visiting a backyard.

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A mother possum performing gymnastics on a television antenna mast in February, 2014.

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Possum Mothers and Joeys

This female possum decided to declare my backyard as her territory, finding shelter nearby, in mid 2013. She was a regular nightly visitor for many months, providing many opportunities to photograph the growing joey. Sadly, the joey was killed by a car when crossing the street, in the early hours of 4th August, four days after the last photograph was taken, and the mother disappeared, likely with severe injuries from the same accident. The remains of the joey were buried under the Banksias depicted below.



































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These images, taken in mid January, 2014, show a newly arrived mother possum and her joey. This joey has been observed travelling piggyback reversed, with its nose pointing to its mother's tail (Sigma AF 100-300mm f/4 EX IF HSM APO / D7100).

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These images, taken in early February, 2014, show another visiting mother possum and her older joey. This joey, which is about the size of a 10 week old kitten, has been observed exploring indoors, and chasing a housecat several times its weight and size (Sigma AF 100-300mm f/4 EX IF HSM APO / D7100).


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A mother with a large Joey.

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A mother with a younger Joey.

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A Joey flicking its head to discourage a mosquito from biting.

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The same Joey being bitten by the same mosquito, on its right front paw, a few minutes later..

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Possum Fight


The Brushtail Possum is highly territorial, and prone to nasty disagreements should another possum intrude into its territory. Moreover, as observed below, spats are also entered into should two or more possums attempt to raid the same backyard at the same time.



This possum, designated Possum A, attempts to climb a Banksia tree, but is confronted by another possum in the branches of the tree, designated Possum B.



Possum A slides back and jumps off the tree.



Above, below, Possum B continues down the tree, to confront the intruding Possum A.





Above, below, Possum B confronts Possum A, nose to nose.





Above, below, Possum A on the ground, ceding the tree to Possum B.






Possum A departs.



Victorious, Possum B reverses direction and heads back up the Banksia.



Other Interesting Wildlife Sites


http://www.wildlife-photo.org/





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Artwork and text 1994 - 2010 Carlo Kopp; All rights reserved.
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