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A family that drinks together…

November 7, 2015

…drinks together. The elevated temperatures last week made our birdbath, the only source of water for some distance, a very popular place for both drinking and splashing – particularly with family groups.

When the weather is wetter animals such as possums and gliders, which get a lot of their water from the food they eat, can simply supplement this by licking the moisture off leaves. But when the temperatures are higher there is no surface moisture and so the birdbath is the place to be.

ring tailed possum IMG_5339Common Ringtail Possums (Pseudocheirus peregrinus – from the Greek for ‘false hand’ referring to the claw arrangement of the front foot and the Latin for ‘pilgrim’) build a spherical nest made of shredded bark and grass called a drey. Up to two young are produced in autumn and remain in the pouch for four months. They are weaned after a further two months, during which time they may stay in the nest or get carried on the mother’s back. The bath has often been visited by a possum with one young but this is the first time we have seen two (pictured above).

brush tailed possum IMG_0323Common Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula – from the Greek for ‘furry-tailed’ and ‘little fox’) do not make nests but sleep in tree hollows and other cavities. Only a single young is produced, which similarly remains in the pouch for up to five months and then rides around on the mother’s back for a further two months until it is weaned. I’m guessing from the picture (right) that the two months is almost up.

The juveniles are obviously being taught at a young age ‘Don’t drink and drive…or walk’

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