This last Tuesday, we talked about the unique echidna. Today, we’re talking about another Australian animal: the common brushtail possum.
1. Common brushtail possums live in Australia, Tasmania, many islands off the coast of Australia, and New Zealand. They prefer to live in forested areas, both rainforests and dry woodland, and in man-made areas like parks and gardens.
2. The common brushtail possum is the most widespread marsupial in Australia. Perhaps this is why they are called common. They have also become widespread in New Zealand since they were first introduced in 1850.
3. According to research, these possums spend almost half of their day sleeping (44% of it, in fact). They spend a little less, 30%, traveling, about 16% eating, and 10% grooming.
4. Common brushtail possums are very vocal animals. They communicate with one another using a variety of sounds, such as screeches, hisses, grunts, chatters, coughs, and clicks.
5. Unlike some arboreal marsupials, common brushtail possums eat many different types of foliage. They eat eucalyptus, but they also eat flowers, seeds, and shoots, along with occasionally eating small mammals.
6. Common brushtail possums exhibit polygynandrous mating, which means that both males and females have more than one partner. During one mating season, one male might father several joeys, and many males father none.
7. Pregnancies for these possums last for less than three weeks and result in a single joey. The joey usually weighs only two ounces and measures half an inch long.
8. The territories of common brushtail possums often overlap with one another. When this happens, there is rarely any violence between the two possums. Instead, they enter into a standoff with one another. Females tend to make their territories close to their mother’s range and males travel further to establish their own territory.
9. Common brushtail possums are nocturnal. This means that they can sometimes disturb the humans they live with during the night. However, if you have any of these possums in your area, building a nest box will encourage them to stay off of your roof or nearby trees.
10. These possums are very attached to their homes. Forcefully moving a common brushtail possum out of their territory is extremely distressing for them and usually can even be fatal. Encouraging a possum to move can be done gently by tempting them with treats like fruit.
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