Possum Ponderings

The brushtail possum is found in many parts of Australia, from the coastal fringes to inland areas. Possums shelter in tree hollows, and prefer open forest and woodland areas. They are nocturnal, and have adapted to living in cities and suburbs, in addition to their usual habitats.

Hearing the thump of possums landing on a roof is not uncommon, nor are the noisy hissing and grunting sounds they make of a night time. They can create challenges when they decide to make their home via chimneys or roof spaces, becoming unwelcome houseguests.

The word ‘possum’ appears in various contexts. It can be used as a term of affection – you cheeky possum! To play possum is to feign illness or death. Stirring the possum means starting a debate on a controversial topic, especially in a public space. Possums also appear in stories, such as the Australian children’s book, Possum Magic. They also turn up in poems.

The Possum by Douglas Stewart

Stranger, who are you?
What do you want?
There at the window
Where the branches glint,

With your black-nailed claw
And your black round stare,
And your sharp wild face
And your silver fur.

The link to the full poem is here.

Common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)

The possum above had been hiding in a shed, and when it found itself in daylight it scooted to the top of a tree before eventually making its way to a safe place.

Have you come across a possum lately?

Photo: brushtail possum

11 thoughts on “Possum Ponderings

  1. *sigh* I certainly have. I don’t mind them bounding across my roof, but they have developed a taste for my lemons, and now the Pink Lady apples need to be guarded from their depredations. (It’s only a young tree and we are still excited — and possessive — about the tiny new fruit.)
    I think ours are ringtails, because occasionally they electrocute themselves on the electricity wires in the street and that’s when we get close enough to see.
    They used to spend most of their time in next door’s vegetable patch, but that garden has since been made over to be low-maintenance for the tenants.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Lisa. You have highlighted some of the challenges faced when possums come calling. Those pink lady apples must be irresistible and quite a contrast to the lemons. I was surprised to learn that possums also eat gum leaves, which I thought was more the domain of koalas.
      I can relate to the possums bounding across the roof. I have a metal roof and often wonder if the possums are wearing hob nail boots!
      Best of luck with saving your apples 😊


    1. Excellent question! Possums tend to freeze if caught in a bright light at night, or if caught unawares during the day. Perhaps it is a universal possum trait 😊


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