Brushtail.JPG (42695 bytes)Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula): is an Australian marsupial that has adapted to life in close company with humans.
The Common Brushtail Possum is about the size of a domestic cat. Its ears are longer than broad, with a narrowly rounded tip.
Fur colour, density and length are highly variable. Usually the fur is silvery-grey above and cream underneath. The tail is black and somewhat bushy. Some individuals have pale yellowish-white fur.
The call, of the Common Brushtail, is a series of rattling coughs and hisses. Their calls may be very loud.
Breeding, in warmer areas, may take place all year particularly where adequate food is available. In colder, southern areas births may occur between April and June. The litter is one, rarely twins.
Common Brushtails usually eat leaves, flowers and fruits. Due to their close contact with humans, in many cases, their diet is now rather cosmopolitan.
Common Brushtails were once distributed across most of Australia but are now rare in arid areas and tropical woodlands.
In eastern Australia Common Brushtails are present, often in large numbers, in settled areas as long as trees are present. They sometimes become a problem when they take up residence in the roofs of buildings.
The photograph was taken outside a residence on the Central Coast of New South Wales.
Common Brushtails were introduced to New Zealand in the 1800’s with a view to establishing a fur industry. Unfortunately they have become an environmental disaster. They defoliate valuable native forests and are having a detrimental effect on the delicate New Zealand ecosystem. We have heard that their meat is sold, in New Zealand , labelled as “Kiwi Bear”.