The Brushtail Possum

[Facebook] [Twitter]

The history of the common brushtail possum goes back to the 19th century, when the species was introduced in New Zealand as early as 1840. The scientific name of the brushtail possum is Greek for “furry tailed” and Latin for “little fox”. This is because the brushtail possum is about the size of a cat, it has a furry tail and people can often mistake it with a little fox. The brushtail possum is a marsupial of the Phalangeridae family, being actually the largest possum species. It is native to Australia, where it is largely spread.

Its color ranges from silver-gray and black to brown and gold. Its large and pointed ears make it look adorable and its bushy tail helps it grasp tree branches. The brushtail possum is arboreal and mainly lives in gum trees, where they hide their nests in the forks of branches. The brushtail possum is also nocturnal, so the chances of seeing it in daytime are pretty low. Regarding its dietary habits, the brushtail possum is considered to be a folivore, meaning a herbivore that mostly eats leaves. However, the brushtail possum also feeds on small mammals, like rats. The brushtail possum which lives in Australian habitats prefers eucalyptus leaves. In average, a brushtail possum has a head and body length of 32-58 cm and its tail is of 24-40 cm long. A brushtail possum can weigh up to 4.5 kg, but no less than 1.2 kg.

The brushtail possum is also considered to be the most widespread mammal in Australia. In New Zealand, the brushtail possum is considered to be a pest, as it endangers agricultural areas such as fruit trees plantations and vegetable gardens. Nevertheless, the brushtail possum can be seen by Australian city-dwellers, since this marsupial thrives in cities and has managed to adapt to a wide array of natural and human-modified environments. This is why many people have chosen to adopt a brushtail possum as a pet. Despite it being often considered a pest, the brushtail possum is now protected after it has been extensively hunted for its valuable fur.