Now, some people like possums and think that they are cute - me not so much! I will tell you why in a minute but first some possum info: (please feel free to skim read)....
The possum is a medium-sized marsupial that is natively found in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Sulawesi, which is a tropical island found in the Indonesian Archipelago. Today the possum has also been introduced to New Zealand and parts of China.
There are 69 different species of possum found in the far east, all of which range of size and colour. The pygmy possum is the smallest species of possum in the world, growing to just 10cm tall, where the brushtail possum can reach more than a meter in height.
In general, the possum is roughly the same size and weight of a domestic cat. The possum is not to be confused with the opossum, which is found in North America and is the only marsupial which inhabits areas outside of Australia and it's surrounding islands.
Possums tend to be found inhabiting bush-lands and rainforests where the possums live in hollow trees and logs. The possum lives a predominantly arboreal lifestyle meaning that the possum spends most of it's time in the trees.
Possums are nocturnal animals and therefore, the possum only hunts for food in the cover of the night. The possum spends the lighter daytimes, resting in hollow trees out of site from predators.
Possums have long prehensile tails, which are naked on the underside which gives the possum more grip when it is in the trees. Possums also have sharp claws which enable them to climb up tree trunks more easily.
Possums are omnivorous animals so possums naturally eat a variety of both plants and other animals. Possums feed on almost anything they can find including insects, leaves, flowers, nectar, fruits and even small mammals, birds and reptiles.
The possum has a number of predators in the wild, which vary depending on the region which the possum inhabits. Foxes, cats and birds of prey are the main predators of the possum but other animals such as Tasmanian devils, dogs, dingos and snakes also prey on the possum.
The possum is a very solitary animal, and possum individuals only really come together to mate. The possum is thought to breed throughout the year rather than having a strict breeding season. The female possum gives birth to between 2 and 4 baby possums after a gestation period of just a couple of weeks. As with all marsupials, the female possum has a pouch on her tummy which the new born possum babies crawl into and stay until they are bigger, less vulnerable and able to start feeding themselves. Typically only one of the possum babies will survive and emerge from the pouch after 6 or 7 months.
In some areas, the possum is seen to be a pest as they are known to hunt in urban waste and compost bins in search of food. Possums are generally considered to not be threatened with extinction, although some of the rarer species of possum, such as the cuscus, are threatened animals or even considered to be endangered.
Now, to the reason why I do not like possums.
In Australia, they are a protected species but they are also a pest. They love nothing better then to get into your roof space or into the cavity in your walls and live there. Where they make a lot of noise and make a real mess and their droppings then brings rats into these same areas of your home. But, as they are protected, all you can do is call "Peter the Possum Man" to catch them, seal up the very small holes they are using to get into your house and then he releases them no more than a couple of hundred metres from your property. So, what does the possum do? Comes straight back looking for another way in. See where I am going with this?
I will tell you a couple of stories about our up close and personal experiences with possums in our home and then you can decide.
When we first moved into this house, over eighteen years ago now, there were quite a few little holes which allowed possums access to the house and lots of trees which they could use to get to them. So, we would hear them each night as they left their hidey holes to venture out.
Now, our two boys slept upstairs in the attic bedroom (which has since been renovated into our bedroom with ensuite) in two "Captains" beds. Captains beds are raised beds with cupboards and drawers underneath them. Well, little did we know, that one of the cupboards (which was always kept ajar as that is where the power points were) did not have a proper back but opened up into the roof space. Anyway, we had Peter the Possum Man out to block up holes and try to catch the possum. One evening, my eldest son just would not go to sleep, he kept coming down the stairs on one pretext or another.
Finally, as we heard him heading downstairs for the umpteenth dozen time, we just called out to him "Go back to bed now!" We then heard a little voice say "I can't, there is a possum in my bed!"
Needless to say, TraderVic and I ran up the stairs as fast as we could and sure enough there was a Mama Possum with a baby, sitting looking at us from his bed. Well, I can tell you, Comedy Capers then ensued with us chasing the possum all around the bedroom, up and down beds and shelves until finally we caught in the boys' laundry basket. We then let them go out in the garden.
Now, I have to tell you that the funniest thing about this was the fact that DS2 was a very heavy sleeper and he actually slept through the whole thing - even the Mama possum literally running up and down his whole body! Unbelievable!
DS1 actually had a bit of a bad trot with possums, on another occasion, he was standing below a sliding doorway and a possum piddled on his head, just after he said "I think that there is a possum up there!"
But our DD had the worst problem. She had a possum who took up residence in one of her bedroom walls, just near the heating vent. I think that it may have got stuck as all night, it would scratch at her wall and eventually it made a hole in her bedroom wall and tried to get through it. She was having hysterics, of course, so we found some old bricks and placed them in front of the wall, to prevent its entry. She still has nightmares about the possum getting through.
So, you can see why I am not overly fond of these creatures.
But let me explain what The Alphabet Club is all about ....
It is the brainchild of Chiara from The Grey Tail and Jo from Serendipitous Stitching and is loosely based on the premise of the movie "The Breakfast Club" - you can see the button for The Alphabet Club on my right sidebar.
On the first Saturday of each month, members of the club have "detention" and have to post about something that will enlighten others about their culture (as blogland is so diverse). Of course, there should/could be something stitchy in there, if possible (although I seemed to have moved right away from that premise as the months have gone by, instead focusing on boring you all with quirky facts about Australia - lol!)
Each month will be a different letter of the alphabet - hence the club's name - and, of course, we started with "A" and now we are up to "P".
P.S. If you want to see what the other detainees got up to this month. Please click on this link here.
P.P.S My toe is broken, there is a vertical crack almost the whole length of the metatarsal of the middle toe. Fortunately, it is not displaced, so I do not need surgery - phew!