I don’t really know anything about possums… So this was an interesting card, an interesting opportunity if you will, to learn.
First things first, a possum is not an opossum. The latter are found in the Americas and the former in Australia.
Possums are nocturnal marsupials which are related to cuscuses. Based on my limited research, this may be the common ringtail possum, the scientific name of which is Pseudocheirus peregrinus (Greek for “false hand” and Latin for “pilgrim” or “alien”). The common ringtail possum enjoys eating leaves, flowers, fruit and a special type of faeces that is produced during the daytime when it is resting… This sounds a bit disgusting to us by it’s similar to behaviour displayed by rabbits and helps to maintain their energy levels, important given their low nutrient diet. It also helps them to conserve water. The common brushtail possum is less discerning when it comes to diet. They normally eat leaves, flowers and fruits but they are often found in urban areas where they will eat pretty much anything. They don’t pass up the opportunity for a meal even if it’s not what they would generally choose.
Possums spend most of their life in the trees, rarely descending to the ground. They are excellent climbers and use their prehensile tail to help with balance and grip. Their large, sharp claws also help with their arboreal lifestyle. That said, the common brushtail possum is happy to adjust and will delight in sharing your home with you (you may feel differently about this arrangement…). This is a really opportunistic, inventive and adaptable creature.
One possum pair eager to get their paws on tasty garden veggies was witnessed balancing like acrobats: one hanging from a branch, holding the other’s back legs in its front paws and lowering him down the tree!
As night dwellers, the possum lives in the shadows, able to see and hear and navigate the darkness. However, danger can hide there so the possum must remain on high alert. This seems to come naturally to them, they seem always to be on the look out and always thinking and noticing what is around them and how they can make use of opportunities which cross their path. These skills will also ensure the possum is aware of any predators – in their search for opportunity they also spot danger.