This is Bushels. *He’s a ringtail possum and he lives in my daughter’s house in Brisbane. I’ve made his acquaintance audibly many times over the years as he scampers around inside their roof at night but this is the first time I’ve seen him. He’s gorgeous, and smaller than I’d imagined. Ooh, those ears. Those big eyes. Those pink claws, all ready to grip trees. And see his little curled up tail? What a cutey.
And he’s a red head too. That surprised me because we only see grey brush tail possums in Canberra and I really thought that’s what he was.
Who’d have thought something this small can generate so much noise at night? It’s ridiculous really. We stayed in a house with resident possums the other night. Sneaky little critters with a sense of humour. They wait until the dead of night when you’re in your deepest, most relaxed sleep, dreaming of foot massages in Thailand and swaying palms in Hawaii. Then a couple of them line up on one side of the roof, one shouts ‘Go!’ and they’re off in a manic race at blinding pace through the rafters and over the sarking to get to the other side first, thumping into anything that crosses their path. Meanwhile you’re suddenly sitting bolt upright in bed thinking someone has run their car into your house, just like you see on the news occasionally. Or some crazed axe murderer has burst into your room about to wield his glinting steel mass upon you. Oh no, don’t panic. It’s just some of Bushels’ mates.
Daughter’s house is full-on construction site at the moment, as the old house Bushels was resident in becomes encapsulated in something much bigger and grander, and hopefully with a sealed roof space. As building progresses poor old Bushels has to constantly find new places to nap during the day.
He spent the entire day here a few days ago, nestled in the scaffolding, seemingly unfazed by the enormous noise and commotion going on around him, and the constant foot traffic past his head. He woke for the photo, gave a bit of a hissy-chatter noise, then eventually turned around to bury his head in the corner and went back to sleep. Clearly we’re not too scary.
Possums are everywhere in the ‘burbs in Brisbane. They’re supposed to live in family groups but Bushels seems to be a loner. And they’re very territorial. I’ve read if they’re displaced they could be wandering lost and homeless for years. How sad. That means when the reno’s are finished and the roof is sealed off, M2 will have to build him his own little tree house out the front somewhere so that he doesn’t have to roam the streets lonely and destitute for years to come.
*Actually we don’t really know whether Bushels is a boy or girl.