Meet Lucky - the baby ringtail possum...
Three weeks ago we were woken at an early hour by the sound of munching. It was Willy the cat devouring a ringtail possum in a corner of the bedroom -too late for rescue, alas.
However, an hour or so later he was back with a baby ringtail possum, which B managed to wrest from him before it was harmed. B handed the possum to me to keep under the bedclothes, and the little thing clung to my fingers in the most endearing way. It was too late in the morning – past dawn – for the mother possum to be still around so we were obliged to keep the baby possum – tucking it into an old wool beanie and putting back in the bed – until a solution as to its welfare could be found. In fact it could have been mother possum Willy was devouring earlier.
Fortunately, where I work, there is a woman who recues native wildlife and cares for them until they are fit to be released back into the wild. Pat already had a couple of young possums with her – she brings them to work with her - and was willing to take on our baby.
B brought her in and Pat took her over. She was named Lucky (to be alive) and she has survived very well, and is the darling of the office. A lively little possum she has doubled her weight since her rescue and looks bright and healthy.
Baby possums are the cutest little beasts and cling with feet and tail to anything they can attach to.
When I was a child my mother used to rescue motherless possums or damaged possums. There was one we brought up from babyhood, and then released into the bush. It came back every so often and would come if called.
There are troops of possums in our back garden, both of the brush tail and ringtail variety, and at this time of year they all have baby possums in tow, though we suspect that Willy caught Lucky down the road at a neighbour’s house. The neighbour has a large hedge growing on her side fence where obviously Lucky’s family made their home. It’s an unfortunate choice of nesting on the part of the possums, as hedges are more accessible to cats than trees, where ringtail possums, being lightweights, can take shelter on the outmost twigs and move quickly. They are very much at a disadvantage on the ground.
Willy got his share of karma later in the week, damaging the paw pad on his left back foot which slowed him down for a few days. and resulted in an unpleasant visit to the Vet.