The plight of a baby possum.

Image result for baby ringtail possums

Photo from Google Images.

Yesterday I was determined to water both front and back garden. The last time we had any rain of significance would be many months ago and  from memory well before Helvi became sick, perhaps even before she broke her arms on the 29th of June. I look back now but did not realise that at that time a wonderful live would, like a flickering slow light be extinguished in just a few months later, when as far as we believed death would not be met till a few more years later. We cling to life even though we know we stand up, sit down and lie prostate on the board dying our whole lives long.

The hose was full on and I let it flow close to the ground not wishing to risk burning the leaves when the temperature would rise close to 40C later on, scorching the greens and colouring them a brown, a desolate plight of many gardens in our area right now. You can hear the sound of thirsty trees and desolate shrubs shrinking, as the days go on in relentless drought and scorching heat.

After finishing the watering with our Jack Russell ‘Milo’ making a wise choice to remain inside I noticed a small animal on the mat near the front door. It was soaking wet. At first I thought it was rat but soon changed my mind when I noticed its long tail with a white end. It’s face was also not of a rat. It looked at me all frightened, almost pleading to not ignore it and leave it dying. It was a small baby ringtail possum. Someone told me or I might even have read it, that with marsupials it sometimes happens that the mothers in order to save their own lives will jettison her off-spring and leave them to their own devices and that might then well end up in their deaths. Perhaps with the fires, smoke and general climatic confusion nature is sensing the seriousness of the situation better than we do, or at least better than our stupid politicians.

I closed the door and with Milo inside, I knew it wasn’t him that had somehow been responsible for this little bundle on the mat outside. Milo would not be that callous even though he would not be shy of chasing mature possums running around screaming and grunting all night in their mating frenzy in the tops of our large Manchurian pear trees. This was a baby possum. It was in need of something so I went back outside and it had crawled a short distance of the mat but was now being observed by our neighbour’s cat. Was it the cat that somehow had damaged it preventing it from escaping. I could not judge or even know at what stage a possum can start to walk, climb trees. I did not know its age and could not even guess it. I kept looking at its beady frightened eyes and chased the cat away, scooped it up and put it into an Aldi shopping bag.

I knew that all veterinary places are obliged to take on wild life, so drove with baby in the Aldi bag to one not far from here.  They were pleased to deal with it. The vet checked the baby over and said he did not see any blood or wounds. Why was it not walking? Had it fallen out of the tree, chucked out by its mum? The vet put the little one in its own little cage with soft woolly things to snug into. It must be missing his or her mother! And I hoped that the Aldi bag had not traumatized it even further. It carried al kind of  detergents, fly sprays, minced meats, kangaroo pet meat…!

I phoned the vet later on and he told me the little baby possum was handed over to WIRES which is an organisation that are experts in looking after injured wild life done by volunteers who are doing a wonderful job. I wish the little baby ring tail possum all the best and may it climb trees for many years to come!

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23 Responses to “The plight of a baby possum.”

  1. Yvonne Says:

    I wonder if he will survive, and if there will be some bushland for him to live in. Are those terrible fires anywhere near you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I am sure it will survive with the care it will get from those volunteers who look after injured wildlife. The fires seem to be everywhere now and this morning the smoke is terrible. The local RSL club is made ready to accept evacuees from local communities under threat from fires.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. auntyuta Says:

    You took good care of the baby possum, Gerard. Now it has a chanc to survive. With the fires not far away from you, please stay safe. Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable Cristmas for you and your family, and including dear Milo! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Uta. All the best for Christmas for you and family. I am not travelling while those fires are so close by. And the same for my daughter in Sydney who planned to come here with her two sons. We will se what the next few days will bring. I wonder how the little possum is now going. Hopefully it is walking a bit and exploring its surroundings.


  3. berlioz1935 Says:

    You did the right thing, Gerard in regard to the possum. I’m wondering, haven’t you water restrictions? We are not allowed to use the hose Anymore. Tomorrow will be another hot one and we are thinking of leaving for a safer place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, you are right Berlioz. Handheld hoses are not allowed to be used anymore. In some countries a hose is called a ‘hosepipe’ which sounds a bit odd to me. In any case I will now water the garden with a can and concentrate on those plants that Helvi has potted.
      The water shortages are now starting to bite. Heaven knows what will happen if this drought continues on for another few months. What drastic action will be undertaken in the large cities., disconnect water during certain hours, god knows?


  4. Robert Parker Says:

    I’m happy you rescued the little guy! Your possums are handsomer than the variety we have here in the U.S.. When our cat was younger, he’d stay out all night, and we’d leave a bowl of food for him on the porch. The neighborhood ‘possums heard about it, and we’d see them getting a snack, pretty much every night, sometimes with young ones on their backs. But I’ve never actually seen one hanging by it’s tail, or ever heard a peep out of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The Australian possums are just about everywhere. And are well established even in densely populated inner city suburbs. They can be a nuisance when they get inside your roof cavity.

      Some contractors make a lucrative business out of removing the possums from roofs but often even when the possums have been re-located away from their territory, they soon return to their roof space again.

      Our Milo tries to catch the moment when the possums make a run for it when they change trees, and waits up all night to catch them at it. He doesn’t harm them and I suppose he is just protecting our house.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. jennypellett Says:

    What a lovely story. I hope the little fella survives after all your thoughtfulness.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Than you, Gerard for your compassion for the baby possum. You did the right thing to pick it up and take it to a place where is would receive the best care possible. When our son was about 10-11,years old he found a small one in our yard. It was not yet half grown and we were not sure it could survive on its own so my son raised the possum and when it was self sufficient he released back on to our property which was then surrounded by undeveloped woods and scrubland on one side. Possums still are in out neighborhood and I am glad that they are. They eat ticks and other harmful insects and such. My husband nicknamed our son Possum after the one that he raised. The nickname has stuck and some of his friends still call him possum. .

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I am sure most people would like to save our wildlife. This little possum will be well looked after. I read that baby possums need special food and special milk and should not be given cow’s milk. An another admirable group of people are those that remove snakes form inside or near houses. Professional snake handlers! I wonder how one becomes a qualified snake handler? Do you practice on plastic ones first?
      The little possum would noy have weighted more than a few hundred gramms. When fully grown they have to be handled with care.We often had possums coming down the trees when we were camping and the kids would feed them out of their hands. They were tame and trusted us. But, we often ended up having ticks despite the number of possums. Sometimes ticks would be embedded on our heads between the hair.

      Liked by 1 person

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        I don’t know about the possums in Aussie land and if they eat ticks there. I only know about those here in the USA and actually I have no idea how effective they are regarding their appetite for ticks. I only know what I have read and can only hope that it is true. I detest ticks more than fleas. They carry so many diseases and are a pest to be reckoned with.


  7. bkpyett Says:

    The possum obviously knew you were kind so came to you. We had two babies living in a hanging basket. A few months ago I reached up to take some of the litter out of the basket, thinking the wind had blown it in. As I put my hand into the litter I felt something warm and fury which gave me such a shock. From then on I stopped watering that basket and as the possums grew two little heads would watch me as I picked lemons, part of their larder. They’d eat the skin off the lemons and leave me the insides. We also have a brush tailed possum living in the garage. We made a house for it, as previously it had lived in the roller door, and complained each time it went up or down. It’s very happy in it’s house now. This hot weather doesn’t suit any marsupials and they can’t afford to go abroad like our PM. The fires have been devastating to so much of our wild life. I’m glad your little one is safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, possums do eat the outsideof the lemons. One friend of mine gave me some lemons yesterday and told me that some lemons had been eaten by possums but only the skins.
      I use lemons to squeeze on pan-cakes and then add a little sugar with golden syrup.

      Yes, Morrison showed his true character. Years ago he was an advertising man, used to invent slogans. He used ‘where the bloody hell are you?’ in an adv to promote Australian tourism. Thousands are now chanting ‘where the bloody hell were you’? with Australia burning.

      I am getting a fine white Chrismas dust gently falling from the sky onto the garden; it is ash.

      How amazing that you had two little possums living in a hanging basket. How sweet.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Thank you so much for rescuing him, Gerard!
    I hope, too, that he survives and has a good life ahead.


  9. bkpyett Says:

    Stay safe Gerrard, I hope the fires don’t come any closer to you. It looks as if this might be a crisis that will change many things, including the government when the time comes. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. bkpyett Says:

    No, I was born in Tassie, but live on the Mornington Peninsula now. We’re safe at the moment, thanks Gerard. These fires are unbelievable. Read where PM’s religion believes in the end of the world, God’s will, you know. Pity help us!! We must stay positive though, and write and sign petitions to better things. ❤


  11. shoreacres Says:

    Bless you for caring for that little critter. It is wonderful that so many devote themselves to saving and nurturing wildlife. Even under the best of conditions — no fires, or drought, or such — they can be harmed by so many things, including one another!

    There’s a woman around here who specializes in putting turtles back together. They often end up with broken shells when they’re crossing roads in spring or fall, going into or coming out of the mud, and if they have no other injuries, it’s possible to fiberglass them together. Amazing.

    I’ve been getting a good bit of news about your fires from this site. The man who runs it is committed to providing information, not hype; he’s very good. He includes not only what’s happening there in Australia, but also who’s helping out, where training is taking place, and so on.

    Why does Bowral seem familiar? Do you have a reader from there, or have you traveled there? Ninety miles away isn’t so far — I suspect you might have mentioned it.


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