Ringtail possums (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) are a nocturnal mammal species native to the eastern states of Australia. Common in suburban backyards, their presence is often felt when they run noisily across peoples roofs at night. Theoretically speaking, Ringtails prefer a diet of leaves from members of the Myrtaceae family (such as Eucalptus and Leptospermum) but will quite happily chow down on other introduced plant species (rose buds are a favourite).
Ringtails typically become active immediately after dark, so I was rather surprised when I spotted this one out in broad daylight.
He (or she) may very well have been disturbed. Two angry-looking magpies (Cracticus tibicen) were standing nearby. Then again, magpies always look angry!
What surprised me was how closely the possum would allow me to approach. Fortunately I had my camera in hand and was able to take these photographs. It was only when a neighbour’s wire door slammed shut that the possum took fright and bolted off into the shrubbery somewhere.
I have no doubt that having had a rather ‘exciting’ day, this Ringtail will be much happier wandering our backyards at night in search of fresh fruit and leaves.