Ringtail Possum

mother ringtail possum with one young visible on her back

This morning we created a low slow fire in the bushland on our western boundary. After two wet years it looks as though this summer will be dry again, so we were burning the thick casuarina needle carpet under the trees to reduce fuel load in case of a bushfire. About an hour into the burn a female ringtail possum suddenly emerged from her nest, carrying two well-grown young. She proceeded on an aerial highway from thin little branch to trunk, to thinย littleย branch, and so on until she found shelter in the leafy centre of a small pittosporum tree, a fire retardant species. The young clung to her back the whole time. After we had finished with the burning I went back with the camera, and received her outraged look! Due to her position I could not photograph both young, the other was clinging low on her back amongst the leaves.

you can see the rear-most young possum’s curly tail here on the left, mother is giving me an outraged look!

Here is mother’s long tail hanging low ….

and here is glimpse of the fire that caused the evacuation!

fire-hazard reduction burning


27 thoughts on “Ringtail Possum

  1. Your photos are amazing. Living in the middle of an urban city on my little piece of land, I am often impressed with the time and care others take in protecting their property and the animals that inhabit it. Your care is much appreciated, even though this mother may be upset now. She still has a home. It looks like a controlled burn is a lot of work.


    • yes it is, but the morning was perfect, almost no breeze, the ground a little damp, weather cool, so it was quite safe and stress free, we just had to rake a bit to keep the fire away from some fallen trees, and some birdsnest ferns, so it all went very well….. we try to do a small area every year to keep it all under control!

  2. i understand your burn, prescribed burns are part of our native prairie restorations here in NW Wisconsin, several burns each spring help to reduce the combustibles, your possum is delightful, your photo is great, thanks MJ

    • no doubt your indigneous people, like ours, cared for the land with these careful burns, something we are just now trying to relearn on a grand scale in this country to help reduce fire hazard … we have lived with bushland for about 40 years so we are used to doing it and appreciate the benefits ๐Ÿ™‚

    • are you here in australia? if not you might have a different creature in the garden, but all life is valuable if not equally appreciated ๐Ÿ˜€ thanks for your visit!

  3. Fantastic photos. I love having possums in the garden. We had resident, friendly [peer thru the door, where’s my dinner?] possums but after I snapped their photo one evening they wouldn’t come near me, just me, they were fine with everyone else!

      • Oh yes. When I lived on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, yes, and at Darlington we had gorgeous small white tipped tail neighbourhood possies but I’ve not seen any since our move o Erko/St Peters. At our house at Taylors Arm on the Mid North Coast, we have a big old possum who no-one sane wants to meet…

    • oh dear, hope it leaves you in peace, you can always put up a possum box in a tree nearby! just have to board up the hole where it goes into the roof … all much harder to do than to say ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Well, if you’re going to smoke her out of house and home of a morning, I say she has every right to give you the look, Christine, especially as she had to cart to great gallumping bubs along with her across her skyway to safety in the pittosporum. ๐Ÿ™‚ Loved, the story, and the great shot you got of her. So, you reckon it’s going to be a hot, dry summer, eh? Oh dear, maybe I should postpone my return till March, when the worst of it is over?

  5. bad fire – greetings by my cat; in our neighbourhood a house burnt down in the night, a crying cat warned the humans – fire departement rescued all in the house – but forgot the poor cat …

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