Sunday, March 11, 2012

Common Brushtail Possum

Trichosurus vulpecula
The Common Brushtail Possum is a species of Marsupial found in Australia. As the name probably suggests, they are a common animal, and have the largest range and most abundant population of any Australian Marsupial.

The Brushtails do in fact have very bushy tails, though the underside had a naked patch. This is because the Possum's tail is prehensile, and that patch allows them to grip things better. They feed on a variety of plants, including fruits and Eucalyptus, and have also been known to eat the occasional animal. The species is also nocturnal, meaning that they need to find dark places to sleep in during the daytime- possibly even inside a house roof!

Common Brushtail Possums are arboreal creatures, and are excellent climbers. The females even have front-facing pouches for their offspring, in part so that they don't lose them. Some other marsupials, especially those that dig, have backwards facing pouches to keep dirt and debris away from their developing infants.

A baby Possum is only 1.5cm at birth, and will need to grow in the pouch for 5 months. Once they leave the pouch they will ride around on mother's back for an additional couple of months.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Australia
Size : Body Length around 23in (58cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Infraclass : Marsupialia
Order : Diprotodontia -- Family : Phalangeridae -- Genus : Trichosurus -- Species : T. vulpecula

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