In April we hung a parrot nest box in the gum tree in our back yard. Nothing moved in by early spring so I despaired. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Frank saw a possum dart out of the box at dusk when he was down locking up the chickens.
After this momentous sighting, we tried to record the contents of the box by hoisting a camera on the end of an extendible pruner at the end of an arm attached to a body standing at the top of a ladder. The best we could do was video the top half of the inside of the box. The roost out front combined with the angle of the roof and the precarious nature of the entire exercise prevented us from successfully seeing what slept (if anything) in the bottom of the box. Rather than get the huge ladder out and disturb any inhabitants we waited.
Days later, Frank came running in the house saying 2 possums were outside of their box (this was near noon on a hot, sunny day). I raced to the back window and got a picture of one, the other had scampered into the oak tree.
I’ve seen possums leave their home (when it was my roof at the time) in the daytime before. It seems to happen when they have some sort of domestic dispute. I think it might be the possum equivalent of sleeping on the couch. One possum skittered deeper into the oak, the other slithered back into the box. I’m sure they’ll kiss and make up when the sun goes down.
It’s impossible to say whether or not there are any babies in this happy family because Australian possums are all marsupials. That means babies stay in a clever little pouch until they are good and ready to take on the world. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for that event.
These possums are ringtail possums. The ones in my roof, I’m almost certain, are brushtail possums. The possum box we installed in the tree in front of our house was meant to attract the brushtail possums so they’d leave our roof. They haven’t, I wonder if something else moved into their custom-built home.
The parrot nest box has a 75 mm opening – perfect for a small parrot. Apparently ringtail possum boxes should have either a 70 mm opening or a 80 mm opening (depending on which literature you read). I think 75 was just right for our little Goldilocks family.