Probably a Possum

I can’t help myself, I continue to try to figure out who my vegetable thief is. I doubt there is any more I can do to protect myself, but the curiosity simply kills me.

I harvested a nice, (1 kilo) zucchini recently to discover this (the tape measure is showing cms not ins):


I still ate the zucchini but I wondered who I’d shared my harvest with.

I searched online to find out if anyone had tips on identifying animals by their teeth marks. I have to say I wasn’t overwhelmed with data. But this site did give me some solid information. A ringtail or brushtail possum leaves the following evidence behind:

  • partially-eaten fruit showing a series of scrapes (may show scrape marks of six front teeth, forming a groove about 10 mm wide)
  • fruit disappears (can be carried away by brushtail possum)
  • pellet-shaped droppings (around 10-15 mm long) under tree

Yep, that’s it. The first point is obvious – plenty of scrape marks. Fruit absolutely disappears (where is that whole watermelon???). Pellet-shaped droppings litter my backyard. All of which confirms what I knew. But I’m happy to have my regular visitor confirmed to NOT be a rat. Who would be happy to share their food with a rat?


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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10 Responses to Probably a Possum

  1. vuchickens says:

    Wow, sure sounds like a possum. You were brave to eat it anyway.

    • It just scraped a thin bit off the top which means I’m not all that brave. It’s not like it has a tentacle to stick in the fruit to transport a weird virus – just a bit of damage to the skin which is easy to cut around.

  2. Those possums certainly like your veggies….

    • They do. And there are so many native trees and bits of bush near me there’s no real excuse. All that propaganda about planting natives to attract local fauna is pure bunkums – plant avocado, cabbage, sunflowers and zucchini and there will be a queue of the little beasties around the block!

  3. This is not what you thought gardening would involve – becoming an expert in animal droppings and teeth marks.

  4. You are much more tolerant than I. I think I would have to trap something that was stealing that much of my garden. Or put up some sort of prevention, though I don’t know what that would be with a possum.

    • I have actually seen (on TV) gardens inside a huge wire cage. Anything less and the possums can get in. Not to forget the birds (don’t they love anything red). At least the birds don’t rip of any cloth coverings. I just have to plant more and harvest earlier each year to beat the buggers!

  5. Very CSI! My problem in the past with vegetables has not been down to insects, more blight and slugs (which seem to be particularly enamored of my basil and artichokes).

    • Many of my plant suffer blight (I think it’s killing my capsicum and tomatoes as I type this) but slugs aren’t a problem for me. Part of that comes from living in a hot, dry country – but in the rains my neighbours get snails. I think my real saviours my be my chickens. I’ve never seen them eat a snail but why else don’t I have any?

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