Facts about the possum family

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Most people see the possum as a cute and lovable little critter however there can be those of us who do see them as a menace just like the raccoon. And this is certainly true of some species of American possum because they can be rather pesky at times. However his is just play for them, a bit of excitement to help pass the day, or the night for this nocturnal animal. The opossums of America are related to those of Australia and New Guinea and are of part of the marsupial family. The possum generally lives of a mostly green diet consisting of plant foods, fruit and flowers. But there are known to catch and munch on an insect or to and will eat meat if it is provided for them. However be careful when feeding possums because like the raccoon, once feed these creatures are hard to get rid of.

Where the possum has been reluctantly introduced into the forests of New Zealand they are doing major damage to the wilderness by eating hundreds of tones of forest every night. There are estimations of having over 100,000,000 possums now spread out over New Zealand and this is why they can eat so much food in one night. They were also introduced to China however China’s other native wildlife do not have to compete for as much food as the New Zealand ground dwelling wildlife and therefore the possums in China are not such a problem animal.

Small possums are roughly the size of a mouse or one of the smaller bats while the larger Australian Brushtail possum is about the size of a raccoon or family cat. Living happily is suburbia the possum that once only dwelled in trees now moves around and is comfortable living anywhere warm and dry such as a loft, shed, garage or ceiling. They are still shy of man, not yet being domesticated however they will take food right from your hand though if you are unlucky they might take a piece of your hand too using their sharp needle like claws.

Although the possum looks cute and harmless they have been known to cause electrical disturbances by chewing on electrical wiring which isn’t good for the poor possum either. They also get into the rubbish bins, compost heaps and anywhere else there is food lying about. If the possum is allowed to run free then they also take a liking to farmers’ crops such as fruit and vegetable so the farmers often have to cull the possums to stop their crops from being destroyed. Unfortunately some farmers use cruel and unusual methods of trapping the possum which mean they suffer for long periods, sometimes even days before death.

There are many wildlife sanctuaries that have nocturnal night tours to go spotting the possums and other nocturnal creature in their own natural habitat. This is a great way to learn more about the possum and how they live without disturbing their lifestyle.

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