There are three kinds of local possum at Potoroo Palace: Brushtail, Ringtail and Sugar Glider.
Possums are not usually featured in zoos, because they are difficult to see. Ours do not mind being brought out to meet visitors who book a Possum Encounter.
Trevor, Brushtail Possum
Had he been knocked off his mother’s back the night before while she was climbing on branches?
Had his mother been killed by a cat or dog?
A young girl called Rachel cared for him. She fed him possum milk substitute, bananas, oranges, melons, steamed cauliflower and carrot, and bathed his eyes each day.
A month later, Rachel needed to leave home to work and study, so the family decided to travel all the way to Potoroo Palace to ask whether we would be willing to keep him and care for him. Head Zookeeper Vicki McPaul took over the mothering role and he lived for some months with her family.
Now he is full grown and needs more exercise, so he has an enclosure where he can jump and run around at night.
When he meets visitors, he is gentle and calm and does not dig his claws in.
Dama, Ringtail Possum
Dama was only a baby, travelling on his mother’s back, when an owl grabbed him by the tail.
After carrying him aloft, the owl dropped him.
His tail was broken halfway down and had to be amputated.
Ringtail Possums use their tails as fifth limbs for climbing and holding on. They also carry nesting material in their rolled up tails.
Dama has come to live at Potoroo Palace. He is still quite shy and frightened.
Katy, Ringtail Possum
She was very young. She was nursed for some time and lived in a large aviary. The release door was then opened and she was able to come and go at will. She explored the outside world at night, but usually came back into the aviary to sleep in her drey by day. After some months she decided that she did not like the outside world much, and gave up exploring. Eight years later, she is still a happy possum who does not mind being scratched and stroked and, being elderly, quite likes breakfast in bed: the tips of certain eucalypts, grevillea flowers and the odd grape.
Kenzi, Sugar Glider
She was brought unconscious into someone’s house, and put on a drip. After two days she regained consciousness. Sugar Gliders often are determined to stay alive, unlike Ringtail Possums who give up easily.
She was looked after by a carer for three months. She recovered in every way except for her sight; after a year some of her sight returned. She is now about two years old.
Now she lives in a large enclosure and spends the nights leaping around the branches of a very leafy Pittosporum. By day, she curls up in an sheepskin boot or a woolly hat or a nesting box.
When she meets people, she likes to run along their arms and over their hands.