Winning a wild animal’s trust? Priceless…

picture of possum walking along a fenceI don’t have any domestic pets any more. No cats, no dogs and while that makes me poorer in some ways, in other ways I’m richer because the local wildlife comes to visit. We get lots of birds coming in – lorikeets, kookaburras, butcher birds, ibises, noisy miner birds, pee wees, various honey eaters – the list goes on. We’ve also tried to provide nesting sites for the birds and bats. One reason is that there is so much competition for the available sites. We were also forced to take down a few trees damaged in storms and they tend to leave the little animals homeless, too.

The upshot of all that is that we have at least three possums in our one acre yard. That’s the beast at top left, a marsupial that forages at night and lives in tree hollows. We’ve found the nest boxes we put up for parrots have been appropriated by the possums. We also found they like fruit like mandarins and mangoes (both grown in ourpicture of possum eating an orange yard) and a piece of bread with peanut butter. I go outside after sunset most evenings to see them come out. They’ve become quite accustomed to us, although still a little wary. Until last evening.

I went outside with a glass of wine and startled our oldest resident. She hurtled past me back to the palm tree where she has her home in a nest box. She stopped at the base of the tree and looked back at me while I said soothing words like ‘don’t be silly, it’s just me’. She sat up on her haunches and gazed at me for a few moments, then she walked back to where I was standing, a matter of ten metres (yards) or so. She put one front paw on my jeans, then (taking her time) sniffed both legs thoroughly, as though imprinting my scent. Then she went back to her tree. That’s very likely her in the pictures.

Wow. Just wow.

** you NZ lot, I know they’re pests in NZ, but they belong here.

*** you Victorian lot, they’re not like the gangstas in Fitzroy Gardens, so no knocking my possums.

6 thoughts on “Winning a wild animal’s trust? Priceless…

  1. rinellegrey

    Hi Greta. I’ve nominated you for the ‘I am part of the WordPress Family Award, so if you get a chance, come over and check it out.

  2. Richard Leonard

    Not just Fitzroy Gardens. Any gardens!
    Don’t you love their growl? Half hiss, half growl. Our dog goes bazzerk when we walk him and the possums are out.
    These are ringtails too? We don’t see many brushtails where we are.

  3. rinellegrey

    It’s amazing isn’t it? My hubby is allergic to cats and dogs, so we don’t have any, and while I’m sometimes sad about it, it does mean that a lot of the local wildlife finds our place a bit of a sanctuary. We surprised a possum as we drove in the driveway tonight. Hubby stopped the car, and she froze for a moment, then ran in front of us and up her favourite tree. There are a couple of cockatoos that come by most evenings and hang around outside until we give them some grain (sometimes coming right up and sitting on the window sill), and the magpies will eat out of hubby’s hand. It is pretty amazing really.

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