Resourceful possums toast to Australia Day
A brushtail possum enjoys some toast in a Canberra home on Australia Day.
Ah, life in the bush capital on Australia Day.
What could be better than a feed of fresh toast to munch on while taking refuge in a sturdy structure for protection?
A Canberra Times reader has provided this photograph of a brushtail possum joining in the celebrations for the nation's special day.
ACT Parks and Conservation director Daniel Iglesias says like magpies and brown snakes, brushtail possums are among the most adaptive native species.
He says in Canberra many people have experiences with them, and they often take up living inside roofs.
He say people who choose to feed them could be aiding and abetting chaos in a neighbourhood.
"We don't encourage people to feed them.
"They are omnivorous, they feed on many things in the insect and plant worlds. They'll eat anything, and there's plenty of feed in the suburban areas for them."
He says they're resourceful too.
Females are often seen with young ones on their backs and they're skilled at avoiding dogs and cats.
Large populations of brushtails live in eucalyptus and cypress trees throughout the territory, including in the nature parks.
In other cities they have become a problem, defoliating gardens.
In areas where they are at their destructive best metal sheets are placed at the foot of trees to discourage their roaming, ravaging ways.
"Our wildlife rangers get plenty of calls about them, and we have our specialist pest controllers who can catch them, and remove them from the roof.
"They have been known to remove a few roof tiles to get into a roof."
Mr Iglesias says in Canberra they are more prolific in the older, established suburbs because of the bigger trees, but not so much in the newer suburbs of Gungahlin.
Several years ago at Canberra's Australian National Botanic Gardens a rare powerful owl was living on sugar gliders and brushtail and ringtail possums. Its main target was ringtail possums, up to 1.1kg, and including baby ones which it snatched off the backs of their mothers.
The RSPCA offers advice for dealing with possums. Go to rspca-act.org.au/wildlife/possums