The common ringtail possum hails from eastern Australia and Tasmania. These marsupials prefer tropical and temperate areas, with thick brush forests that contain plenty of eucalyptus trees. They have a stable population and the only threats they face are habitat loss and predation by domestic and feral dogs, cats, and other predatory animals. Therefor, they are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Pseudocheirus peregrinus
Weight: Up to 1.9 lbs.
Length: Up to 13.7 inches, plus up to a 13 inch tail
Lifespan: Up to 8 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) Their scientific name is both Greek, meaning “false hand” and Latin, meaning “alien” or “pilgrim.”
2.) Similar to some rodents, like rabbits and guinea pigs, these critters engage in caecotrophy, where they will produce a special type of feces (poop) during the day that they will later consume.
3.) The tail of a common ringtail possum is prehensile (used as an additional appendage).
4.) Common ringtails are territorial. Territories are marked via secretions from special glands that mark said territory.
5.) Family groups are formed that consist of a male, 1 – 2 females, and their offspring.
But wait, there’s more on the common ringtail possum!
6.) The nest of a common ringtail is called a drey.
7.) They are nocturnal (active at night).
Did you know…?
Joeys are born weighing only up to .03 ounces!
8.) These critters are arboreal (spend their lives in trees).
9.) Besides scent marking, they communicate via vocalizations.
10.) Leaves of both native and non-native plants, flowers, and fruits are consumed.
But wait, there’s still more on the common ringtail possum!
11.) Mating occurs between April – December.
12.) Females undergo up to a 4-month gestation (pregnancy) that yields up to 4 joeys. Although, 2 are more common.
Did you know…?
Besides using their tail to aid in climbing through the trees, they also use their tail to carry nesting materials.
13.) Upon birth, the joeys will crawl into their mother’s marsupium (pouch) to continue developing for up to an additional 49 days.
14.) After leaving mom’s marsupium, the joeys will cling to their mother’s back for an additional 6 months before departing.
15.) Both parents take turns carrying the young on their back; switching off as the other feeds.
Now a Short Common Ringtail Possum Video!
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Photo credit: Benjamint444