Monday, 28 September 2009

The gambollers

About a week ago, something moved into the space between the eaves and the patio roof. At about 4 pm each day, the something starts scampering up and down in the gap. Then, an hour or so after dusk, it emerges, gambols along the roof, jumps onto an overhanging branch and spends the night in the forest. It returns at 4 am.

It could have been anything. Not an echidna or a pademelon, obviously. And probably not a bandicoot. But apart from those — and brush turkeys — it could have been any of the tree-climbing animals that inhabit the garden. There's a lot to choose from here. I just hoped it wasn't a black rat.

It took a few days but I finally managed to identify the new resident. Well, the two new residents — the female coppery brushtail and her joey, which is now out of the pouch. I imagine the afternoon activity is the young 'un having fun, while mum is trying to catch up on her sleep. At least they are as quiet as possible when they come home in the wee hours. They jump off the tree, run straight across the roof and tuck themselves into the cozy space beneath the eaves. No singing or swearing and, as far as I know, no wearing traffic cones stolen from the road works on the road to Atherton. They're not bad neighbours, really.

A shot in the dark.
Photo taken last night by pointing the camera towards rustling in the trees.

Here are some I prepared earlier ...

It's a tight fit in mum's pouch

But things can go horribly wrong when you've grown just a bit too big

There are other options


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Bronwen
Fantastic series of photos.
The second image - the verical one, posed in the V fork of the tree is wonderful. Love the little curly tail poking out of the pouch.
The second last (upside down, head bumping on the ground) is pretty funny too.
In my experience of Brushtails, the noisy bit is when they mate, and that's usually only for a few days each year.
Mum and Bub ought be pretty quiet, apart from the running around, prior to departure in the afternoon.
Urine smells from the ceiling cavity might be an issue, though.
You could try jamming a ball of some stiff chicken wire just inside the place they enter the roof space (after they have departed, of course). You might need to fix it there, somehow. That "Space Invader" foam stuff is pretty good, once it sets. Messy stuff to apply, though. Don't touch it, as it attaches to anything and everything, including clothes.
Solvent is acetone, which is pretty nasty stuff too.
Use the plastic disposable gloves they sell with it (inside the cap). It needs to be warm, and it absorbs moisture from the air in order to set, but those requirements won't be a problem for you.

Dave Coulter said...

Very cool!

Snail said...

More cuteness out here. Mum and Bub were just in the front garden. Bub is very curious about everything but won't let go of mum for even a second.

Fortunately, they're not actually inside the roof. (I think the roof space is fairly well sealed, possibly as a cyclone precaution.) They're living in the gap where those clear corrugated sheets (I've forgotten what they're called!) are fixed to the wall just under the eaves. There's a space that's nicely protected by the overhanging gutter. Very cosy. I'm surprised it's not full of microbats, but the entrance is a bit awkward and maybe the bats are spoiled for choice around here. (Friends up the road have netting that they roll over the windows at night. If they forget, they wake up the following morning with microbats clinging to the curtains.)

Once it gets a bit warmer, I suspect the possums might rethink this home because it's just the sort of retreat that a python would like ...

mick said...

You have some fascinating house mates! Great photos!

Dyl said...

Lovely photos :-) Thanks again for sharing.

Sherryl said...

Fantastic! I am so envious of all this amazing wildlife, although I bet at 4am you're not so enamoured. Now I'm looking forward to a photo of microbats. (I know, I could Google them but your photos are better!)

Snail said...

Every house seems to have a different type of house guest. Across the road has a white-tailed rat, down the road has a fawn-footed melomys and next door has a great big golden orb weaver. I did have an orb weaver for a time but, because it couldn't decide on a spot for its web, I moved it on.

Soon I'll have to clean out the gutters in prep for the wet season. I'm not looking forward to evicting whatever is bound to be living in them ...

Sherrie Y said...

Hmm... Sounds like a theme for a book, or at least a series of essays about the diversity of house guests. I can just picture the illos... sort of an Architectural Digest for wildlife. "And here, in this post-modernist dream den, we find brushtails. Decor? Trendy horizontal stripes in neutral tones with a splash of fruit-based color... Poof pillow optional."