Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Poss-zilla

I had given them the benefit of the doubt. Coppery brushtails look like fuzzy footballs because of all that long fur, essential for keeping warm in a montane rainforest. But at three o'clock last Monday morning*, I noticed a turn-in-the-wind (Mallotus paniculatus) in the back garden had started to do yoga. It looked as though it were trying to touch its toes.

The tree bent over further and further until it was almost formed an inverted U. And then with a crack, it snapped in half. A fuzzy football fell on the ground, looked dazed for a moment and then strolled off.

These possums have picked up where Tropical Cyclone Olga left off. Nothing can resist the rampage of the coppery poss-zillas.

______________

* I'm becoming an insomniac.


The culprit, Poss-zilla, goes about his business of stealing cherru guavas. The fruit doesn't even get a chance to ripen before it falls prey to the rapacious marsupials.






The turn-in-the-wind first thing on Monday morning




The turn-in-the-wind on Monday afternoon, after the pademelons found it




Please, can I have some more?

22 comments:

mick said...

Does the 'cuteness' factor mitigate against the crime? And did you know there were all these nocturnal creatures to disturb you when you moved up there?

Neil said...

Lovely little creatures aren't they.

jj said...

oh dear .. I know I ought not laugh, but really, what characters you h ave their.
And thanks for sharing the stories.
I love them.

jj said...

"their"????


there
:/

Mosura said...

I planted a pear tree last year and that's exactly what they did to it :-) It's always interesting to me that what seems like a waste (snapping whole branch) then goes on to feed other animals.

Snail said...

Mick, although the mammals are terribly cute, I also let the turkeys get away with murder, and they are definitely on the wrong end of the adorability spectrum.

I bought the place because of the wildlife. And my expectations have been exceeded!

Snail said...

Neil, they are lovely --- and mostly fairly well behaved. But when someone plants cherry guavas ... well ... what fruit-eating marsupial could resist the banquet?!

Snail said...

jj, they are definitely characters! I can tell the seven paddies apart on both appearance and demeanour. I haven't quite got the personalities of the possums yet, although I know this young male is completely shameless in his guava-scrumping.

Snail said...

Mosura, I'd be peeved, I think, if they were doing this to trees I'd planted! This is why I've resisted putting in any fruit trees. The cost of security would outweigh the savings of having my own harvest.

Having said that, I do feel slightly regretful that I'm not going to see any fruit. The few guavas that were starting to turn red have been picked off by the spotted catbirds. They're not sneaky about it either. I wish they'd look furtive.

Denis Wilson said...

"I wish they'd look furtive" Nice comment about the Catbirds.
As for those far brown bullies, they have been trading on cuteness too long.
The little Paddy is cute though.
Cheers
Denis

Dave Coulter said...

Is "turn-in-the-wind" the common name for that tree? If it is, it may be the coolest one I've heard in a while!

sarala said...

I totally envy your wildlife. I saw my first opossum a week or two ago. It wasn't doing any harm that I could see unlike your furry friends.

Mel said...

Hi there!
Cute critters, although I hope you can get some sleep :S

Russell Constable said...

Cute will get you a long way in this world. Guilt,shame and embarrassment are all words that were crossed out of the marsupial dictionary never to return! Love that last photo Bronwen!

Snail said...

Denis, that is my favoutite pademelon. He is very curious about the camera, presumably because he thinks that it will one day turn into something edible.

Snail said...

Dave, I believe that is the accepted common name. At least, that's what it's called in the wonderful Cooper & Cooper book, 'Fruits of the Australian Tropical Rainfores'. I guess it's called that because the leaves twist in the wind, exposing their pale green lower surfaces.

When (if) it stops raining, I'll get some better pics of it. It's a nice species.

Snail said...

Sarala, I've never seen an American opossum in the flesh. They look a bit fierce in the pictures! Our brushtail possums are utterly relentless when it comes to food.

Snail said...

Mel, they're not too bad. Now that the young one has grown up a lot, there's no energetic scampering up and down the roof. That used to happen quite a bit!

This fella has taken to stomping across the roof, but only to get from point A to point B. He doesn't make a big thing of it. It still amazes me how that little possum makes the same amount of noise as a human walking over the roof.

Snail said...

Russell, they're certainly trading on their looks. Next thing they'll be doing tourism ads.

Those paddies are absolute hams with the camera!

forestwalk/laura k said...

it's nice to be a little nocturnal at times so you can catch the other critters that prefer the dark sky. your 'possums' (i hate to say) look just a bit cuter than ours!!

Snail said...

They are very, very cute, but can be quite destructive. They also really enjoy running up and down the roof in the middle of the night!

forestwalk/laura k said...

...nothing like the pitter-patter of tiny feet...