Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Fun With The Wildlife

I went and looked for plans, designs, ideas - anything, in fact - that might help me build alternative accommodation for my roofspace-dwelling guests, the possums.  Cannot believe in an area where the density of possums exceeds that humans, there is no alternative.  Animal control experts will "relocate" them for you, but of course possums are extremely tied to their trees and grounds, which is why the Victorian bushfires have been such a disaster for those possums that survived - their homes gone up in smoke, they are going to find it hard to adapt to a new location.  So "relocation" generally means within a 25m radius or less, and they know the territory like the back of their paw so - back they will come.

Unless.  You happen to know what kind of digs possums prefer, or at least, can find someone to tell you.  Think I can?  I'm going to have to ring Perth Zoo.

And why am I doing this and not doing what many people do on the sly, which is to trap them and move them a long distance away - which BTW is illegal  - and be rid of the "problem?"  Well - I do like them a lot.  Turns out there are at least three, so now I have Peewun (female, ringtail, pale underbelly) Peetoo (male, brushtail) and lately a nasty girl named Peefree (female, ringtail, dark patch on underbelly.)  Peetoo in particular has taken to the odd tasty snack of apple or a slice of banana like a pro, he jumps down on the table and allows people to touch his fur and pat him, only gets nervous occasionally.

A few nights ago, he jumped down off the table and stood beside me at his full 11" or so of height, with one paw gripping a fold of my trousers so he could stand more easily, and took the slice of apple I handed down and ate at my feet.  Tonight, he came ambling towards me as soon as I showed up around the corner, accepted a piece of apple and ate it, and then when he was trying to scrabble up a table leg and get on the table in case there was, you know, any piece of apple in my pocket I may have missed, he let me lift his furry ass off the table leg and up onto the table.

And a while later, after he'd eaten the second piece of apple, also let me lift him off the table and onto his tree.  He can normally do the jump himself, but you could see him nerving himself up to feel that lift again.  And his eyesight in the illumination I need (and which must seem like a mini sun to him) can't be too good because he moved his head forward and down and made a definite "bonk" noise against the tree before he realised what it was and zipped away for his night's carousing.

So yeah - I want to give the possums a place they will gladly sleep in during the day and leave the landlord's ceiling alone, and if anyone has any help insofar as what western ringtails and western brushtails prefer in the way of accommodations, please let me know

BONUS ROUND
Peta Rabbit has become a cuddle slut.  Jumps on chairs beside you and drops her head for scratches, grabs your calf to ask to be picked up, and will happily lay still for 20 - 30 minutes at a time if there are head scratches and that oh-so-nice pet brush are involved.  Today, I picked her up from her hutch and let her come inside, put a piece of bok choi on the ground and put her next to it.

She was not impressed at cuddles cut short and let me know by thumping, then grabbed the bok choi and threw it behind her at me, then spun around and watched me with her ears all down and back.  So I picked up the green leaves and slapped her on the muzzle with it,  Ears shot up in alarm, then down as she realised it was a game, and then she happily munched her greens and was all cuddly and happy again. So wish I'd videoed it...


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