'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Friday, 30 November 2012

A Possum on my Roof

For some time I've been aware that I've had a visitor around the house.  My silverbeet has been demolished for months now, and the giveaway is the munched roses.  Well, that would be the giveaway, if it weren't for an even bigger giveaway - the clomp, clomp, clomp on my studio roof.  He or she has been checking the bowls of pantry-mothed porridge oats I've been putting out for the birds.

Tonight I got some good shots.  This creature can't stay, and I already have a trap set, and a neighbour primed for the dispatching job, but it's a pity these appealing marsupials were ever introduced into New Zealand.  In Australian their enemies are dingoes, the vegetation is far less palatable, and bush fires are a regulator.  Here in New Zealand they have no natural enemies, and they have had a devastating impact on the ecosystems. They do much damage to the bush, not to mention the native bird population (eating both eggs and young). Around my property we have More-pork, silvereyes, fantails, tui, and even the occasional kaka and kereru, quite aside from all the imported finches, blackbirds and thrushes etc.  It has to go.

This one seems remarkably tame, and took very little notice of me getting the outside chair for a good view.
Perhaps it knows my smell and my voice.  In fact that's certain: it sleeps in the ceiling space above my bedroom, returning about 5.30am.  This morning I found myself shouting 'Go to SLEEP why don't you!' as it shuffled and turned and wriggled around finding a comfortable spot amongst the insulation up there.

An Australian brush-tailed possum on my New Zealand studio roof.  

I think these critters are quite rare in Aussie.  I wonder if we could ship a whole lot back to them.  We've got plenty!

Incidentally, the clouds looked wonderful tonight with the moon behind them...  

 And here's the moon rising out of the Bay of Plenty sea on Wednesday night, when a friend and I went down to the beach to eat our fish 'n chips and watch it.

Sorry folks.  Comments for this particular post are closed due to the volume of annoying visits by roofing companies.  But please feel welcome to comment on any other post!


  1. What a strange-looking creature! Looks to me like a cross between a kookaburra and a billabong (just kidding). But it looks nothing at all like our North American possums. More like (and I'm being serious this time) a cross between a squirrel and a raccoon.

    The squirrel olympics were held in our attic at our old house. At least it sounded like that with all the constant galloping going on overhead. Either that or they were a very amorous or very angry pair. I suppose the one does not preclude the other.

  2. Haha... love your descriptions Robert. Yes, they are quite different to your OhPossums. Fluffy tails, for a start. Yours look like rats with noses borrowed from stoats...
    We have quite an industry now of the fur spun with merino sheep's wool. It is really lovely and soft in a garment. There is always mixed feelings when an industry develops - eg the wild venison or trout industry etc - around an animal that really, ideally (from the point of view of the natural, original environment) shouldn't be there at all...

  3. Yes, I know you Kiwis hate our possoms and I completely understand as they do a huge amount of damage apparently over there. They don't bother us at all here except if they get into the roof and steal the odd bit of fruit from trees. Lots of people leave fruit out for them at night and make wild "pets" of them . You have to admit they are cute. Feral animals are always a pest. We hate rabbits and foxes and they are cute too!
    At least you are not wasteing the byproduct fur. Those cosy gloves etc are great.

  4. Helsie - they are indeed so cute! I admit to throwing a piece of apple up on the roof for it so I could photograph it holding something in its little paws... but look at those claws!
    We had a friend whose child used to wander around with a pet baby possie - but if I inadvertently startled it, it would race up the child's body and hang on to its head with claws dug in hard! The child would yell and get really cross with me!

  5. I know that the possoms are a big problem in new Zealand. I have a fur from a dead one. I have heard that you eat them aswell and make clothes from there wool. And we saw lot of them lying dead on the roads. But you are right they should never have been in New Zealand.

  6. How about brush tailed possum for Christmas instead of turkey? I have heard that they are delicious when roasted. It's not that particular possum's fault but the introduction of non-native flora and fauna to NZ is a living horror story and so very tragic...Oh, and just like bunnies, possums make excellent slippers. Miss N would love them.

  7. Kirsten, YP... I don't know about possum stew; I've heard that bushmen eat it when there's nothing else, but have never tried it myself. It's sort of in the category of pukeko stew. Bit like you eating hedgehogs...

    The fur is indeed lovely, though.

    So far I have caught two blackbirds in the trap but no possum.

  8. Hello Katherine, thanks for dropping by my blog(s) and for your comments. I always maintain that John Gray has the classiest and most discriminating commenters!

    I am gearing up to starting my personal blog again, I am beginning to miss it though I have enjoyed the break.

  9. The winter just passed possum bait and traps were set all around our neighbourhood and guess what: the bird population has sky rocketed. Oddly I've never actually seen a possum at The Cottage although one did clump along the roof on one occasion. That was a pretty scary experience in the middle of the night until I worked out what had woken me.

    Onto more agreeable subjects your first moon shot is very atmospheric and the second one really lovely.

  10. Ahhh...Aside from the squirrel and the crow, the possum is also considered as one of the most troublesome animals on the roof. Just when you’re lying in bed on a peaceful evening in front of the TV, a galloping horde of banshees starts playing on your head. :( Best thing you could do is to install open mesh traps on your roof. There are stores that sell traps that comes with a permit. If you guys are not aware, possum species are protected by law under the National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1972-81.

    Rodney Orton

  11. Judith - Welcome to TLVD! Blogging can be both a joy and an obligation, although I must say the sense of obligation to post only came for me rarely, when I was on the NaBlPoMo programme, and posted daily.

    GB - Yes, and the same thing happens in the bush. Even better to get rid of rats! Thanks for the +ve comment on the moony pics.

    Rodney Orton - Thank you for your comment too. I think. Something in the content made me suspect you hadn't actually read my post properly, given that I am in New Zealand and have no squirrels and crows, and here we certainly don't need a permit to trap possums. Indeed, when I clicked on your link I find you are a commercial roofing supplier - in America! I only wish you had a place on your website where I could direct you to MY business website - for I am a professional artist and, unlike you, DO ship works to anywhere in the world!

  12. I know I risk sounding like TO STEPHENSON but having a opossum on your roof is better than having a crab in your draws

  13. Yes John. I expect it is. Not that I would know of course.
    Probably not as noisy, though.

  14. Well, the possum on the roof may be cute, but an untamed animal like that can be a big trouble on your roof. Just like what happened with your garden, the possum can also ravage your roof and tearing up shingles, opening holes and making it all dirty. Anyway, it is good that you decided early on that the animal had to go. Have you found a way to keep it away from your property?

    @Kristopher Diss

  15. There are no NZ animals that are strong enough to damage our roof Kristopher. It is made of gavanised corrugated iron.

    Why do I get the feeling that you also are an American roofing company whose search has come up with 'roof' for my post. Let's click on your name conveniently supplied at the bottom of your 'comment'. Oh, what a surprise... you ARE an American company trying to fix my 'ravaged' roof. Sigh. Go away.