The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula, from the Greek for "furry tailed" and the Latin for "little fox", previously in the genus Phalangista) is a nocturnal, semi-arboreal marsupial of the family Phalangeridae, it is native to Australia, and the second largest of the possums.
Like most possums, the common brushtail possum is nocturnal. It is mainly a folivore, but has been known to eat small mammals such as rats. In most Australian habitats, leaves of eucalyptus are a significant part of the diet but rarely the sole item eaten. The tail is prehensile and naked on its lower underside. There are four colour variations: silver-grey, brown, black, and gold.
It is the Australian marsupial most often seen by city-dwellers, as it is one of few that thrives in cities, as well as a wide range of natural and human-modified environments. Around human habitations, common brushtails are inventive and determined foragers with a liking for fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and kitchen raids.
The upper two photos are from the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne, where nesting boxes have been installed for these native animals. During the day, these nocturnal creatures snooze the day away in their boxes. We often get raids by possums in our garden at night, where they help themselves to our citrus fruits from our trees, as you can see in the third photo taken under our grapefruit tree.
The coin illustrated in the last photo is a 2013 silver non-circulating 50 cent coin issued by the Perth mint. The image on the reverse features a realistically-coloured baby possum, with big, brown eyes. It perches in the vegetation as an insect wanders by in the background. The “P” mint mark of the Perth Mint is tucked under the branch the possum sits on. In the upper right border is the legend, “Australian Possum.”
The common brushtail possum was introduced to New Zealand in 1837 to establish a fur industry, but in the mild subtropical climate of New Zealand, and with few to no natural predators, it thrived to the extent that it became a major agricultural and conservation pest.
This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.