Animals In Care
Mountain Brushtail Possum
These two Mountain Brushtail Possum joeys - Bruce and Pocket - are being handraised by TVWC carer Tenielle. They came into care, cold and crying out for their mums, after being left to die in the pouch of their dead mothers who had been hit by cars, in two separate accidents. Unfortunately, the perpetrators did not bother to stop to check the possums they had hit. Fortunately, other members of the public did and called the TVWC hotline.
The Mountain Brushtail Possum is a large, dark grey to black possum, found in a limited number of areas in NSW, but is the most common possum in the Northern Rivers region.
Although males are solitary creatures, you will often find a female Mountain Brushtail with her female offspring, often as large as mum herself. The two or three females coexisting are sometimes mistakenly considered to be mum, dad and baby, but this is not so.
They most often come into care as orphaned joeys when their mothers have been hit by cars, like Bruce and Pocket; after dog attacks; or with a disease called Stress Dermatitis.
Caring for a Mountain Brushtail Possum is a time-consuming task. Marsupial joeys, unlike placental babies, are developing in their mum's pouch and, when orphaned, carers must try to emulate this environment. Three-hourly feeds around the clock, providing specialist milk formulas and a thermostatically-controlled warm environment, around 30oC, are some of their needs.
When the joeys start getting fur, a small cage is required, and carers must start introducing them to their native foods. As they grow, they are weaned off their milk formula, and rely more on native vegetation. A large aviary is a must for a growing possum, getting ready for the wild.
Carers must ensure that the animals are not humanised, especially with the Mountain Brushtails, which love to be in contact with their carer - in the wild they would stay with their mother for many months.
Pairing up joey Mountain Brushtails is one way of giving them the company they desire, without humanising them. Their eventual release will be a soft, planned release, with their gradual introduction to the wild, being support feed as they become familiar with their surroundings and new home.
Bruce and Pocket will be in care for about six months in total during which time their carer will ensure all of their changing needs are met. The carer cannot just go away whenever they wish, must organise their lives around the care of the animal, ensure appropriate housing for different stages, collect correct native vegetation, supply correct milk formulas, and all of the equipment required for its rehabilitation. Such cages and equipment cost carers hundreds of dollars, on top of the food costs, not to mention daily collections of vegetation.
Help us help Bruce and Pocket, and other joeys like them. Donate now!