Winning a wild animal’s trust? Priceless…
I don’t have any domestic pets any more. No cats, no dogs and while that makes me poorer in some ways, in other ways I’m richer because the local wildlife comes to visit. We get lots of birds coming in – lorikeets, kookaburras, butcher birds, ibises, noisy miner birds, pee wees, various honey eaters – the list goes on. We’ve also tried to provide nesting sites for the birds and bats. One reason is that there is so much competition for the available sites. We were also forced to take down a few trees damaged in storms and they tend to leave the little animals homeless, too.
The upshot of all that is that we have at least three possums in our one acre yard. That’s the beast at top left, a marsupial that forages at night and lives in tree hollows. We’ve found the nest boxes we put up for parrots have been appropriated by the possums. We also found they like fruit like mandarins and mangoes (both grown in our yard) and a piece of bread with peanut butter. I go outside after sunset most evenings to see them come out. They’ve become quite accustomed to us, although still a little wary. Until last evening.
I went outside with a glass of wine and startled our oldest resident. She hurtled past me back to the palm tree where she has her home in a nest box. She stopped at the base of the tree and looked back at me while I said soothing words like ‘don’t be silly, it’s just me’. She sat up on her haunches and gazed at me for a few moments, then she walked back to where I was standing, a matter of ten metres (yards) or so. She put one front paw on my jeans, then (taking her time) sniffed both legs thoroughly, as though imprinting my scent. Then she went back to her tree. That’s very likely her in the pictures.
Wow. Just wow.
** you NZ lot, I know they’re pests in NZ, but they belong here.
*** you Victorian lot, they’re not like the gangstas in Fitzroy Gardens, so no knocking my possums.