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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Drey's of the Common Ringtail Possum

The Drey of a Common Ringtail possum is a facinating sight and can easily be mistaken for a birds nest in a tree fork, found often only a few meters from the ground.  The Common Ringtail possum is almost exclusively a tree dewelling nocturnal creature that creates a "Drey" or a large spherical nest made from grass & shreded bark, either in a tree fork, dense vegetation or a hollow tree log in which it spends its days sleeping and often shares it's nest with several other ringtail possums.  Common Ringtail Possums will also use a nesting box if one is provided in areas where natural tree hollows are limited.

These photos of Common Ringtail Possum dreys are located on private property at Cabarlah on the Darling Downs, however there are plenty to be seen in tree forks within the nearby Highfields area also.

 Common Ringtail Possum in a man-made nesting box, Cabarlah, Queensland. 
Drey of a Common Ringtail Possum 

Drey of a Common Ringtail Possum at Cabarlah, Queensland

The Common Ringtail Possum (Pseudocheircus peregrinus) is around 350mm in body length with a tail of 340mm and weight up to 1kg.  They vary in colouration depending on their area, but in the Highfields & Cabarlah area they have brown backs with rusty red flanks, face arm and legs.  The tail has a white tip on the end which makes it easy to distinguish from other possum species for those who are unsure on possum identification.

The Common Ringtail Possum is found in areas that have thick vegetation, eucalyptus forest & woodland shrubland and suburban gardens.  They are common in the suburban area of Highfields in the older areas with trees and established gardens.  Ringtails are nocturnal and feed predominantly on leaves but also love flowers and fruit.  They breed from April to November and produce two young.  The male Common Ringtail Possum helps the female care for their young and he carries them on his back and cares for them while the female feeds.   The biggest threats to the Common Ringtail Possum are Dogs and Cats and vehicles.  

Since I have learnt more about the dreys of ringtail possums, I find myself and the children also, pointing out Common Ringtail Possum dreys all over Highfields and the Cabarlah areas, that we spot while driving everyday routes in the car.  Beautiful little animals indeed.

J.G.

(INFORMATION SOURCES:  Field Guide to Australian Mammals by Cath Jones & Steve Parish, Wildlife of Greater Brisbane by Queensland Museum, AustralianMuseum.net.au)

Common Ringtail Possum Drey - Cabarlah Qld.

This Drey created by a Common Ringtail Possum is well camouflaged among the native branches.
 
Common Ringtail Possum (Pseudocherus peregrinus) emerging from an installed nesting box, Cabarlah Qld. 



2 comments:

  1. Wonderful post, Judith. I must admit my ignorance. I have never heard of a drey before. Ringtails are superbly cute creatures though and I'm most grateful for this information. I think I have seen such things in trees before but looked at them with a puzzled face. Very important information, thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Russell, I am glad you enjoyed it. I had to put something together after I myself learning more about the dreys which was only after a wildlife expert friend pointed out some to me. I had noticed them many times before but confused them with an "unknown birds nest". We do not have the Common Ringtails at our patch at Kleinton so I found the dreys really interesting too. Thankyou, Judi.

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