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                Common Ringtail Possum

                Common Ringtail Possum

                Common ring-tail possum

                Kingdom
                Phylum
                Subphylum
                Class
                Infraclass
                Subfamily
                SPECIES
                Pseudocheirus peregrinus
                Life Span
                5-8 years
                WEIGHT
                550 - 1100 g
                HEIGHT
                30–35 cm
                LENGTH
                30–35 cm

                About the same size as a cat, the common ringtail possum is gray, with orange-brown tinges on its legs and tail, and white patches on its belly and behind the eyes, and a white tip to its tail. It uses its long prehensile tail as a fifth limb to enable it to climb and jump from branch to branch and between fences and powerlines. The gap between its second and third fingers on its forefeet means that it can hold onto branches securely.

                Distribution

                Common ringtail possums are to be found along Australia’s eastern coastline, Western Australia’s southwestern corner and in Tasmania. They live in tropical or temperate areas, rarely in drier areas, usually in dense brush forests which are plentiful with eucalyptus.

                Common Ringtail Possum habitat map

                Geography

                Continents
                Countries

                Climate zones

                Habits and Lifestyle

                Ringtail possums are territorial, marking their territory with scented secretions. The common ringtail possum is not solitary, unlike many other species of ringtail possum, and usually forms small groups, typically of one adult male with one to two adult females and their offspring from the last breeding season. Such family groups live in nests which they build, called dreys. These possums are nocturnal, so are most active during the night. They are well adapted to living in trees and are not often found on the ground. Common ringtail possums communicate by means of vocalizations.

                Lifestyle

                Diet and Nutrition

                The common ringtail possum eats leaves of a variety of both introduced and native plants, and also fruits and flowers. It eats its own fecal pellets, thereby digesting its food twice and extracting the maximum nutritional value.

                Mating Habits

                MATING BEHAVIOR
                REPRODUCTION SEASON
                April-December
                PREGNANCY DURATION
                4 months
                BABY CARRYING
                1-4, usually 2 babies
                INDEPENDENT AGE
                6 months
                BABY NAME
                Joey

                Common ringtail possums, being monogamous, remain with one partner only. Both male and female build their drey together and will readily move to another one, along with their young. Breeding occurs from April to December. Males and females are both sexually mature by the mating season following their birth. Gestation lasts about 4 months and they usually have one or two litters each year, usually 2 babies, although 1 to 4 have been recorded. The newborn babies crawl into their mother’s pouch and stay attached to a nipple from 42 to 49 days, remaining in the pouch for another 4 months or so. Once they leave the pouch, they cling to their mother's back or stay in the nest until weaning occurs at about 6 months. Both parents often care for the young, the father carrying them around while the mother feeds.

                Population

                Population threats

                These animals have suffered loss of habitat from deforestation, due to the fact that they are almost exclusively arboreal. In built-up areas they are in danger of being struck by cars, and hunted by cats and dogs.

                Population number

                The common ringtail possum numbers have not been calculated, but populations seem to be stable and they are not threatened.

                References

                1. Common Ringtail Possum Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_ringtail_possum
                2. Common Ringtail Possum on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/40581/0

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