In pre white settlement times they inhabited eucalypt forests, and were an important source of food and skins for indigenous people. Now they survive well in such forests and thrive in suburbs and farmlands. In the daytime they sleep in dens or ‘nests’ in tree hollows or buildings, each den housing a single possum or a mother and baby.
At night they feed on the young shoots, fruits and flowers of eucalypts, acacias, garden plants, eggs and food scraps. Usually one baby is born, remaining in the pouch for five months, then riding on the mother’s back for another four. Some nights they are very noisy, squealing and hissing while mating or fighting, or sitting on a branch uttering a mixture of growls, grunts, hisses and screams.
Illustration: Mark Trinham