Poe knows a lot about trees and how to climb them. She has also been given the title of official fire chief. Any open flame is fair game to Poe who takes her mandate just a little too seriously.
But then fire is not something that you want to mess with and neither is Poe the possum.
Poe’s initial weeks as the fire chief were taken up with driving lessons. Having to get around in the treetops is no real training for how to drive a truck. Poe applied herself however and gained her Heavy rigid class driving licence which enabled her to drive the fire truck legally, if not well.
The final speed hump on the way to Fire Chief status was the curious fact of Poe’s nocturnal lifestyle. Poe had lived a life where she awoke at sunset and set about her noisy and many tasks late into the night with no real thought to the rest of her neighbours who were trying to sleep. Being a Fire Chief would involve some nighttime work but mostly it was a day time gig. So Poe had to reset her natural body rhythms to let her wake during the day and sleep at night. The three weeks of adjustment, which were much like a bad case of jetlag, coincided with her 3 week driving course; a baptism of fire in anyone’s book.
The ringtail possum, along with the common brushtail possum, is a familiar face in Australian backyards. About the size of a large rabbit, they are smaller than brushtail possums and distinguished by their long, white-tipped tails. When they’re not using their prehensile tail to hold onto things, they often carry it curled in a coil, hence the name ringtail. Their fur is light grey with reddish brown tinges, they have a white patch behind the eyes and ears and lighter coloured underbellies. These nocturnal marsupials are arboreal (tree-dwelling) and are very active at night when they forage for food, groom, socialise and jump between branches. During the day family groups retire to spherical nests, about the size of a football, to sleep. The nests are called dreys and they’re made of leaves, grass, twigs, moss and bark, although sometimes tree hollows are also used. When making their nests, the males and females carry building materials with their tails. The possums also have two thumbs on their front feet, which helps them climb.
Diet: Leaves, especially eucalypts, flowers, nectar and fruit. During the day, the ringtail possum produces faecal pellets, which it then eats. These contain important microorganisms that help the possum digest its food.
See more at: The Australian Reptile Park