A cold night for an orphaned Mountain Brushtail joey
Friday, July 10, 2015
On July 5th life changed dramatically for this tiny Mountain Brushtail possum. She had so far spent her entire life in the safety of her mothers warm and snug pouch. Sometime during the night her mother must have ventured onto the road and even though this particular road is in a very quiet country area, she sadly lost her life when she was hit by a car.
Unfortunately the car did not stop and as night turned into day mums pouch got very cold. As soon as Howard from the local shop saw the body, he checked to see if it was a male or female. Finding it was indeed a female he checked the pouch and gently removed the little joey from the now ice cold pouch. Howard wrapped the joey in a warm blanket, and called WIRES.
Weighing just 133 grams little Tamie was brought into care. She had no visible injuries but her body temperature was critically low and she was immediately put into intensive care.
After three days in care she was adjusting to life as an orphan, even opening her eyes having a look around at feed time. She is being fed 4 hourly around the clock and she will spend quite some time yet in a humidicrib. As you can see in the pictures her fur is just below the skin, soon it will come through and she will be able to regulate her own temperature.y removed the little joey from the now ice cold pouch. Howard wrapped the joey in a warm blanket, and called WIRES.
Mountain Brushtail possums live in hollow logs mainly found in old trees, so please think before cutting down that old tree, someone may call it home.
They also spend quite a lot of time on the ground which is why they can be in danger of being hit by cars at night.
Sexual maturity is reached at about 3 years of age and the female gives birth to normally only one young.
The first four months of a Mountain Brushtail life is spent entirely in the mothers pouch, after that time the joey will travel part time on her mothers back at night when she comes out at dusk in search of food.
Their lifespan can be as long as 17 years, possibly longer.
The diet of this species is quite varied. Their natural diet consists of foliage, flowers and insects. They are opportunistic feeders and unfortunately it is not uncommon for them to be found in large industrial garbage bins left open at night. They will venture into the bins looking for food, once in, they are unable to exit. Please check your bins if they have been left open overnight.
The search for food is also what makes them venture onto roads, in this little orphans case it is what cost her mothers life.
Little Tamie will spend many months in care, she will join other orphans in care and eventually they will all be released back to the wild where she belongs.