Trichosurus vulpecular
A Common Brushtail Possum is pictured hanging upside down on a leaf-less tree branch by its tail and front and back claws. The picture is taken at night and its black eyes are illuminated. Its grey brown body also features yellowish hands and feet and a pinkish nose and feet. The black tip of its tail is just visible as it curls around a tree branch. Image: Dick Whitford
Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    vulpecula
    Genus
    Trichosurus
    Family
    Phalangeridae
    Order
    Diprotodontia
    Subclass
    Marsupialia
    Class
    Mammalia
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Mammalia
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    55 cm

Introduction

The Common Brushtail Possum is probably the best known of the possums in Sydney because it has adapted to urban living and often comes into contact with people.

Habitat

Common Brushtail Possums live in urban areas, forests and woodlands and heath.

Distribution

Common Brushtail Possums are found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and Northern Territory. Also found in New Zealand.



Feeding and diet

In the wild, the Common Brushtail Possum's diet consists of leaves, blossoms and fruits, but in suburbia it will eat almost anything.

Other behaviours and adaptations

The Common Brushtail Possum is nocturnal and, during the day, retreats to a hollow log, branch, tree trunk or any dark area, even inside house roofs.

Communication

The Common Brushtail Possum is a social animal and remains in contact with its group through sounds and scents. At times, particularly during the breeding season, it makes piercing screeches in the middle of the night to establish territories and warn of danger.

Economic impacts

The Common Brushtail Possum was introduced to New Zealand in the 1830s where it has now become a pest species.In Australia, it is a protected species.

Predators

The Common Brushtail Possum's main predators include Dingoes, pythons, foxes and cats.