The Rainforest Journal: Outing #16 – Day 2

(Monday 15-December-2014)

@5:39pm

Alright so although today was slow, last night we had ourselves the most epic Possum visit yet. It didn’t start until around 11:00pm, where upon the baby – the Possum set as my facebook profile pic – announced his arrival with a gentle pawing of the tent.

Some of these shots are fuzzy, but I refuse to blind him with a flash anymore so these are lit only by the red LEDs on my head-torch.

Some of these shots are fuzzy, but I refuse to blind him with a flash anymore so these are lit only by the red LEDs on my head-torch.

I quickly moved to open the tent door and a few moments later he sneaks carefully around to just outside the door, stands on his back legs and starts pawing at the tent a bit more. He pretty much completely ignored the half a tomato I’d left out there for him, and so began our late dinner together.

Grabbing my hand to steady it while he eats.

Grabbing my hand to steady it while he eats.

For well over an hour, we shared fluffy fresh bread, flat bread gingerbread buttons, dried cranberries and breakfast buiscuts together: I’d hand him a bit, then eat some myself. Sometimes I’d have a bite of a cookie then hand him the rest, while other times he’d have a munch on something I’d hold onto and then I’d finish it off. That’s right; we have eaten each others spit, in albeit small quantities. All part of the sharing.

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All the food he ate was hand-fed to him, and every so often he’d wonder-off a few meters looking for other scraps, but as soon as I held more food out for him and made the “t-t-t” sound he’d hurry back to take it from me, then sit there and eat it right where he was.

I noticed a few things too – while watching him eat. Firstly, he never takes more food until he’s completely finished what’s in his hand: several times I’d try to give him some different food before he was finished what he was eating and he just didn’t pay any attention to it – too fixated on the bit he had already. Even changing to food I knew he liked better didn’t do it; he has this very endearing, un-greedy need to finish what he’s got before taking more.

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Several times as I was handing food to him he grabbed my finger – rather gently I have to say, though the pointy claws where obvious – but as gentle as he was about it, knowing my fingers smell like sticky dried fruit, tomato, buiscuts and bread made me a little “hmmm” each time he’d grab-on. But fangs and claws aside, I tried several times to pat his back. Every time I’d reach out to stroke his fur though – and in a move reminiscent of the various Cockatoo I’ve tried to pat – he would quickly move his mouth to meet my hand; regardless how distracted by the food he seemed to be, he wasn’t quite that distracted.

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I also saw that several times – when something else was approaching the camp – he’d stop chewing, stand on hind legs (just like Meer Cats do), then start flicking his tail back and forwards on the ground. The tail-flicking was exactly what you see a House Cat do when it’s starting to get pissed-off, but the Possum was standing upright while doing it and created a whumping noise that I could certainly hear.

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I’d assume there was another Possum in the vicinity and it wouldn’t have been more than half an hour after the Bubba left for the night I heard another animal or there smacking it’s lips noisily, like only the Possums do. It had to be a different Possum though, because as soon as I shifted to sit up it bolted, and the animal I had the late dinner with its no where near that skittish. In fact of the Possums who have come this far, this little one is the only one of its kind that doesn’t seem bothered by any of the movements or noises I make.

I remember back a few months ago I was putting pasta out every night for a Possum so timid, I never got a chance to lay eyes on him, took me weeks just sitting there – tent door open, mosquitoes attacking me – waiting for him to sneak up to the tent so I could snap a photo or two.

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So a younger Possum who not only isn’t timid but grabs hold of my finger to keep my hand still so he can eat what’s in it is like, a breaking exclusive in Marsupial News and a nice change.

The only slight grievance I could say I have is the irregular time of visits. Sometimes it’ll be 9:00pm, other times midnight. Generally, when I don’t hear any Marsupial crunching outside until midnight I simply go to sleep and even then they can still visit all night until just before dawn.

After the second Possum came last night, I awoke this morning to find the tomato gone but was it Rats or a Possum? Maybe some other furred animal I simply haven’t met yet? Who knows?

@9:11pm

A previously taken flash-photo of the same Possum. Like I said the red lights don't hurt their eyes, and that's what I use when I'm not taking photos anyhoo, so that's how I see him most of the time.

A previously taken flash-photo of the same Possum, for reference. Like I said the red lights don’t hurt their eyes, and that’s what I use when I’m not taking photos anyhoo, so that’s how I see him most of the time.

So although I haven’t patted him yet I’ll keep trying. When he no longer moves his mouth to intercept my hand I’ll assume he’s cool. Tonights culinary main event – outside the usual crackers, buiscuts and dried fruit – is half a fresh banana. I’ll hand feed it to him first, assuming he comes before midnight, so he doesn’t fill-up on junk before-hand, and ignore it.

The Rainforest Journal: Outing #16 – Day 2
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Jason
Animal-loving cleaner with a parrot.

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