Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A Sad Situation

This little Striped Possum, Dactylopsila trivirgata, is a real cutie. It comes to the bird feeder night after night and enjoys hoeing into a couple of cut oranges. They are normally consider to be insectivorous but feed on fruit and leaves as opportunities arise.
But a closer look reveals something disturbing.
A closer look reveals that this little guy is missing his left eye and his ear is damaged as well. What could be the cause? Not a snake attack and surely not an attack from an owl. The owl would have won. Possums fight a lot amongst one another but I would doubt that a fight would cause such a seemingly debilitating injury. My friend Peter Shanahan feels this little possum was the victim of an attack from a feral cat. Seems logical.

Even with the loss of one eye, it is remarkable that the possum can make accurate jumps from tree to feeding tray and to the rather thin trunk of a tree fern without mishap. He seems to have compensated for the lack of perception caused by the loss of the eye quite nicely.


Snail said...

Those oranges probably make its life a little easier.

It's amazing how some individuals can compensate for such losses. An old pademelon here lost the sight in one eye but still managed to do all right for herself. I guess it's a bit easier for paddies because they don't have to deal with trees. (Other than not bumping into them!)

Mr. Smiley said...

Thanks snail. Always something new to learn.

Patricia K. Lichen said...

I wonder if it bobs or moves its head around to reconnoiter distances accurately.

So likely a feral cat--do people drop off housecats they no longer want near the rainforest (like i know they they do in the country/near farms)?

Mr. Smiley said...

Well Pat

People do leave off unwanted pets in the rainforest. We have had peacocks, roosters and the like show up here.Cats and dogs, believe it or not, are often dumped in the rainforest. They often go feral and cause great problems to the native wildlife. It's a pity but, unfortunately true.

Camera Trap Codger said...

Well, he's a veteran of some misadventure, and you will always know it's "your possum".