wild doings in the dark

Artworks, taxidermy specimens from the Melbourne Museum -  all part of a wonderful exhibition called Crepuscular*,  about nocturnal wildlife in the city of Melbourne.  The word Crepuscular, an adjective, has two dictionary meanings: 1. resembling twilight  2. the insects, birds and other other animals active at dawn and dusk. 
We know there is terrible loss of habitat and biodiversity, but when daylight fades native and introduced animals emerge from their hiding places to forage for food in parks, laneways and gardens.

The recent drought has persuaded several Powerful Owls (Ninox strenua) to migrate to the city from their traditional home in the forest.  In the city 'they discovered parklands overpopulated with game. Swooping on broad silent wings, owls effortlessly pick off and consume preoccupied possums.'
Here's how John Kean, creator of the exhibition, describes the Brushtail Possum ( Trichosurus vulpecula): 'Look up into the forks of the large trees in Carlton Gardens and you are more than likely to see a soft ball of fur curled and asleep and waiting for the moment when the sun dips over the Yarra. As the sky darkens, possums descend head first, and go in search of the remnants of commuters' lunches.'

Back in my garden ... the day before I visited the exhibition Greg cut back the Pittosoporum hedge that had grown so tall it was shading the garden and house.  Who did he inadvertently disturb sleeping in a cosy nest?  This cute little Ringtail Possum.

* Crepuscular, City Gallery, Melbourne Town Hall, finishes July 12.


  1. Cute! I bet the possum and Greg both got a fright.

  2. Hey you are right. During dry weather (no rain), I see wild squirrels in my garden more often. They look for food and of course water.

  3. What a lovely possum, always wondered what they looked like. What did Greg do, carry on or leave it in peace ? Hope it was the latter.

  4. Dearest Catmint,

    Great photo of that ringtail possum. It is a lot cuter than the ordinary possum we have here!
    In regard to your comment: It seems ironic that the Dutch supported American independence while keeping the West Indies as their colony?
    Not ironic as the Dutch were the first that colonized the USA and the British took over after the Second Anglo Dutch War in 1664. http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/kingston/colonization.htm
    Have a great new week and lots of love,


  5. Is that paw prints in one of the photos?No opossum or marsupial at the moment in our garden but we do have rodents.

  6. I still say y'all got lucky when it comes to possums and the cuteness factor! And what an amazing coincidence! I'm about to do a post on a nocturnal mammal.

  7. The owl is frightening. Poor possum that sees something like hat coming at him. Your possum is cute!

  8. Dear Tina, the possum got more of a fright than Greg I think, being fast asleep at the time.

    Dear Steph, it must be awful for wildlife when their habitat deteriorates

    Dear Pauline, Greg waited until it found another nest then continued cutting. They're pretty tough survivors.

    Hi Mariette, I think I knew that bit of American history and forgot - interesting ...

    Dear Diana, I was a bit lazy not putting captions to the photos. The rat in the photo is called rakali, a native water rat, they also had the introduced black rat as part of the exhibition. Do the rodents eat your veggies?

    Hi NSAR, We are lucky possums are cute but many people hate them. A nice coincidence, I'll check out your post.

    Dear Deb, it's a tough wild world out there isn't it? If they were'nt protected animals we'd probably be eating possum pie.

    Cheers, catmint

  9. How great you have a possum in your garden. This year I have a family of chipmunks! Very neat exhibit, too. I love to stand my garden at dusk as long as I can before the mosquitos become unbearable. The lightening bugs begin flashing, the bats start swooping ... it is a magical time.

  10. Hi TVF, twilight is really a magical time in a garden that has wildlife. I know chipmonks from childhood cartoon and music, never seen them in real life.

  11. I adore your little possum! He will hopefully eat his weight in garden pests for you for many seasons to come!

  12. dear Cathy and steve, thanks for the visit and comment. Possums are vegetarians, so they eat veggie leftovers from the compost heap and leaves. They particularly like feijoa trees and strip them of their leaves but the trees are deciduous and don't seem to mind. cheers, catmint


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