Common Brushtail Possum

A Common Brushtail Possum sitting on the trunk of tree
A young dark phase Common Brushtail Possum feeding on leaves in a tree

Dark phase 

Golden Phase Brush-tailed Possum hanging upside down from a tree branch with leaf litter below

Golden phase

Scientific Name: Trichosurus vulpecula

Size: 600-950 mm TL, including tail 250-400mm

What does it look like?

The Common Brushtail Possum is usually silvery-grey above and pale grey or white below, but occasionally entirely blackish or rich orange. Males have dark orange wash on chest from scent marking. Tail prehensile and normally bushy, but can be lightly haired, tapering towards tip, with a section of naked skin on underside.

Where is it found?

Western and south-western WA, northern NT, eastern Qld, eastern and southern NSW, Vic, Tas and south-eastern SA; on near coastal islands, with suitable habitat, throughout range.

What are its habitats & habits?

The Common Brushtail Possum inhabits varying wooded habitats throughout range, with large tree hollows for shelter, but will also shelter in roof spaces and sheds in nearby suburban dwellings and occasionally in underground burrows. Nocturnal and mostly arboreal, feeding on a range of plant material, including leaves, fruits and flowers, but will also feed on human food scraps and both invertebrates and vertebrates, including birds.

Interesting facts

Introduced to New Zealand.

Also known as: Common Brush-tailed Possum; Northern Brushtail Possum; Brushtail Possum; Silvery-grey Possum; Koomal

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A Naturalist's Guide to the Mammals of Australia front cover

This species features in my book A Naturalist’s Guide to the Mammals of Australia

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