(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

The common ringtail possum, scientific name Pseudocheirus peregrinus, Greek for “false hand” and Latin for “pilgrim” or “alien”) is an Australian marsupial.

Common Ringtail Possum Profile

Common Ringtail Possums are primarily solitary however generally type small family teams. At night, they forage for leaves, flowers, and fruit, utilizing their tail to grip branches as they transfer.

It lives in a wide range of habitats and eats a wide range of leaves of each native and launched crop, in addition to flowers, fruits, and sap. This possum additionally consumes a particular sort of faeces that are produced through the daytime when it’s resting in a nest. This behavior is known as caecotrophy and is just like that seen in rabbits.

The major diet of the Common Ringtail Possum is eucalyptus leaves though they are going to eat different meals equivalent to fruits, flowers, and leaves of different native bushes. They are additionally identified to eat rosebuds in suburban areas. The Common Ringtail Possum is nocturnal and feeds completely at night.

The Common Ringtail Possum will be present in rainforests, woodlands, eucalypt forests, and suburban gardens. They spend a great deal of their time in bushes and have tailored properly to dwelling in suburban areas.

During the day, the Common Ringtail Possum will sleep in its soccer-ball-sized nest, known as a drey, which will probably be situated a number of meters high in dense foliage, generally with a number of different people. They have been identified to stay on roofs of homes and sheds.

The common ringtail possum is nocturnal and properly tailored to arboreal life. It depends on its prehensile tail and barely descends to the ground. They talk with delicate, high-pitched, and twittering calls.

Asleep in the daytime roost. Common ringtails normally construct nests. This one prefers the open air.

The Common Ringtail Possum is smaller than the Common Brushtail Possum with a size starting from 30-35cm from the tip of the nostril to the bottom of the tail.

The tail itself is usually about an identical size. They can weigh as much as 1kg. Common Ringtail Possums are grey-brown to red-brown in color, with a pale cream-white underbelly.

Their ears are brief and rounded with typically a patch of white behind them. Common Ringtail Possums’eyes are brown. They have very long and delicate whiskers and so they have 5 clawed toes on every foot.

The front feet have two “thumbs” to assist with climbing. The tail of the Common Ringtail Possum is prehensile that means that it could grasp objects and act as one other limb.

The final third of the tail is all the time white and the underside of the tip is hairless. This tail is often used to hold nesting supplies and to help in the steadiness

Body fur color variable, however normally grey-brown above and white beneath. Coiled tail with a white tip. Body as much as 38 cm, tail as much as 38 cm.

The breeding season for the Common Ringtail Possum is from April to November. The male and the feminine each construct the nest collectively. The nests are formed just like a soccer ball and are inbuilt dense foliage of shrubs or in clumps of mistletoe.

Common Ringtail Possums generally nest in tree hollows. From 13 months of age, the Common Ringtail Possum is sexually energetic. Gestation is 20-26 days, and one to 2 (generally three) infants are born. The younger are born hairless and in regards to the size of a jellybean.

They normally have one litter per year in Victoria. After the start, the younger will crawl to the pouch of the mom. The younger will depart the pouch after 7 weeks, and can as a substitute journey on their mother’s back till they’re weaned at about 6 months. Both parents take turns in caring for the younger.

The father will carry the younger on his back whereas the mom is feeding. The Common Ringtail Possum has massive family teams of 1 male and one or two females from the earlier breeding season that can forage and nest collectively

Common Ringtail Possum Geographic Range

Common ringtail possums are discovered alongside the eastern shoreline of Australia, Tasmania, and the southwestern nook of western Australia.

Common ringtail possums have an intensive distribution. They happen in temperate or tropical areas however are hardly ever present in drier areas.

It is believed that this broad habitat range is because of their capability to feed on various totally different plant species. They can normally be present in dense brush forests, as they favor environments that might be plentiful with eucalyptus.

The dense brush can also be optimized for the development of dreys. Along with a number of different species, the common ringtail possum occupies a range of niches similar to the area of interest of lemurs, monkeys, squirrels, and bushbabies incomparable forests on different continents.

Common Ringtail Possum Description

The common ringtail possum weighs between 550 and 1100 g and is roughly 30–35 cm long when grown (excluding the tail, which is roughly the identical size once more). It has gray or black fur with white patches behind the eyes and normally a cream-colored stomach.

It has a long prehensile tail which usually shows a particular white tip over 25% of its size. The back feet are syndactyly which helps it to climb. The ringtail possum’s molars have sharp and pointed cusps.

Common ringtail possums are the smallest of eight species of ringtail possums that stay in Australia. The adults of this species sometimes are between 30 and 35 cm in body size, with a tail size that’s roughly equal to the body size. Common ringtail possums have brown or reddish fur on the higher surfaces of the body and light-colored or grey fur on the ventral surfaces.

Common ringtail possums have massive eyes that are properly tailored to seeing at night. Two of the claws discovered on the front feet are opposable and the pads, in addition to the ideas, of the toes are grooved. They possess a powerful, however comparatively hairless, prehensile tail. This tail is carried tightly curled when not in use.

These animals will be distinguished from different possum species in a number of methods. Their ears are smaller and more rounded and so they sometimes have patches of white fur each on and above the ears. The tail of common ringtail possums has a white tip and is tapered.

Common Ringtail Possum Distribution and habitat

The common ringtail possum ranges on the east coast of Australia, in addition to Tasmania and part of southwestern Australia. They usually stay in temperate and tropical environments and are uncommon in drier environments.

Ringtail possums desire forests of dense brush, significantly eucalyptus forests. The common ringtail possum and its relations occupy a range of niches just like these of lemurs, monkeys, squirrels, and bushbabies incomparable forests on different continents. It is much less prolific and less widespread than the common brushtail possum.

Common Ringtail Possum Diet and foraging

The common ringtail possum feeds on all kinds of crops within the family Myrtaceae together with the foliage, flowers, and fruits from shrubs and decreasing cover. Some populations are additionally identified to feed on the leaves of cypress pine (Callitris), wattles (Acacia spp.), and plant gum or resins.

When foraging, ringtail possums desire younger leaves over old ones. One research discovered the emergence of younger possums from their pouches corresponds to the flowering and fruiting of the tea-tree, Leptospermum, and the height of contemporary plant growth.

Young eucalypt leaves are richer in nitrogen and have much less dense cell partitions than older leaves, nonetheless, the protein gained from them is much less out there attributable to higher quantities of tannins. When feeding, the possum’s molars slice by the leaves, slitting them into items.

The possum’s caecum separates the high-quality particles from the coarse ones. These particles keep within the caecum for as much as 70 hours the place the cell partitions and tanned cytoplasts are partially digested.

What distinguishes the digestive system of the common ringtail possum from that of the koala and the better glider is the caecal content transfers immediately back to the abdomen. Because of this, the ringtail possum is ready to achieve more protein.

This can also be completed by lagomorphs like rabbits and pikas. Hard faeces are produced through the night whereas feeding and are usually not eaten, whereas delicate faeces are produced through the day throughout rests and are eaten.

Common Ringtail Possum Nesting

Common ringtail possums stay a gregarious lifestyle that centers on their communal nests, additionally known as dreys. Ringtail possums construct nests from tree branches and infrequently use tree hollows.

A communal nest is made up of an adult feminine and an adult male, their dependant offspring, and immature offspring of the earlier year.

A bunch of ringtail possums might construct a number of dreys at totally different sites. Ringtail possums are territorial and can drive away any unusual conspecifics from their nests.

A bunch has a powerful attachment to their site. In one experiment, wherein a gaggle was far away from their territory, it remained uncolonized for the next two years.

Ringtail possum nests are typically more frequent in low scrub and fewer frequent in closely timbered areas with little under-story. Dreys contribute to the survival of the younger when they’re not carried on their mom’s back.

Other Recommended Reading

Common Ringtail Possum Behavior

There are a number of distinctive behavioral patterns exhibited by common ringtail possums. Individuals are territorial and use scented secretions to mark their territory.

Unlike many species of ringtail possum, common ringtail possums are usually not solitary. They are sometimes present in small teams. A typical group consists of 1 adult male and one or two adult females along with their offspring from the earlier breeding season.

These family groupings will be present in nests which they assemble, known as dreys. Dreys will be constructed of shredded bark, twigs, and ferns, and are normally constructed within the fork of a tree or in dense shrubbery.

They are 25 to 30 cm throughout and have an entrance gap on one aspect which is eight to 10 cm in diameter.

Common ringtail possums are most energetic at night and are properly tailored to arboreal life. They are hardly ever discovered on the ground and use their prehensile tail extensively. Common ringtail possums use vocalizations as a method of communication. The calls of this species are usually described as delicate, high-pitched, and twittering.

Common ringtail possums can stay for as much as 6 years within the wild, however sometimes don’t survive past three years of age. Half of the offspring is not going to survive even one year after the start.

One motive for such a brief life expectancy is due to predation. In some Australian areas, the place the ringtail is discovered close to suburban populations, looking by cats is an issue for the common ringtail. Once a possum suffers a chunk from a cat it’s extremely unlikely that it’ll survive, whatever the severity of the chunk.

Common Ringtail Possum Food Habits

Common ringtail possums are nocturnal and primarily folivorous. They feed primarily on eucalyptus leaves, however can also eat flowers, buds, nectar, and fruit.

Part of the common ringtail possum’s caecum is ready to detoxify the tannins and phenols which might be present in eucalyptus leaves, making them able to make the most of this meal source.

A low metabolic charge helps to compensate for the low energy consumption of common ringtail possums attributable to their specialized diet. Feeding happens each through the first half of the night and, once more, before daybreak.

Common ringtail possums desire to consume the youngest foliage of the crops they devour. This results in reproductive patterns because the younger depart the pouch and are weaned throughout instances when flowering and fruit growth peaks.

Common Ringtail Possum Reproduction and growth

As a marsupial, the common ringtail possum carries its younger in a pouch, the place it develops. Depending on the realm, the mating season can happen anyplace between April and December.

The majority of the younger are born between May and July. The estrous cycle of ringtail possum lasts 28 days. It is each polyoestrous and polyovular.

If a feminine prematurely loses her litter, she will return to estrous and produce a second litter in October as an alternative if circumstances are right. The average litter is 2, though there are very sometimes triplets.

Common ringtail possum younger are likely to develop comparatively slowly attributable to dilute milk with low lipid ranges that’s supplied to the younger. As with different marsupials, the common ringtail possum’s milk adjustments by lactation.

During the second section of lactation, more strong meals are eaten, particularly when the younger first emerges from the pouch. During this time, the focus of carbohydrates falls, whereas these proteins and lipids attain their highest.

The long lactation of the ringtail possums might give the younger more time to study skills within the communal nest in addition to climbing and forage within the bushes.

The younger is first in a position to vocalize and open their eyes between 90 and 106 days of age. They depart their mom’s pouch at 120–130 days.

However, lactation normally continues till 180–220 days after start however generally ends by 145 days. Both sexes turn out to be sexually mature within the first mating season after their start.


During the 1950’s common ringtail possum populations severely declined in numbers. Currently, populations appear to have recovered.

Deforestation in Australia has resulted in a lack of habitat for common ringtail possums, as a result of they’re nearly completely arboreal. In suburban areas, they’re weak to being struck by automobiles, or hunted by cats and dogs.

Other Recommended Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *