Monday, June 18, 2007

Where the wild things are

In our house mainly. Of course, we have the usual geckos living behind the picture frames. They chase each other across the walls and squabble on the ceiling but for the most part are no bother at all. Except for the odd occasion when one falls off the ceiling and onto one of us or, with a loud splat, onto the floor. They sprawl there for a moment or two with a stunned look on their faces, then scuttle off under the settees.

Lately though, it's like our place is a wildlife hotel. It began back in 2004, when Smithy and I came home after a two month trip to Nepal and found a ringtailed possum had taken up residence in the dining room window. We have wooden lattices on the outside of the windows and there's a six inch gap between the glass and the lattice. Apparently, just the right amount of room for one little male ringtail! He spent most of the summer there - going out foraging at nighttime and sleeping through the day. Course, days were really hot, so he would lick his balls and paws in an attempt to keep cool and lay sprawled on his back to catch the passing breeze! Eventually, he left and we were able to open the window again.

Then the brushtailed possums moved into the roof. Climbed up under the eaves and broke their way in. Noisy buggers, those brushtails. They'd scamper across the roof and you'd swear they had hobnailed boots on! Their favourite game was to jump from the cassia in the back garden onto the roof, race each other up and over and leap into the gum tree out the front.

Last year, we went away for three months to Tibet and Nepal (read my other blog for an account of our adventures). When we got back we found that another ringtailed possum had moved into our window - this time with twin babies! They lived there for about two months, making themselves ever so comfortable with bedding from twigs and leaves. Then Mum left the kids to their own devices. About a month later they stopped coming by, but not before Mum came back with a tiny baby in her pouch!

They've all gone now, but every now and again a couple of them will visit during the night. Perched on top of the lattice frame, they'll sit there and snack on the leaves of some shrubs before disappearing into the night.

Then, just last week, Smithy and I were tucked up in bed watching telly when we heard footsteps in the house and a brushtail came to the bedroom door! It had walked the length of the house to get there from the back deck. Cheeky little blighter!

Ringtailed possum and her twin babies