Animal Stories - Common Ringtail Possum

Animal-World Information about: Common Ringtail Possum

   The Ringtail Possum, often called just the 'Ringtail', got its name from its curled tail.
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Michelle Curtain - 2016-04-13
Possums are protected in australia under the wildlife act of 1975. They are not to be kept as pets. This website needs to correct this grossly inaccurate information. Registered wildlife carers can keep and care for these animlas until such time as they can be released back into the wild. Possums are not pets

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  • Clarice Brough - 2016-04-17
    Yes, let me add a quick correction. The Common Ringtail Possum was included under the Wildlife Act 1975 as a 'basic animal' after being assessed in June of 2008, as Least Concern (LC) by IUCN. Currently, in some states such as Victoria, trapped possums may be taken to registered veterinarians for euthanasia. In South Australia, however, they are fully protected and the appropriate permit or license is required for trapping possums in human residences or for 'keeping or rescuing' sick or injured wild possums and other native animals.
  • Anonymous - 2022-06-16
    Possums are also territorial therefore you cannot release them into the wild of you don’t know where they came from otherwise they will be attacked and killed by others. The other alternative is to pts which isn’t nice.
Anonymous - 2020-09-26
For all the people out there who think it’s wrong to keep a ringtail possum as a pet....
Not every animal wants to be flourishing in the wild anymore that people have destroyed. So it’s illegal to keep a baby Joey you have raised since abandoned young, but it’s not illegal to hunt kill and eat kangaroos? also a Australian animal. Wow...
Law or not do the right thing by the animal and it is their choice.

Bev Landy - 2013-02-07
I am very upset that your site infers that Ringtail Possums are pets in Australia. I am Australian, and I am sure that only animal rescue people can keep one in captivity, and then only until it is well enough to return to the wild. They are a protected species in Australia, not a pet.

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  • Anonymous - 2013-02-08
    Thanks for sharing your concern. This article was actually mostly written by an Australian who's profession is a Vet Nurse. She sent the pictures as well. And lucky for us... she's advised us on a number of other small animals as well.

    Just the same, I've looked into this. Although they are can be found in some protected wildlife areas, and in someplaces they are protected from being hunted or poisoned, I could find absolutely no indication that they are a protected species.

    Also, on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, they are listed as Least Concern (LC), with the following quote, 'Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, occurrence in a number of protected areas, lack of major threats, and because its population is not in decline.'

    I truly believe the very compassionate people who accept the immense responsibility for these fine animals, are equally competent, and diligent in abiding by any requirements pertaining to these animals.
  • Eve Kelly - 2015-03-15
    As a registered wildlife carer in Australia, I know for a fact that ringtail possums are not allowed to be kept as pets. You need a permit from DEPI to keep one in rehabilitation, this includes babies. Once the orphan has been raised it MUST be released back into the wild where it was found. I'm sorry but your 'vet nurse source' may be well intentioned but she doesn't have a clue about the regulations. Ringtails need constant care. As babies they need to be kept at a particular temperature, which mimics the mothers pouch and fed on specific formula, not goats milk. They are better kept in a group with other babies. Not being informed about their husbandry and medical care will result in a malnourished, humanised possum, which is not on!
  • Katie Rantall - 2016-04-13
    As a wildlife carer and a vet nurse I know for a fact that our Australian Wildlife are protected by our laws and it is against the law to keep a Ringtail as a pet in all of our states. If somebody wants to care for a ringtail then they must be trained by another professional and mentored before caring for injured or abandoned wildlife. You must also obtain a permit from DEPI if you want to keep a wild animal as a pet. I would like to know the name of this 'vet nurse' that is featured in your story. The one that believes her 'Monkey Boy' is too spoilt to be released. She is breaking the law and needs to be educated on our rules and regulations with our precious wildlife.
  • Clarice Brough - 2016-04-17
    To add some perspective here, there's a couple of things I'd like to share. The Common Ringtail Possum was assessed as Least Concern (LC) only as recently as June of 2008 by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Also, these animals have a lifespan of about 10 to 12 years. Once this speces was included on the IUCN list, it was then included under the  Wildlife Act 1975 as a 'basic animal.' In South Australia, they are fully protected and the appropriate permit or license is required for... 'trapping' possums in human residences or for 'keeping or rescuing' sick or injured wild possums and other native animals.

    When the Vet Nurse provided the pictures and information in this article, it was a few years before the animal was even assessed for inclusion on the IUCN list. As a responsible professional, I'm sure she is very knowledgeable and continues to be very dedicated to working within the requirements of all animal regulations. Also, due to the lifespan of this species, I'm guessing 'Rocky Boy' is no longer with her, but we can still enjoy what she shared about him.
Michele Phillips - 2016-04-13
It is cruel and irresponsible having ringtail possums as pets, they are wild animals and should be treated as such. They are a social animal and need other possums with them.  If you genuinely care about possums let them live free as they were born to do

Louise - 2011-12-23
Ringtail Possums are not pets. They are wild animals and should be left to flourish in the wild. If you find a sick or injured possum please get it to a registered wildlife carer or vet asap as these animals need special care with an aim to release all animals. Please do the right thing by these animals and don't keep them confined in a cage, they should be free

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  • Lola - 2012-12-10
     Ringtail possums are protected species in Australia, and it's illegal to interfere with them in any way whatsoever ie. no trapping, and no keeping, despite the fact they can be pests in your garden. They easily destroy any roses you keep, and have a strategy of destroying (and ultimately killing) one tree at a time. Like all marsupials, they have very small brains, and while they're good at what they do (climb), they are not intelligent animals like dogs and they can in no way be trained as pets. As for house-training, forget it - they just don't understand and will wee and drop constantly wherever they are (including on you). When picked up, they generally ignore you apart from scratching you with very sharp claws when handled. In summary, they do not make good pets whatsoever. They're like opossums, but a bit more primitive and certainly less intelligent than a rat or mouse. You can get a wildlife permit if you have a very good reason to keep one, but this is expensive and only given if the animal has no alternative - having one as a pet is almost unheard of. In summary, they are protected native animals, and should be left to their natural environments, which if you're lucky, may include your garden. They are social animals and MUST be kept as a family group together, which effectively means you can't have 'one' as a pet. Lastly, anyone from Belize who tells you they've got them is a scammer - this kind of third world possum scam is very common.
Aimie Cribbin - 2013-03-10
Just so you know, it is ILLEGAL to keep a ringtail possum as a pet in Australia!! It is in fact ILLEGAL to keep any Australian wildlife as a pet without a permit, and a ringtail possum is CERTAINLY included in this. If you have a possum, you MUST have a carers permit for it issued by the government

Marita - 2013-02-20
Thank you all for your contributions. I have just rescued an infant ringtail from the slow torture by three crows. Its little body is no more than 5 cm and its eyes must have only just opened as they are still cloudy. Actually, the ringtail, the size of a mouse leapt towards me and ran into the folds of my skirt. I fear a wildlife service would put it down as it is so tiny and has been pecked at by sharp beaks.(No limbs gone or blood on fur). Yet, this little guy rolled up and went to sleep in my skirt. Following all your comments I will feed it some diluted goat's milk tonight and see how it fares. Will take it to a wildlife service but so close to its trauma will give it some peace temporarily. Any advice would be welcome.

Julian Rogers - 2012-05-17
If you find a small ringtail possum small i mean around 2 to 2 and a half inches long and weighing around 30 grammes,firstly and most important keep it warm dont just wrap it up get a hot water bottle or something that gives of constant heat over time and im sure i dont need to say not to hot.Books give out all sort of exact temperatures and so on but when it comes down to it you have to use your common sense and make sure that the joey cant get in direct contact with the heat source and at the same time it has to give the heat the joey needs,i tend to wrap the bottle at least twice in a blanket.Also get to know your eating habits of your Possum as they all eat diferently,you need Di vetelact powder 60 grammes of warm water and one scoop of powder,i have had sucess with goats milk but please do not try this as it is not 100% tested but i have had good results.No other types of milk should be given to very young Possums,i only did the goats milk as a last resort and whether it was the milk of the pure determination to live that worked, but the extremley young joey came through and was later

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  • steve carey - 2012-06-08
    Hi Brendan, My wife is a wildlife career but she is a bit new to looking after ringtails. We are particularly interested in specific foods to feed them. Meggie is just over 500g and she will be released in a few months when it warms up here in SE Qld. The other two are about 250g each. Tanya is feeding with the Divetelac stuff not worries. Although the younger ones can be a fit finiky at times. She's only had them for about 1 month and goes out and gets the red shoots off Lily Pillies as well as some bottle brush flowers. However, we are finding these harder to get now. We want to know what else we can give. Eg, can we give them any eucalyptus leaves? or does it have to be specific types. Also, Tanya says that there is conflicting info regarding feeding them fruit. She says that Australia Zoo say no to fruit, and other groups say ok to some fruit if they're over 500g. Can you advise please. Thanks, Steve C
Julian Rogers - 2012-05-17
Hi All. Ringtails and Brushtails can live together, SHOCKED YOU MIGHT THINK. All types of Possums need not only the right food to eat, i.e. leaves, flowers, shoots, etc. They also need the right trees to nest in, in the right area plentful with native gums and varied flowing trees. Both types can and do live quite close, this does not mean they get on. All this means is there are enough trees of differant types and plants in abundance for both to live. This is rare because we are invading on their environment, not the other way. And because of that they then invade our space, which WE HAVE TAKEN FROM THEM. As far as I'm concerned, not enough study has been done in Ringtails, especially as they first vary in colour. So on that basis there is a diffence. Now what you might find is that you have grey ringtails and if you tried to release a ginger Possum (thats my name for them ) into that envioroment. then that's when possibly you will get problems. Anyway, I could go on and on. If you need help then please email me. I have hand reared Possums of around 30 grammes and upwards, and know them and their needs, and THEY ARE NOT PETS.

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  • candy - 2012-11-20
    Hi. I found a possum on the neighbours step. They came and got me to grab it. I've looked after baby possums before. I've looked on the net on for what to feed it, it looked about 7 months. I think its mum lives in their roof and it fell off her back. I rang wire and they said to let it go up a tree at night. We kept it the first night and feed it up. Last nght put it outside in a cage so the mum could can to it, then I'll let it go. The baby is suppose to be on mums back learning until the 10th month. I don't won't to let it go if mum won't take it, and it ends up on someone else lawn.and dies. Please help. I'll ring you if better, but please email me asap. I won't to let it go but is it best to keep for abit.
Erica-Belize - 2009-04-02
Hello,this is urgent! I am looking for professional opinions

I am from Belize in Central America, I am hoping someone can help me...this is my situation: My dog killed a possum and she had three babies in her pouch/sac one was still attached with a string to the mother so I could not save it but I save 2 babies who were already crawling out of the mother. My question is: will they survive? What should I feed them? Where should I keep them? they are the size of my thumb...yes very they have a chance of surviving? They seem active and ready to drink milk...I give them warm cow milk, is that ok?

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  • Sherry - 2011-01-03
    I found a dead opossum with very little babies so I took it to our wildlife rehab center and they put them all to sleep. They told me at that young age there is very little chance of survival.
    Who knows if that's true or not.
  • Caitlin - 2012-07-20
    Well, as they are so small. They will either have to be dependant on you (and proably not released), handed over to a wildlife care or put down. If you choose to keep them. First get a permit so it is legal for you to keep them. Second, Babies that small will need to be with you at all times. So make a pouch put it down your top and let them rest in there. This will replace the pouch and give them enough body heat to survive. Thirdly, Do not feed them cow's milk. They need possums milk, but in emergency's goat milk is better than cows. Goats milk is risky and it depends on the possums will to survive, but some cases have been sucessful. If they survive this, later on you can start to introduce fruit to them, but make sure it is very small. Only do this when you think they might be able to manage it. When they are older, and becoming very active and independant it's time for a new home for them. Get a rabbit/ guinea pig hutch. ( the bigger the better) that is off ground and has a closed in protected area ( like a possum box) You may have to switch between the top and hutch to get them used to it. Never dump them in it and leave them there. Slowly introduce them to it. Once they are fully sized you will need to get them a bigger cage with logs/ branches and leave fruit in odd places to keep them occupied and become more independant. If possible, exept baby months in the pouch avoid as much contact with them. There is a very slim chance of them being returned to the wild but if they get to comfortable around you. There is no hope. Talk to a local wildlife carer to discuss whether they are competant enough to be released, and where you can. If you have and worries of if they become ill, seek advice from a carer immediatly.