This beautiful marsupial is endangered because of:
natural habitat loss and fragmentation from land clearing for subdivisions and road building,
predation by introduced species - fox, dog, and cat,
vehicle strikes in the southwest and swan coastal plain,
- changing fire regimes that reduce the Ringtail Possum's foraging and food sources, destroy shelter sites or fires that directly kill or indirectly kill possums from burns, heat or smoke exposure.
Ringtail Possums in the Peel region are found around the Bouvard Bridge, estuary and ocean side as far as Heron and Lake Clifton areas, Preston Beach, Island point to Old Bunbury Road along the Swan Coastal Plain.
Ringtail Possums prefer woodland and forest areas with :
- Peppermint trees (Agonis flexuosa)
- Eucalyptus species such as Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) and Tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala)
- Marri (Corymbia calophylla)
What is a Western Ringtail Possum?
The Western Ringtail Possum (Pseudocheirus occidentalis) is also known as ngwayir (n-waar-ear) ngoor, womp (Aboriginal/Indigenous dialects).
It was once distributed throughout the south-west of Australia - ranging from 120km south east of Geraldton to the southern edge of the Nullabor Plain and inland as far as the Tutanning Nature Reserve in Pingelly.
The Western Ringtail Possum (WRTP) is a small (0.9 to 1.2 Kg) arboreal marsupial.
Ringtail Possums have a short life span of 4 years, rarely 5 years, of age.
Ringtail Possums can be distinguished by their long, slender, often white tipped prehensile tail.
Their coat colour can range from from chocolate, charcoal, to a light nutmeg colour with grey or cream belly fur.
Ringtail Possums have distinct short, rounder, almost teddy bear like shaped ears.
The Western Ringtail Possum is considered a Threatened Species under Western Australian State and Australian Commonwealth legislation.
Western Australia - Critically Endangered Fauna under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
Australia/Nationally - Critically Endangered Fauna under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Internationally - Critically Endangered Fauna on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Living with a Western Ringtail Possum
If you live in the south of Mandurah and are sharing your roof space with a possum, the best way to make it vacate the roof space is by finding the entry point and sealing it up once the possum has left the roof space!
If a possum is stuck down your chimney, tie some rope around the chimney and lower the free end down the chimney so the possum will climb out using the rope.
Have you seen a Western Ringtail Possum? Let us know!