Saturday, August 1, 2009

Possum and butcherbird from Australian Museum

I visited the Australian Museum again today and drew one of my favourite Australian mammals, the Common Brushtail Possum.

Here are some things you should know about them :

Found all through Australia and New Zealand
Body can be up to 55cm and tail up to 40cm (cat size)
Lives in urban areas, woodlands and heath.
In the wild possums eat leaves, blossums, fruit. In the suburbs they eat almost anything,
They make guttural coughs and sharp hissing sounds .
Lives in trees, hollow logs of roof cavities
Their tail can’t support their weight but it is capable of grasping. They have excellent climbing skills with their tail, sharp claws and opposable first toe.

They are nocturnal and a protected species. Some people feed them from their balconies or in backyards, although they are also considered a pest by others. Possums can be heard thumping across corrugated iron roofs as if wearing hobnail boots and seen balancing along telephone lines (to access aforementioned roofs)As I have never had one living in my roof I think are lovely and am always excited to see one .

And here is an urban bird': the grey butcherbird. The butcherbirds that I am familiar with are grey, black and white. One or two used to visit me on my balcony railing in Brisbane. They all have a joyous, melodious song and sing in pairs to each other across the apartments blocks and telephone lines.


  1. Beautiful job with the possum sketches, Alissa, thank you! They're different from our North American type, called the Virginia Opossum, which are our only marsupial. Do the brushtail possum carry their tiny babies in a pouch like ours do?

  2. I don't all the above like Kate but they just look great to me. super job.

  3. What great drawings! I love that sketch in b&w of the possum. He looks like he could be in a story by Beatrix Potter. So cute!

  4. Beautiful paintings Alissa!
    And who would have thought that the Butcherbird would have a melodious song with a name like that.


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