Catching possums on a Night Stalk on the Satterley Property Group’s Provence Estate is easy.
Even though the Western Ringtail Possum is a threatened species, participants can “catch” the animals in the lights of their torch.
The latest Night Stalk was a great success.
“It really was a brilliant night,” GeoCatch Natural Resource Management coordinator Gene Hardy said.
“I couldn’t quite believe it when we peered into our first Peppermint tree and there were actually two Western Ringtail Possums right there!”
Provence Estate joined forces with GeoCatch to protect and enhance the local environment.
The group was founded in Busselton in 1997 and works with Provence residents on a long term vision of improving the environment for both the residents and endemic plants and animals, in particular the Western Ringtail Possum.
The Busselton coastal strip is part of one of the last strongholds of the species.
“The Western Ringtail Possum is a threatened species,” says Gene. “It is in the same risk category as the polar bear!”
Another possum species sited on the night walk was the common Brushtail which is not under threat.
“The difference between the two species is quite easy to pick,” says Gene. “The ringtail has a long prehensile tail with short, often white fur, and it can use this tail to assist climbing trees.
“The common brushtail on the other hand has a bushy black tail and smaller ears.”
Ringtails are also folivores, with their diet consisting of at least 90% Peppermint tree leaves in the Busselton area.
Brushtails on the other hand are omnivorous and occasionally eat insects, eggs and meat to supplement their diet of leaves, fresh gum tips and flowers.
Other fauna seen on the walk included large female Orb Weaver spiders who had spun their extremely strong webs hoping to catch a few hapless night dwelling insects.