Fun Ringtail Possum Facts For Kids

Anusuya Mukherjee
Apr 26, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
A common ringtail possum fact is that it builds nests called dreys
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.2 Min

Ever heard of the common ringtail possum? Common ringtail possums are also known as Australian marsupials.

Possums are commonly found in most of the regions of Australian forests, mainly in Sydney. The common ringtail possum or other possum is strictly a family animal and is mostly seen in family groups.

They are purely nocturnal animals and spend much less time on land than in a tree. They can be identified easily with all the gray fur with white patches behind their eyes and a cream color belly.

Also, they have a very long and distinctive prehensile tail with a white tip on its half-quarter.

This plays the role of a fifth limb to jump around from one branch to another. The structure of their forefeet is also a bit different from other tree animals as they have a gap between the second and third fingers which allows them to have a good grip across the branches of the tree.

Common ringtail possums are mostly affected by deforestation which is happening in different parts of Australia. Read on to learn all about the common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus).

Ringtail Possum Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a ringtail possum?

The common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) are Australian marsupials animals. They come under the category of marsupials because these species have a pouch in females to carry the young child. The mother's pouch plays a very important role so the possum can provide care for the young.

What class of animal does a ringtail possum belong to?

Common ringtail possums are strictly a mammal classification of animal, as mammals are those animals that give direct birth to young ones.

Possums are among those animals that give birth instead of laying, although they have a pouch in female population to carry their baby until they become an adult male or female common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) and are sexually mature.

How many ringtail possums are there in the world?

Common ringtail possums are native to Australia or Australian regions only. There are an estimated 3400 western ringtail possums.

There was a significant decline in the number of possums during the time of 1950s but with the course of time, it has been recovered. The studies have shown the main reason for them declining as a population was deforestation which has been done in large quantities in recent times as they are truly arboreal species.

Where does a ringtail possum live?

Common ringtail possums are commonly found living in parts of Eastern, Western, and some parts of Southern Australia where the region is mostly temperate and tropical. They can lives in a variety of habitats like rainforests, shrubby woodlands, eucalypt forests, and coastal shrub habitats which is best suited for marsupial wildlife to live.  

What is a ringtail possum's habitat?

As stated above the common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) is best-suited to a habitat that is temperate or tropical Australian forests. There are also a variety of habitats too they could live in such as rainforests, shrubby woodlands, eucalypt forests, and coastal shrub.

In these forests they spend most of their time on tree hollows, these hollows are also known as spherical nests or called dreys which are made from grass, leaves and flower petals, small plants, and branches.

Who do ringtail possums live with?

Among the common ringtail possum interesting facts is that they prefer to live with someone around them as they are a family kind of animal. They usually prefer to live in a pair of male and female both and sometimes these wild animals live in a group of eight possums.

How long does a ringtail possum live?

Usually, the common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) tends to live around 10-15 years.

How do they reproduce?

Being a marsupial animal, the common ringtail possum has to carry the young children in their pouch for some interval of time. Depending on the condition of the mother being able to hold the baby, they wait for the right mating season which takes place anywhere between April and December.

The notable thing in the process of reproduction in possums is their estrous cycle is both polyoestrous and polyovular. The average litter size is two, though there are rare chances of three too.

The critical phase in the development of the common ringtail possum is in the pouch. This is where it develops, feeding and lactation take place in that pouch or sometimes a nest for the baby common ringtail possum.

The young ones are first able to see between 90 and 106 days of age and then they leave their mother's pouch at 120–130 days. After that, the process of lactation still continues till 180–220 days. The pouch is really where they care for the young.

What is their conservation status?

The population of common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) severely declined, but soon recovered in no time. They are affected a lot by deforestation as these are arboreal animals.

The biggest threat to this creature is from European fox and also hit by cars and preyed on by cats and dogs in suburban areas. They are, however, in the Least Concern conservation category.

Ringtail Possum Fun Facts

What do ringtail possums look like?

The common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) are usually gray in color with white patches around and behind the eyes and on the belly. Parts of tail and limbs have mostly orange-brown tinges.

The long prehensile tail of the common ringtail possum has a white tip, which is used as a fifth limb to climb and jump between the branches. The structure of their forefeet has a gap between the second and third fingers allowing them to have a grip across the branches of the tree.

The common ringtail possum, Pseudocheirus peregrinus, are vertebrates.

How cute are they?

These creatures are very small with big beady eyes which definitely makes them look quite cute. The range of cuteness differs in different types too like the green ringtail possum or red ringtail possum look a bit cuter than the normal white Australian ringtail possum. The lemur-like ringtail possum is also rather sweet.

How do they communicate?

The most common and effective source of communication between them through is sound and scent. Sometimes different kinds of voices such as a deep cough, sharp hisses, and screeches are heard. They also use this sound and scent communication during the process of reproduction.

How big is a ringtail possum?

A common ringtail possum is usually not bigger than the size of a home pet such as cats and dogs. The length of the body is around 30-35 cm with a tail about the same length.

How fast can a ringtail possum run?

Although the possums love to climb and are good swimmers too, possums also do walk on the ground. They have a top speed of about 4 mph.

How much does a ringtail possum weigh?

The weight of common ringtail possum is between 1.5- 2.5 lb (700-1100 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names identified for the male and female possums.

What would you call a baby ringtail possum?

Even though there's no name for the baby possum, it is known for living in its mother's pouch after being born. In some parts of the world, since they are marsupials, they are known as joeys too like their distant cousin kangaroos.

What do they eat?

Possums mainly eat leaves but they also eat flowers and fruits from a variety of native and exotic trees and shrubs. A possum diet is kept in control by eating grass.

Are they aggressive?

They are a very solitary kind of animal. They are aggressive at times when they feel a threat around the family or the group with which they live.

Would they make a good pet?

All possums are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act). They are not suitable for a pet.

Did you know...

The common ringtail possum are commonly very social animals and can be seen easily. They are marsupials animals that can carry the baby in a pocket which itself is attached to the mother.

There is another kind of possum known as brushtail possum which is widespread in the region of Australia. They are very different in looks compared to the ringtail possums.

Most of the possums prefer to live in the hollow of the tree but when talking about ringtail possum they actually live in a nest created by them known called dreys.

Possums mainly eat eucalyptus and other leaves.

Can you have a pet ringtail possum?

These possums are protected by law and cannot be kept as pets. You would require a special permit for taking care of wildlife to look after one.

If you do find a baby common ringtail possum without its mother, you should take it to a vet. Try to avoid touching the joey and use gloves if you have to pick it up. Keep it in a dark sac-like environment to mimic the mother's pouch.

What sound does a ringtail possum make?

Common ringtail possums generally make sounds during the time they are mating. When they do make noises, sounds like different kinds of voices such as deep cough, sharp hisses and screeches are heard.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including plains zebra.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our ringtail possum coloring pages.

eastern and western coast of australia

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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