Fun Western Ringtail Possum Facts For Kids

Abhijeet Modi
Oct 20, 2022 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Aug 19, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Amaze yourself with these spectacular western ringtail possum facts.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.6 Min

If you want to search western ringtail possums in their natural habitat, you must visit the parks and wildlife sanctuaries of Western Australia. Pseudocheirus occidentalis is a possum species which is found only in a small part of south west regions of Australia. Occasional sightings have also been noticed at the crossovers of these forests with urban areas.

Also called the ngwayir, this species is a chief lover of peppermint and eucalyptus leaves and is often found on these trees. These mammals are entirely arboreal, spending almost all their time in trees. Apart from this species, no other possums as large are present in the south west regions of Western Australia.

For more relatable content, check out these badger facts and Virginia opossum facts for kids.

Western Ringtail Possum Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a western ringtail possum?

The western ringtail possum is a type of possum. Some common names of this species from Western Australia include ngwayir, ngoolangit, woder, ngoor, and womp.

What class of animal does a western ringtail possum belong to?

The western ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus occidentalis) belongs to the class of mammals.

How many western ringtail possums are there in the world?

As per the population survey made for the IUCN Red List, only about 3400 individuals of this species are currently surviving.

Where does a western ringtail possum live?

The western ringtail possum is a resident of south west Australia.

What is a western ringtail possum's habitat?

The western ringtail possum habitat is limited to peppermint and eucalyptus forests and coastal forests.

Who do western ringtail possums live with?

This ringtail possum is known to live in small groups.

How long does a western ringtail possum live?

The average lifespan of this Critically Endangered species is about five to eight years.

How do they reproduce?

Not much is known about the breeding activities of this species. Usually, only one baby is born to a breeding possum pair. In rare cases, two or three babies will be born. Females have a gestation period of about two to four weeks and birth occurs usually in the cold months of winter. At about three months old, the young emerge from the mother’s pouch. They continue to suckle until the age of six to seven months. At the age of about 8-12 months, the young possums leave their parents' homes.

The nests, also called dreys, are built within tree canopies, in sedges, shrubs, thickets, or grass trees.

What is their conservation status?

The IUCN Red List has listed the conservation status of western ringtail possums as Critically Endangered.

Western Ringtail Possum Fun Facts

What do western ringtail possums look like?

These ringtail possums are almost the size of a house cat and they have stocky bodies and legs. Their feet are capable of grasping any surface easily, helping them to climb efficiently. The rump slopes down towards a prehensile tail which ends at a white tip. The tail has very short fine hair and they also have small, round ears.

This mammal has dark gray-brown fur and there are light patches behind the ears. The underside of its body is of a pearl white or pale gray color which extends all the way to the throat and chest.

Both common ringtail possums and western ringtail possums have strong prehensile tails.

* Please note that this is an image of a common ringtail possum, a member of the Pseudocheirus genus. If you have an image of a western ringtail possum, please let us know at hello@kidadl.com.

How cute are they?

We think that this possum is cute with its prehensile tail and spotting one perched on a tree branch in parks and wildlife would be really exciting.

How do they communicate?

This ringtail possum species usually communicates with other possums using chemical means.

How big is a western ringtail possum?

The head-to-body length of this wild possum measures about 12.6-15.75 in (32-40 cm), with an additional length of the prehensile tail measuring about 11.81-15.75 in (30-40 cm).

This body length is equal to three times the size of the Chinese hamster.

How fast can a western ringtail possum run?

We do not know the speed at which these possums can run. However, ringtail possums generally can gain speeds up to 4 mph (6.43 kph).

How much does a western ringtail possum weigh?

Specimens of this threatened species weigh about 1.65-2.86 lb (0.75-1.3 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female specimens of this threatened species do not have any specific names.

What would you call a baby western ringtail possum?

A baby young possum does not have a specific name.

What do they eat?

The western ringtail possum diet is entirely herbivorous. The main constituents of its diet include fruits, leaves, flowers, shoots, and other plant matter. They have a special preference for leaves of peppermint, marri, rose bush, and eucalyptus plants. Young leaves are prime favorites of these possums. There may also be situations where they reconsume fecal matter.

Are they dangerous?

This species is not very dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

We would not really suggest this species of wildlife as a good pet as they are a little aggressive. In urban areas, you can spot these possums resting on the roof or within cavities of houses. Also, these ringtail possums are nocturnal beings so they would not be too much fun.

Did you know...

One of the main western ringtail possum adaptations is the prehensile tail. This tail can be curled into a ring and can be used to hold on to tree branches.

Three regions were the main distribution of this possum population. The Swan Coastal Plain zone consisting of Tuart forests and peppermint woodlands around Busselton have supported a large number of individuals of this species. The Southern Forest zone regions cover the jarrah forests close to Manjimup. Here, peppermint trees are generally absent. The South Coast zone has a variety of vegetation present. Peppermint woodlands, jarrah and marri thickets and forests and vegetation of Karri forest.

Most of the time of their day is spent either in feeding, socialising or resting in the tree canopies.

The home range of these ringtail species is quite small, extending up to 12.3 acre (5 ha) only. Within this range, they use about two to seven spots as their prime resting places. However, they may use up to 20 resting grounds throughout the year.

Why are western ringtail possums endangered?

One of the biggest reasons which has caused this species to be Critically Endangered is the loss of habitat. Forest fires have been a major reason for wiping out the homes of these creatures. Another major reason is predation by other animals, especially by red foxes (Vulpes vulpes).

These possums have also been spotted in urban areas, away from the wildlife. Unfortunately, they become victims to fatal road accidents. As a conservation measure, rope bridges have been built in parts of Western Australia to help them cross roads safely.

How many western ringtail possums are left?

The population count of this species in wildlife is only about 3400 individuals.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our honey possum facts and ringtail possum  facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring on one of our free printable western ringtail possum coloring pages.

* Please note that the main image is a common ringtail possum, a member of the Pseudocheirus genus. If you have an image of a western ringtail possum, please let us know at hello@kidadl.com.
 

Western Ringtail Possum Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Leaves, fruit, and seeds

What Type of Animal were they?

Herbivore

Average Litter Size?

1

How Much Did They Weigh?

1.65-2.86 lb (0.75-1.3 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

pepeprmint and eucalyptus forests

Where Do They Live?

australia

How Long Were They?

24.41-31.5 in (62-80 cm)

How Tall Were They?

12.6-15.75 in (32-40 cm)

Class

Mammalia

Genus

Pseudocheirus

Family

Pseudocheiridae

Scientific Name

Pseudocheirus occidentalis

What Do They Look Like?

Gray-brown fur

Skin Type

Fur

What Are Their Main Threats?

habitat loss and predation

What is their Conservation Status?

Critically Endangered
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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

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Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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