Possums: Apple of my eye sorry

So kind was I to these possums that I would carefully core apples to make it easier for them to eat.

THE humble possum... cute little creature or despised pest?

There's a growing debate about this little Australian native.

It seems people are in one corner or the other when it comes to their feelings about our possums.

Age journalist Denise Gadd wrote a comprehensive story on the possum on Friday – posing the question are they ‘cute and cuddly’ or ‘public enemy No.1’.

Denise rightly pointed out the brush-tail and its ring-tail cousin are two of 13 species of possum protected in Victoria.

Yep, that's right. Protected. Seems that doesn’t go down well with everyone.

Okay, confession time.

I accept possums can do damage and I can see how people might deem them a pest, but, sorry, I’m in the ‘cute and cuddly’ corner.

My wife used to live in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges when we first met.

Possom heaven, you could say.

Her home had this brilliant deck along the back which was adorned with a magnificent bird feeder.

I was fascinated by the possums that would make their way along the railing to that birdfeeder each night to see what tasty treats were on offer.

They had no fear and happily took anything you could hand them.

C'mon, there's a definite attraction about being able to hand-feed a wild possum?

So kind was I to these possums that I would carefully core apples to make it easier for them to eat.

They loved it. Thinking back, why wouldn’t they? I mean, life’s pretty good when you’ve got some bloke sucked in to core apples for your dinner, right?

Not sure my future wife was so enthusiastic about my hand-feeding exploits, mind you. For when I would head back to Bendigo she was no doubt left with a bunch of grumpy possums wondering why their food supply had dried up.

Must confess there were some side effects to my affection for these possums.

More than a few times I woke with a start thinking someone was on the back deck. Nup, just a possum jumping from the roof in search of food a cored apple or two.

Word had probably spread there was a sucker living there.

When we moved to Horsham we had a female possum return each year to raise a baby in the little shed in a corner of the yard.

It was a nothing shed... not even sure why it was built. 

We didn't use it for anything and were more than happy to see this possum raise a newborn each year.

She cared little when we would peer into the shed to check on the newborn's progress or when we proudly showed off mum and bub to visitors who found the sight equally cute.

She never ventured near the house, so we endured none of those horror stories you hear from people about possums in the roof.

Yep, cute little creatures for me.

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