Green Ringtail Possum
Photo: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey
BSc.(Zool) Biologist Guide
Green Ringtail Possum: Pseudocheirus archeri
- Greenish coloured soft and thick fur due to mixture of black, grey, yellow and white hairs.
- Two silvery vertebral stripes, white patches under eyes and ears.
- Thick base to tail. The tail is shorter than the head and body.
- The Green Ringtail Possum has a distinguished resting posture. It sleeps curled in a tight ball, gripping the branch with one or both hind feet, and sitting on the base of its coiled tail, with its forefeet, face and tip of the tail tucked tightly into its belly.
- Sparse and limited distribution.
- An arboreal animal, but it does descend to the ground only to traverse a gap between trees. Appears to favour rainforests with tangled thornless vines.
- Daytime roost is an open branch.
- Although mainly nocturnal, the possum may move about during the day as a result of being disturbed in its daytime roost.
- Its diet consists exclusively of leaves. Fig trees of several species are favoured.
- Also eats leaves of the Shining-leafed Stinging Tree, Pepperwood, Red Tulip Oak, Flame Kurrajong and the False Stinger.
Social Behaviour:The Green Ringtail Possum is the most solitary of the ringtails. Rarely, a pair may be seen in the same tree. It is also the quietest of the ringtails. Adults have never been reported to make a sound.
- Can also be viewed, with a spotlight at the Crater National Park, on the Malanda falls Environmental Park walking paths, The Curtain Fig Tree and along the roadway on Thomas Road.
- Other common names for this possum include the Striped Ringtail Possum and the Toolah.
- It is the only possum known to eat fig leaves.
- The Green Ringtail Possum can move rapidly through the canopy, running along branches and up narrow swaying vines but avoiding leaps except across the forks of major branches. It is probably the fastest of the ringtails at this type of travel.
- There are 2 teats in the pouch but the female usually only gives birth to one. This is from August to November. Back-riding young have been recorded from October to April.
- Predators include the Spotted-tailed Quoll and Rufous Owl.
- Indigenous Australians ate the Green Ringtail Possum in the past, but direct human predation has never been classed as a serious threat. Clearing of the rainforest is the greatest threat at present.
- It appears that the Green Ringtail Possum is the most capable of tropical ringtails to survive in small remnant areas of rainforest. It does not require a den and as fig trees (not used for commercial timber) are often left standing after logging has taken place in an area, its food source is preserved.
Additional Information: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey
This small possum is one of the few naturally green furred mammals in the world, although it tends to be more of an olive than green.
Like most of the other possums in the wet tropical rainforest, this species is generally restricted to the higher altitude rainforests of north east Queensland.
Script: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey BSc.(Zool) Biologist Guide