Twiggy possum den revealed

30 June 2021

20210613 possum den

During the day, possums sleep off their night-time foraging in out-of-the-way dens.

This new photograph sent by Anthea, from Taupo, illustrates one type of place where possum dens might be found - in trees, well above ground.

"We found the den while pruning an old Lawsonia hedge," Anthea explains. "The image shows the den when the 'roof' and some side branches had already been removed. It was under a dense thicket of old leaves and branches, so would have stayed quite dry."

The den was about 3.5 metres above ground and some of the leaves and fern fronds inside it would have had to be pulled in from at least 20 metres away.

"There's a very trap-shy possum in our locality that has been alluding capture," Anthea says. "We had wondered where it hid during the day but never found one before."

Close-up of tree trunk with torn and shredded barkThe details shown in the close-up photograph (at right) confirmed her suspicions. Bark on the trunk of the tree had been shredded and pulled away to reveal the underlying cambium layer. Possums will use bark to line their dens and bark can form part of their diet. The softer resinous cambium had been chewed and some tell-tale possum fur had adhered to the sticky resin.

Other places where possums will typically make dens include in hollow tree branches, and in the heads of mamaku and ponga tree ferns. They also like to make dens in ceiling or under-floor cavities of buildings, if they can find a way in. A possum can have several dens and can change dens several times per night.

Find out more about possum sign on our 'culprit' page.