The Baddies - Threats to NZ Native Birds


The Australian brush tailed possum was introduced into New Zealand in 1837 to establish a fur trade.

The possum has a thick, bushy tail, a pointed snout and long, fox-like tapering ears. Size and weight of possums varies greatly across New Zealand. Adult possums are typically between 65 and 95cm in length, and can weigh anywhere between 1.4 and 6.4kg.

Possums can live anywhere that has shelter and a varied food supply. They can be found all across New Zealand. Forests are the major habitat, especially hardwood mixed forests, where possum densities are particularly high. While possums feed mainly on leaves, they are also known to take buds and flowers, fruits, ferns, bark, fungi, invertebrates, native birds and eggs, land snails, carrion.

Possums are nocturnal, although in winter starving or sick animals may emerge to feed in the afternoon.