Ringtail Possum – fact sheet
The ringtail possum is an agile, arboreal (tree-dwelling) marsupial that lives in
rainforests and coastal temperate deciduous forests in eastern and southwestern
Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. It is nocturnal (most active at night) and
sleeps during the day, in a hollow tree or in a nest made of twigs and leaves.
Most ringtail possum species are solitary, but the common ringtail, congregates in
small, temporary groups of 2 to 3 adults.
Anatomy: The ringtail possum is about 6 to 18 inches (16 - 46 cm) long, plus a tail
equally as long. It weighs up to 3 pounds (1.5 kg). The woolly fur is brown to gray
with a paler belly. The prehensile (grasping) tail is hairless at the tip. It has two
opposable fingers (of five) on its hands.
The Pouch: Females are pregnant for about 4 months. After birth, the two tiny
newborns crawl into the pouch, where they will drink milk, remaining in the pouch
for about 2 months. After leaving the pouch, they still ride on their mother's back
until they mature.
Diet: The ringtail possum is an herbivore (a plant eater) that eats leaves, fruit, and
flowers in the trees at night. The common ringtail has adapted to eating toxic
eucalyptus leaves; it can detoxify the poisons in this plant.