Australia Viral 'Bunnings possum' caught snacking on saplings most likely just looking for moisture

07:06  04 september  2017
07:06  04 september  2017 Source:   ABC News

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Viral ‘ Bunnings possum ’ caught snacking on saplings most likely just looking for moisture . Video of the ' Bunnings possum ' munching on some lettuce plants has gone viral . Photo: ABC.

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A possum spotted eating plants in the nursery department of the Carseldine Bunnings in Brisbane on August 27, 2017.© ABC News A possum spotted eating plants in the nursery department of the Carseldine Bunnings in Brisbane on August 27, 2017. A common brushtail possum caught on camera feasting on a smorgasbord of offerings in a Brisbane Bunnings nursery department is most likely just looking for a source of water, an expert says.

The 'Bunnings possum' has gone viral, with the original video of the brazen marsupial munching on some lettuce plants being viewed more than 634,700 times since being posted on the ABC Brisbane Facebook page on Friday.

Another video posted on Sunday of the same possum eating from a strawberry plant is also gaining tracking with more than 260,000 views and more than 5,500 shares.

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However some commenters were concerned for the critter, with many wondering why it was out during the day when possums are normally nocturnal, and where it was living.

Queensland Museum collection manager Heather Janetzki said brushtail possums adapted well to urban environments.

"They're are pretty gutsy species that have managed to move into urban society very well and eat the food we have out for them and shift into our homes," Ms Janetzki said.

"They will even roost inside the carparks in the airvents where it's nice and warm for winter.

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"They're really gutsy, I suspect it's come out during the day to feast on those lettuces because they mentioned they were up inside the pots and that's probably a good home, tucked away up inside the pots given the lack of other homes for them.

"It's probably a good space for it."

Possum probably just looking for water source

Ms Janetzki said possums could come out during the day if they needed water.

"He's gone for lettuce … that's a really good water source if there's no free water around the place," she said.

"Maybe what they [Bunnings] could do is put some of the water in the birdbaths and it might help alleviate that problem.

"It's in an urban environment … so I suspect if it's not getting water sources readily and on these hot days may not get access to it it may have needed moisture … that's what I imagine."

University of Queensland's School of Veterinary Science associate professor Bob Doneley said the possum was just taking advantage of its environment.

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"Basically when we look at possum behaviour a couple of things will shape it … they tend to feed at dusk, in the morning, and at night because they're safer from predators," Dr Doneley said.

"However they're an animal that's adapted remarkably well to our environment hence people having brushtail possums in their roofs and yards.

"It's part of living in Australia, you're going to have possums." Dr Doneley said the possum may be eating during the day because it was easier than eating at night.

Use proper barriers to protect fruit trees at home

Ms Janetzki said anyone at home being bothered by possums or other wildlife could take preventative measures.

"You do need to look at barriers, it might be simply putting up iron stakes and putting polypipe over the top and then netting to have your veggie patch enclosed so that part of the food you can actually harvest, and then maybe have some plants out that wildlife can access as well," she said.

"But be careful of the nettings, really microfine nettings trap animals like fruit bats, they will get twisted into it. I've seen snakes wriggle through that fine mesh and it cuts into them. "Be aware of it being bright and visible thick cord for netting over fruit trees because if you catch wildlife in them, it's a pretty miserable and horrible death."

As for the Bunnings possum, it may be moved on at some point.

A Bunnings spokeswoman previously said when the "safety of our customers and team or the animal may be compromised we contact the relevant authority to safely remove the animal from the store".

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