Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Home range and den use of common brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) in urban forest remnants

Michael J. Harper
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic. 3010, Australia and Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. Email: m.harper@pgrad.unimelb.edu.au

Wildlife Research 32(8) 681-687 https://doi.org/10.1071/WR04072
Submitted: 20 August 2004  Accepted: 22 September 2005   Published: 20 December 2005


The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is an arboreal marsupial that has adapted well to urban landscapes. Fifteen adult possums (12 female, 3 male) caught in small patches of indigenous vegetation (remnants) in the south-east of metropolitan Melbourne were radio-tracked over a three-month period to investigate nocturnal behaviour and den use. Minimum convex polygon (100%) home-range estimates of both female (1.02 ± 0.28 ha) and male (1.19 ± 0.33 ha) urban brushtail possums trapped in urban forest remnants appear to be smaller than those previously reported for urban brushtail possums. All the brushtail possums foraged extensively in remnants but made repeated forays into adjacent residential areas. The use of few dens, by both female (2.21 ± 0.35 ha) and male (2.51 ± 1.45 ha) brushtail possums, in close proximity to their nocturnal ranges is similar to the behaviour of non-urban brushtail possums


The author thanks Lauren Keim, Michael McCarthy and two anonymous reviewers for proofreading this manuscript, and the staff and students at the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology for discussion and suggestions regarding improvements to the manuscript. This research was undertaken pursuant to the conditions of animal experimentation ethics committee approval No. 02076, and permit number 10002113 issued by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Victoria. Financial support for this research was generously supplied by the Holsworth Wildlife Trust and The Baker Foundation.


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Appendix 1.  Radio-tracking effort and weights of all radio-collared possums
Night-time radio-tracking was undertaken between 4 April and 10 August 2003. Daytime tracking included 20 consecutive fixes from 20 May to 9 June 2003

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