Northern brushtail possum

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Northern brushtail possum[1]
Trichosurus arnhemensis - Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria - Genoa, Italy - DSC03016.JPG
Trichosurus arnhemensis
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Family: Phalangeridae
Genus: Trichosurus
Species: T. arnhemensis
Binomial name
Trichosurus arnhemensis
Collett, 1897
A male northern brushtail possum eating an apple

The Northern brushtail possum (Trichosurus arnhemensis) is a nocturnal marsupial inhabiting northern Australia. It is closely related to the Short-eared possum, Mountain brushtail possum, Coppery brushtail possum, and the Common brushtail possum, the other four species of its genus.[1]


Its fur is a grey in colour, with a white underbelly and pink skin. The Northern brushtail possum can grow up to 55 cm in length, not including its tail, and are around the size of a small cat. Unlike its relatives and despite what its name suggests, the Northern brushtail possum does not have a bushy tail.[2][3]

Male Northern brushtail possum being hand fed a stick of carrot

Lifespan and reproduction[edit]

The Northern brushtail possum breeds year-round, with a gestation period of around 17-18 days and pouch period of 4-5 months. It can live for up to 15 years.

Relationship with humans[edit]

The Northern brushtail possum is well adapted to rural and urban areas and is sometimes considered a pest in high numbers.[3] Like other possums, it is rather tolerant of humans and can sometimes be hand-fed, although it is not encouraged as their claws are quite sharp and can cause infection or disease to humans if scratched. It is a traditional food source for some indigenous Australians.[4]


The Northern brushtail possum eats a variety of plant matter, including fruit, leaves, flowers and seeds.[2]


  1. ^ a b Groves, C.P. (2005). Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. 
  2. ^ a b Milich, K. (2002). "Trichosurus arnhemensis". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  3. ^ a b Cleaver, B. "The Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)". The Marsupial Society of Australia. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  4. ^ "Food database". NineMSN. Retrieved 2008-04-18.