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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: albino (2)

Ally the possum

Author
by Max
Publish date
25 June 2013
Comments
Comments (1)

Ally the Possum Ally the Possum
Image: Simon O'Brien
Source: Simon O'Brien

Guess who's back! No it's not Slim Shady – it's Ally the albino possum! After assuming she was lost for good, we now have several confirmed sightings...well, sightings of an albino possum in the same neck of the woods. It was either Ally, or as our expert pointed out, it could be a 'once in a generation' relative. Anyway, there are photographs so you can be the judge.

Ally the Possum Ally the Possum
Image: Simon O'Brien
Source: Simon O'Brien

Simon from Hampton photographed her near Haileybury School in Hampton in early 2013 – that’s over two kilometres on the other side of the Nepean Highway from where she was first spotted. If you recall, she was brought to our attention by Steve Mitchelmore in January 2012, near Landcox Park in East Brighton. Apparently possums can range over large distances.

  Ally the Possum Up close and personal
Image: Rick
Source: Rick

She was also spotted and photographed by Rick who lives in East Brighton, again near Haileybury. Rick first spotted Ally in early 2012 with her mother, about the same time that Steve did. Six months later he saw her again, this time on the power lines – maybe that’s how she gets from one side of East Brighton to the other?

Such an adventurous possum - who knows where she’ll turn up next?

The Adventures of Ally, the albino Possum

Author
by Max
Publish date
21 November 2012
Comments
Comments (10)

One of the many questions we are asked in the Discovery Centre is about the many and varied birds and mammals people sight in their own surburban backyards.  One such enquiry came to us from Steve from East Brighton who had spotted an albino possum in his garden.

Ally, the albino possum Ally, the albino possum
Image: Steve Mitchelmore
Source: Steve Mitchelmore
 

In February 2012 Steve discovered an albino baby brush-tail possum in his backyard. He wanted to know how rare they were as he had been observing possums for years, and this is the first albino one he had seen. One of our experts responded with the following;

Albino mammals are not totally unknown; we have received specimens at about a three year interval on average. Once the gene is introduced into a local population then their occurrence becomes a bit more periodic although only about once in a generation. Because they are not camouflaged as well as their parents or siblings they are readily detected by predators and could be easily taken as prey. A true albino will also have poor eyesight due to the lack of pigmentation in the eye again making them susceptible to predation. It will be interesting to follow this young animal and see how it survives such traumas.

Ally, the albino possum Ally, the albino possum
Image: Steve Mitchelmore
Source: Steve Mitchelmore
 

To which Steve responded;

About three weeks ago I noticed the small tail and one paw protruding from the mother's pouch seemed unnaturally pale in colour, then last night the juvenile, creamy white with deep red eyes, was on its mother's back...

P.S. Regarding predators, do you know if Powerful Owls inhabit the East Brighton area?

To which our expert replied;

I am unsure about the Powerful Owl’s situation in East Brighton but I can say that they have been seen/heard in many Melbourne suburbs. So if the area concerned is heavily vegetated – that is with large trees then there is every possibility that one of these large owls will make its presence felt.

Early in July, Steve sent the following update;

... you mentioned that it would be interesting to follow her development and any 'traumas' she may endure.  She still comes by almost every night, having been AWOL on only six or seven occasions since late January.  She has the un-original name of 'Ally' (as in Ally the Albino)...  As for traumas, so far so good, apart from when she fell into the pool three nights ago.  Luckily the water level was so high following all the recent rain that she had no trouble getting herself out. 

Ally, the albino possum Ally, the albino possum
Image: Steve Mitchelmore
Source: Steve Mitchelmore
 

Then in late July, he sent in his last update;

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but . . . Sadly, Ally has not been sighted since Monday night...Some months ago she disappeared for three nights straight, but I won't hold my breath after seven.  I've made numerous calls to local vets, DSE, Wildlife Victoria...Animal Rescue etc. all to no avail and searches of neighbouring yards for fur or remains have also been fruitless... I'm still amazed she survived as long as she did.  Anyway, it was certainly an enjoyable (and educational!) six months.  She will be sadly missed. Once again, thanks for your time and response to my emails.

Got a question? Ask us!

UPDATE: Ally has been spotted again!

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