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File:Common brushtail possum.jpg

Brushtail possums are the most abundant, widely distributed and frequently encountered of all Australian marsupials. As its name suggests, the common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) has a rather bushy tail, which is prehensile at the tip and has a naked patch on the underside, helping it to grip branches. The foreclaws are sharp and the hind foot bears an opposable, clawless first toe which gives a good grasp. The second and third toes are fused, with a long, split claw, used in grooming. The fur of the common brushtail possum is thick and woolly, and quite variable in color, ranging from silvery-grey, to brown, black, red or cream, lighter on the underparts, and with a brown to black tail. The ears are large and pointed, and there are dark patches on the muzzle. A number of subspecies are recognized, based on variations in color and body size, with individuals in Tasmania generally being the largest, with dense, often black coats, and particularly bushy tails. The male common brushtail possum is generally larger than the female, and the male’s coat usually blends to reddish across the shoulders. The female common brushtail possum has a well-developed, forward-opening pouch. The common brushtail possum is very vocal, producing a range of sounds including clicks, grunts, hisses, alarm chatters, coughs and screeching.

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