In an eerie video right on time for Halloween, one of Australia’s cutest herbivores has been caught eating a dead animal.
In an eerie video right on time for Halloween, one of Australia’s cutest herbivores has been caught eating a dead animal.

First came drop bears, but how about drop possums?

One of Australia's cutest herbivores has been captured on film eating roadkill.

In a post to Facebook, Jake Goldring, 18, of Townsville wrote that he came across the brushtail possum eating what appeared to be a dead kangaroo on the Flinders Highway in Mingella earlier this month.

"One of the coolest things I have seen," he wrote above the video.

"Just casually came across this brush tail possum eating road kill kangaroo off of Australia's most deadly and mysterious highway (Flinders Highway) AKA " Highway of death."

"So many unsolved disappearances....

"I think I may be onto something. Possums are cute, right??! (sic)"

Mr Goldring, who was driving to Charters Towers at the time, said he decided to share the video for fun and to educate people.

Many people who viewed the video, including Bianca Ricketts, wrote that they never knew possums ate meat.

"Ermmm, they're omnivores??? This is news to me! And kinda creepy! (sic), she said.

"Now I've seen everything," Brett Francis Murray wrote.

Jake McGowan said he knew possums ate insects, "but I didn't think they ate meat."

This brushtail possum, seen in this still from a video, was recently captured on film eating roadkill on the Flinders Highway, between Townsville and Charters Towers. Picture: Jake Goldring/Snakefella Wildlife Rescue
This brushtail possum, seen in this still from a video, was recently captured on film eating roadkill on the Flinders Highway, between Townsville and Charters Towers. Picture: Jake Goldring/Snakefella Wildlife Rescue

Marsupial biologist Andrew Krockenberger, 54, of Cairns said although it was unusual to see a possum eating roadkill, he was not surprised to see it was a member of the brushtail family, which are quite adaptable.

The James Cook University Professor said though most possums are herbivorous, brushtail possums, in particular, were opportunistic and were also known to sometimes feed on the ground.

"Brush tails are relatively common around Townsville and (other) urban areas," he said.

"They have gotten used to different types of diet and so are quite flexible and opportunistic.

"In urban areas they get used to all sorts of things in their diet. I've heard of them eating chicken or bacon or Devon.

"From the possums perspective (the roadkill) is a high quality piece of food. There's no effort involved for the possum and it's high in protein. Why would you would pass it up?"

Professor Krockenberger said possums had previously been documented eating baby birds in both Australia and New Zealand on occasion.

An adult coppery brushtail possum with its young. Picture: Julia Cooper/wildaboutaustralia.com
An adult coppery brushtail possum with its young. Picture: Julia Cooper/wildaboutaustralia.com

He said he had also come across a sugar glider eating a fledgling bird and heard of Rufous bettongs, or rat-kangaroos, also eating roadkill despite being mostly herbivorous.

Under the video posted to the 'Snakefella Jake' Facebook page, a less-scientific reason for the possum eating the roadkill was offered by Keran Lea Newman.

The mystery was really solved by Keran Lea Newman, who proclaimed "Possums are the ACTUAL Drop bears!! (sic). Snarly little suckers," she wrote.

Greg Evans agreed, pointing out it was a "drop possum."

"This is not a Brush Tailed Possum, it is a Drop Possum, close relation. Similar to the Drop Bear (sic)," he said.

Originally published as First came drop bears, but how about drop possums?



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