Spotted possum

This creature is one which I have claim to have seen although I am not really sure what it was. In the early 1990s I was camped overnight in the ti-tree scrub near Delray Beach which is part of the 90 Mile Beach between Seaspray and Golden Beach. I was cookling dinner on my gas stove when my attention was drawn to rustling in the ti-tree above me. I switched my spotlight on and the beam caused two large possums to freeze in their tracks. They had ringtails but were much larger than the normal ringtail possums but not quite as big as their cousins the brushtail possums. However, the remarkable thing about them was that both animals had several large round white spots on them which I guess were about 40cm diameter. Realising I was seeing something unusual, I retreated to my car to get the camera but as soon as the torch was off them, both possums scampered, and I was unable to get a snap.

While talking to the late Peter Chappell of the Rare Fauna Research Society about Thylacines or Big Black Cats, I casually mentioned the strange spotted possums. he said it rang some bells for him and about an hour later he phoned me back to say he had three or four other reports of spotted possums on his books, two of them from Gippsland. I have several books on Australian fauna and while I concede the spots may have just been a color-break from inbreeding or natural selection, there is no possum of that size in Victoria which has a ringtail.

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