Physical and nutritional characteristics of the possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) in captivity

Twelve male and 12 female adult possums, Trichosurus vulpecula (Kerr), held in captivity, were fed a commercial pelleted diet for 8 weeks. Their ages ranged from 2 to 9 years and their body weights from 2.0 to 3.7 kg. Food, faeces, and urine were chemically analysed. On average the possums ate approximately 80 g dry weight of food daily (40 g/kg body weight/sup -0.75/, and they maintained body weight. Their mean maintenance requirement of nitrogen was just over 2 g daily (1.0 g.d./sup -2/kg BW/sup 0.75/ ). The possums were killed at the end of the experiment, and weights of various organs, body composition analyses, blood chemical data, gut microbiology examinations, and skeletal radiographs revealed few significant differences between males and females. The anatomical and physiological data obtained can be taken as representative of healthy possums on an adequate, balanced artificial diet.

Author A. E. Fitzgerald, R. T. J. Clarke and C. S. W. Reid
Year 1981
Secondary title New Zealand Journal of Zoology
Volume 8
Number 4
Pages 551-562