The common brushtail possum as a candidate for Australian DLC

The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is one of the most familiar Australian mammals, being a common sight in urban environments in Australia and being found in a number of zoos around the world – they are kept in at least 13 European zoos, some Asian zoos including the Singapore Night Safari and obviously a lot of Australian collections. Perhaps surprisingly, there are none in any zoos in the USA.

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Common brushtail possums are one of the largest possum species, with adults having a head-body length of about 50cm, with a tail approaching 40cm long. An adult male weighs up to 4.5kg, with a female reaching about 3.5kg. This would make it a larger animal than the ring-tailed lemur, currently the smallest full exhibit animal in the game.

The common brushtail possum has an advantage of being unfussy in terms of habitat – they naturally occur in rainforests, temperate woodlands and dry savannah woodland. While their distribution maps do place them right in the heart of Australia (normally desert landscapes) it appears they actually favour moist forest patches along rivers and in gullies within this area. This would give the player lots of choice when constructing an enclosure.

Another main reason why brushtail possums would be an ideal candidate for an Australian DLC is that they could reuse the rig and a lot of in-game animations from the red panda. Both species move in a similar way (walking quite slowly with alternating steps), they climb in a similar way and also share a lot of more unique behaviours. For example, both species sit upright with the front feet hanging down:
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When fighting or playing, both species rear up and hold their arms up:
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It also seems that both species share similarities in grooming (with a lot of paw-licking involved), sleeping (curled up into a ball, with the head resting on the tail) and feeding (picking up and holding the food in the front paws to eat it). In fact, there is very little in terms of animations to change – one difference is that a brushtail possum does sometimes hold its tail higher than a red panda when walking, although not as high as a lemur does.

They also have an interesting number of colour variations. Their typical colour is a silvery-grey with a yellowish underbelly. However, they also come in brown, deep red, black and, perhaps most famously, golden colour morphs.

While the common brushtail is a Least Concern species on the IUCN Red List, they still face some conservation issues. They are small enough to be vulnerable to predation by invasive predators such as cats and foxes, suffer from a horrific disease called exudative dermatitis and as a tree cavity-nesting species can suffer from the loss of old trees (although their broad diet has allowed them to move into towns where nest-boxes and roof spaces serve as adequate tree hole replacements).

In all, the common brushtail possum should be an excellent candidate for an Australian DLC pack that adds a species that is both quite well-known and also a unique choice, being an active climber that is equally comfortable on the ground.
 
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Like the European rabbit, the brushtail possum is protected in its native range, but a massive pest wherever else it ends up. They're cute, sure, but I'd sooner have something like the Tasmanian devil if we get an Australian pack.
 
Like the European rabbit, the brushtail possum is protected in its native range, but a massive pest wherever else it ends up.
I'm not sure it is a good idea to choose animals for the game on the basis of whether they are a pest outside their native range. If it were, we wouldn't have the Nile monitor (which is wreaking all kinds of merry havoc in Florida) or the hippopotamus (which are becoming an increasingly dangerous nuisance in Colombia). In 2018, the common brushtail possum was actually considered to be banned in European zoos as an invasive species, but it was considered to not be a risk and removed from the ban list.

They're cute, sure, but I'd sooner have something like the Tasmanian devil if we get an Australian pack.
While I would like the Tasmanian devil very much, the one niggling issue I have with them would be their lifespan. Even in captivity, they only live around 8 years - on checking the lifespans of all the animals currently in-game, only three species (the goliath and titan beetles and the Brazilian wandering spider) actually have a shorter lifespan. If running on the normal game timeframe, the devils would barely last any time at all.

I believe that this issue with lifespans is the reason why (with the exception of Copenhagen Zoo, which got their devils as a diplomatic gift) all the Tasmanian devils in European and American zoos are non-breeding animals - there would need to be near-continuous imports of animals to keep the breeding population going which is far better served in Australia itself.

Just looking up the common brushtail possum, they live between 12-14 years in captivity, which is also around the same length of time a red panda lives for in captivity.
 
I'm not sure it is a good idea to choose animals for the game on the basis of whether they are a pest outside their native range. If it were, we wouldn't have the Nile monitor (which is wreaking all kinds of merry havoc in Florida) or the hippopotamus (which are becoming an increasingly dangerous nuisance in Colombia). In 2018, the common brushtail possum was actually considered to be banned in European zoos as an invasive species, but it was considered to not be a risk and removed from the ban list.
Oh, I'm not saying not to include them specifically, just pointing out that they are comparable to the rabbit or squirrel or something in terms of appeal. It's a regional thing, though.

While I would like the Tasmanian devil very much, the one niggling issue I have with them would be their lifespan. Even in captivity, they only live around 8 years - on checking the lifespans of all the animals currently in-game, only three species (the goliath and titan beetles and the Brazilian wandering spider) actually have a shorter lifespan. If running on the normal game timeframe, the devils would barely last any time at all.

I believe that this issue with lifespans is the reason why (with the exception of Copenhagen Zoo, which got their devils as a diplomatic gift) all the Tasmanian devils in European and American zoos are non-breeding animals - there would need to be near-continuous imports of animals to keep the breeding population going which is far better served in Australia itself.

Just looking up the common brushtail possum, they live between 12-14 years in captivity, which is also around the same length of time a red panda lives for in captivity.
New Zealand recently got bombarded with them in zoos due to the disease that's killing them all off in Tasmania. They're at the forefront of Australian conservation right now and given what we did to the thylacine I think it's hugely important that we try and protect the devil. They're the last of their kind.

In any case, where they are in real life doesn't translate to PZ. In New Zealand, for example, we aren't allowed to keep snakes at all, not as pets, not in zoos. Despite the fact that they present a much lower risk than, say, the brushtail possum (which is a huge pest here), the government has decided they are too threatening to allow in the country. Yet in PZ, I can build a zoo smack-bang in the middle of New Zealand and use as many boas, anacondas, or rattlesnakes as I like. Point is, there may not be many in zoos outside of Australasia in real life, but we might end up seeing an increase anyway as their situation becomes more desperate, lifespan aside.

My local zoo has them but isn't breeding them. Lots of educational material, though.
 
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