A curious young possum caused a stir at Northside Boulders Brunswick in Melbourne, Australia yesterday. Seemingly looking to hone its climbing skills, the baby ringtail possum wandered through an open roller door and quickly ascended some equipment. Gym staff member and UKC contributor Charlie Creese was tasked with marsupial management.
Charlie climbed up a ladder to take a close-up photo of the possum to send to the non-profit animal rescue organisation, Wildlife Victoria.
'Turns out our friend was a baby ringtail - the problem there being that youngsters have to be accompanied by a guardian on their first visit to the gym,' Charlie told UKC. 'But when I put this to him from the top of the ladder he proceeded to shimmy up the framework of the Moon Board and take refuge on an inaccessible roof beam.'
Gym-goers watched with enthusiasm as Charlie persisted in his belief that he was 'some kind of marsupial Steve Irwin' as the possum climbed out of his reach.
'A wilful young marsupial - who won't pay for entry or submit to an induction, and whose claws are nearly infallible, even on polished holds - is of course a very amusing thing to the people who don't have to find a solution to the problem,' he said.
The team stayed with the animal until midnight, before concluding that since the world's longest Covid lockdown in Melbourne, 'maybe even the animals just want some leisure time.' The possum left of its own accord at some point in the early hours of the morning.
It did not sample the gym's route setting. 'I think these guys find the wall too low and too easy,' Charlie said.
Other marsupials have set foot in the gym before - an adult possum once called in - but it's not a common occurrence. Bored dogs waiting for their owners and a resident cat are typically the most exotic species on any given day.
'Of course, the animals are generally better behaved than the humans!' Charlie said.
Reminds me when I moved back to Australia about a decade ago with my British wife. There was a ring tail possum sitting outside on the window ledge with it's back toward the window. Based on its tail, my wife's reaction was 'that's the biggest rat ever!!!'. 🤣 Was much cuter when it turned its face towards the window.