A woman has gained cult online fame after she decided to welcome possums into her Melbourne home.
Leisa Embury Collins told news.com.au she suspected wild possums were in her Belgrave garage for years, but noticed last April a particular marsupial was knocking her paint cans over.
“In June we went to Kmart to get a cat bed for the possum, as he looked so sad and cold,” she said. “We didn’t think he would really go in it but we put a CCTV camera in there to see.”
She said within a few hours the possum had hopped into the cat bed.
Since then, Leisa’s adorable surveillance videos of the wild brushtail possum – who she named Pandy – resting in various cat beds have attracted thousands of fans, who comment on his cute possum’s antics every few minutes.
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Leisa now shares regular videos of Pandy clambering around her home, eating fruit from her hands and posing with props. A fan page following Pandy’s antics has gathered more than 3100 likes.
In a twist for Leisa, Pandy was soon joined by a second possum who made himself comfortable in Pandy’s cat bed. Leisa named the slightly bushier and bigger brushtail, Randy.
Asked about the appeal of wild animals living in her home, Leisa said she grew “very attached to (Pandy)” over 2020, as he kept coming back to his bed, and sitting in the same position.
“He is also very clean and doesn’t soil the bed or the shelf. We’ve really enjoyed watching his antics and seeing him come and go as he chooses,” she said.
“We can hand feed him now and he’s very gentle when he takes food, though we don’t want him to become too domesticated and still want him to stay a happy wild possum.
“I think people like being able to see him relax in his cat bed and the fact that he just comes and goes as he pleases.
“He often lays down kicking his legs out and stretching like he’s sleeping on a cloud.”
Leisa said fans of Pandy who loved the page sent her possum-themed presents and cards over Christmas.
She said receiving gifts from her possum community was “so lovely”.
The group also created a 2021 Pandy wall calendar and sold dozens of copies.
Leisa said they donated all the profits to wildlife non-profit organisation Rescue, Rehabilitate, Release.