Monday, December 11, 2006

We Oppose Opposums...

Possums have become predators in New Zealand; they eat shoots of native trees and eggs of native birds. They also climb up poles and chew on the lines, (I wonder if they get electrocuted in the process) so we often see slippery metal sheetings covering any tall structures where we don't want possums climbing and chewing.

There are many country pubs that offer a free pint if you bring in a dead possum, but we haven't had the pleasure of encountering any customer collecting on that. (And I'd like to keep it that way.)

Possum fur is collected and used to create such wonderful products as these attractive attire or possom-blended yarns. It took me six years to try possum yarns because I could not get rid of the picture of a roadkill, but the yarns are nice.

And an update on the Kiwi water tank: Owner Tim said most of the water in his tank is from a well, but some collected from the roof goes into the tank also; his water is not treated nor filtered. And yes, he uses the water from this tank for everything. Knowing the quality of the water in Nelson City (bad!!), he's still drinking cleaner and nicer water than us, I can tell you.


  1. Hey Meg Girlfried! You have a series..."Arty, Rabit Island" and now this one...Nice! And ewwwwwwwwwwwww I HATE "possums" too...they're ALWAYS roadkill right here on our suburban street cuz we live right next to a flood zone canal! Only thing, they have such cute little beady eyes! LOL! You're a brave woman to use their fur! ;-)

  2. Once (only once) I've seen two guys came with handful (I think 3 or 4) of Possums and exchanged with pints.
    I believe that was not the road kill but hunted properly. This is at Golden Bay Mussel Inn and, yes, you were there too.
    I can't recall what year was...

  3. I hadn't realized that possums were such a problem. I am amazed at the things I learn on blogs. Didn't know that yarn was made from possom fur either. What is the texture and is it dyed? Just courious.

  4. Isn't it true that possums aren't an indigenous species to New Zealand?

  5. They look like big rats. We have tons of opposums in the South. You see them dead on the road a lot in the winter. And even though there are lots here, I've never heard of them climbing electric poles. Maybe yours have evolved or something! LOL

    Also, I have never heard of using their hair! Yuck! I think I'll pass on that.

  6. Thank you for your visits, folks.

    Ame, beady eyes - yikes. I buy a spun and dyed yarn only, dear. The only life animal I every touch are dogs (and Ben!)

    Ben, was I with you? I'm so glad I never saw that.

    Photowannabe, possum hair is quite short and does not blossom/felt in the way wool does, so it's often mixed so they don't fall off; the one I use are blended with silk and merino. Because possum fur is also dark in color, so far the dyed colors are all dark and rather saturated. If you go to my web site's gallery, there are many pieces where I used the denim blue and red in the weft. The overall texture is soft though I don't know what % of that is merino; the finished product does shed a bit in the first two or three washes, when handwashed. I believe it is still a product in development.

    Piika, possums were brought in to NZ by immigrants (as they were to Australia, I believe, though it's endangered over there and protected!) to create a potentially lucrative export industry. There are other animals brought in likewise, or as beats of burden or pets, including the common dogs and cats, and people, which have all contributed to endangering native birds.

    Susan, because their fur was always intended to be used as luxury items, I guess it was inevitable. Me, I don't wear furs, but I guess I'll try any yarn once - after a while.

  7. Possums are native to Australia. They were originally taken to NZ in order to try to start a fur trade.

    Like many introduced species (eg rabbits and cane toads in Australia) it was thought to be A Good Idea At The Time and have proved to be an ecological disaster.

  8. PS Australian possums are different species to American opossums, ut they are related. North America's only marsupial (pouched animal)

  9. susan in atlanta12/13/2006 12:31 pm

    Thanks Sally. I had originally asked in my post if they could possibly be the same because I couldn't imagine using their nasty hair. But I googled it and only the opposum I'm familiar with came up so I erased my question!


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