It is good to see the use of possum-boxes advocated in "The Possum Wars" (The Sunday Age, 2011-05-01), but it didn’t push the point that there should be a war on the far more noisy and destructive mammal in our cities – the cat.
Cats, for their massacre of native fauna, could be called "furry cane toads" – but that would be unkind to cane toads which at least don’t impose a significant cost to human health (see "Kill cats – save humans and the health budget" – 2009-06-09).
Possums might be a little annoying with their kxkxxxx noises during the mating season, but they don’t make noises all damn year, and don’t mimic the sound of a human baby crying. That sound gets deep down, reaches into even my sleep, and wakes me up, having grabbed at my basic human instincts to attend to a distressed infant.
Possums? They make good "wild buddies" for the famil – while you cannot establish the reciprocal affection you can with a magpie family, it’s pretty easy to develop some trust from them.
Personally, I think kids can learn as much, if not more, from a wild buddy than a pet.