When it comes to possums, Renmark local Trish Stevens knows exactly what the small marsupials like to munch on.
For almost three decades, Trish, always accompanied by her trusty dogs, has wandered down to the Renmark riverfront every afternoon to feed up to 30 hungry possums.
“They love bananas best of all,” says Trish, who moved to Renmark in 1989.
“But they don’t like celery or beans and they only eat the tips of asparagus.”
The nocturnal creatures scramble down their palm tree homes to see what fruit and vegetables Trish, fondly known as “the possum lady”, has on offer.
The spectacle has become a drawcard for both locals and tourists in the Renmark, in South Australia’s Riverland.
Trish spends about $20 a week on carrots for the marsupials, supplemented by “whatever she has leftover”.
She also nails carrots to the line of riverfront trees, allowing the creatures something to nibble on at all times.
“If I’ve got anything spare I give them that,” Trish says.
“They love everything, including water melon – they’ll eat anything really.”
Trish says sometimes people call through her check-out at Renmark Woolworths where she has worked for the past 11 years and donate a bag of apples and carrots or hand over a few coins “for the possum tin”.
“But I don’t look for it,” she says.
“It’s just a thing I do – I walked past one day and thought they looked skinny and hungry.”
Trish has been feeding the possums daily since 1990.
She’s only missed five days and that was when a bout of salmonella poisoning “a while back” put her in hospital.
“Someone came up to me the other day and said they come to Renmark every year and it (the possums) is the highlight of their visit,” Trish says.
“People are just fascinated by the possums.
“Sometimes I think ‘gosh I feel tired’ and I don’t want to go down there but I do it anyway.
“I enjoy the fact that I’m feeding something that’s hungry – and it’s nice down the river.
“I sit down there and have a chat to people so that’s a good part of it.”
Header photo courtesy of Tish Moritz.
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