Possum rescue at Thabeban State School

Thabeban State School possum
Thabeban State School teachers help rescue a baby possum, that has affectionately been named Poppy and reunited with her mother Pipsee.

Teachers at Thabeban State School were pleasantly surprised to rescue and reunite a baby possum, affectionately named Poppy, with the school’s resident mother possum.

As the schooling Term 1 comes to an end, the teachers at Thabeban State School have been busy organising school work for students in the event that classes across Queensland may be held remotely next term.

However, on Thursday their busy day was interrupted after Year 6 teacher Burnese Denton came across a tiny bundle of joy on the school path.

“We have been spending days trying to organise how our students can continue to access learning if, and when, we aren't allowed to have them back at school in Term 2,” Burnese said.

“Today was more of the same and included lots of photo-copying of lessons for students who do now have access to the online platforms.

“As I was walking from one room to another to collect some resources, I came across a baby possum who looked to be struggling and was wobbling her way across the concrete, towards our photocopying room.

“We have in the past found a possum hiding on a shelf in there, but I knew this one wouldn't survive if she ended up there without any of us noticing.”

Thabeban State School possum
Thabeban State School's resident mother possum Pipsee looking for her baby possum, that was soon rescued and reunited with her by the school's teachers.

Burnese said the school has had possums living in the roof for a very long time and there was one possum affectionately known as Pipsee, who had also become the attendance mascot, with the idea that if she was always at school she also wanted the students to be as well.

“Over the years, Pipsee has had a number of babies and one of them was named Perfect,” Burnese said.

“We have possum toys with those names, and they spend time in classes that have outstanding attendance.

“So, when I saw this little honey struggling along, I called some other staff members and one of them picked her up and wrapped her in her shirt.”

Wildlife carer gives advice for baby possum

Phoning her vet, Burnese said she was given the phone number for a wildlife carer and made the call immediately.

“I called the carer and she suggested we try to put the bub somewhere that the mum would be able to come and collect her and get her back in the pouch,” she said.

“By this time Mum had showed up and to us looked like she was very worried about her baby.”

The school’s groundsman then retrieved a ladder and gently put the baby up in the rafters, close to the place where Pipsee and Perfect have played and been offered apples in the past.

Thabeban State School possum
Thabeban State School's resident mother possum Pipsee climbed down to the school teachers who helped rescue her baby possum, Poppy.

“It didn't take long for mum to climb down from where she was, climb up the other side and go to the baby,” Burnese said.

“We watched as she seemingly pushed the baby back into her pouch and disappear into the roof of the building.” 

Burnese said she posted the story to the school’s Facebook page to show the students who were already staying home because of the Covid-19 precautions and pupil free days.

“There have been many comments about the cuteness of the way it all played out and the staff were feeling like it was letting us know that even in these times of utter chaos, there are little stories of pure joy playing out as well,” she said.