Story: Possums

Possum-damaged snail shells

Possum-damaged snail shells

These native land snails (Powelliphanta traversi) were eaten by a possum. It was not until the 1970s that scientists realised that rats and pigs were not responsible for the large numbers of dead snails found in the South Island’s mountain forests and alpine grasslands. Possums bite through the shell near its opening and extract the snail within.

Using this item

Department of Conservation
Reference: 10027845
Photograph by Keith Briden

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Gerard Hutching, 'Possums - Impact on native animals', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 7 July 2022)

Story by Gerard Hutching, published 24 Nov 2008, updated 1 Jul 2015