Thanksgiving possum

 We opted for a low-key Thanksgiving last night (today in the U.S. is tomorrow in Australia) with steak, prawns, mushrooms, potatoes, homemade rolls and, in a nod to our favorite American holiday, glazed carrots.

Although summer officially begins next week with temperatures in the humid 80s (F, 27s C) it gets dark about 6:30 p.m. because there’s no such thing as daylight savings in Queensland. Windows and doors are usually kept open to capture summer breezes, but closed as the nocturnal wildlife emerges at dusk.

I was slow.

Finishing a final prawn, a possum scampered by the patio door but instead of entering the dining area, high-tailed it across the deck and dove into a tree.

Those possums look cute but can be nasty. Two women in Tasmania became ill this year with tularaemia, in both cases linked to possum bites, the first time that strain of the disease had been found in the southern hemisphere.

Public Health Director Roscoe Taylor said there was a very small risk the disease could be spread through tank water.

"In theory, wildlife feces can accumulate on a roof and get flushed into your rainwater tank. But we believe the risk of getting tularaemia this way to be very low. Water treated with chlorine is safe to drink.”

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time