Spicy romance beckons for Pickles the possum

A New Zealand possum locked in a container full of onions and shipped to Ipswich in England looks to have a bright - and romantic - future ahead of it.

The brush-tailed possum, since nicknamed Pickles, landed at Ipswich port in April after sneaking into the container before embarking on a traumatic six-week sea journey, the Ipswich Evening Star reported.

Trading standards officers from Suffolk County Council, who were called in by port workers to capture Pickles, were so impressed by his fighting spirit that they raised the £1200 ($3567) needed to keep him in quarantine.

He has spent the past three months in the Yorkshire International Quarantine Centre at Allerthorpe, near York, and will be sent to a new home in late October.

Pickles, who got his name from his diet of onions while in the container, is likely to be released to an animal park which has a breeding programme for brush-tailed possums.

Paul Stevenson, who runs the quarantine centre with his wife, said Pickles had adapted quickly to his temporary home and had developed a strong bond with his daughter Sara, 21.

"He's great.

"He comes out when my daughter calls him and he goes and sits on her knee and she hand-feeds him.

"When he first arrived we couldn't get him out of his box because he was a bit tentative.

"Then Sara started hand-feeding him in the box and now she calls him and he comes down to her. It's absolutely amazing.

"The rest of the staff are a bit wary of him because of his claws and teeth," Mr Stevenson told the newspaper.

- NZPA

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