The hunt is on for the culprits of a sickening spate of animal cruelty in Australia, including a man who bit chunks out of a possum.
The RSPCA has issued footage of four deliberate attacks on the tree-dwelling mammals in the hope of holding those responsible to account.
The most disturbing video shows a young man being encouraged by friends to bite chunks of fur and flesh out of the seemingly live possum’s rump with his teeth.
Another clip shows a possum caught in a net tossed to a waiting pack of dogs that tear it to pieces, while another shows two women proudly posing with rifles and one of the slain creatures.
RSPCA spokesperson Qld spokesperson Michael Beatty said the footage was 'Very, very disturbing'.
He added: "These are quite deliberate and premeditated acts of animal cruelty and show a complete lack of empathy.
“Without meaning to sound too melodramatic, the links between this type of cruelty and acts of violence toward humans have been well-researched over the years.”
“In one video a possum is dragged from a tree and then squeezed and slammed onto a wall before being hurled into the bush.
“In another, a live possum is wrapped in a net before being thrown to dogs that tear it to pieces and a third video shows a young man biting and chewing a possum before hurling it into the darkness.”
Possums are nocturnal marsupials found across Australia who feed on a diversity of plants, flowers and fruits.
The species is also protected species in the Nature Conservation Act, meaning the photograph of the two women with rifles could see them slapped with a fine as possums.
Michael said he was unsure if native animal cruelty was increasing or if more people were reporting it more.
He urged anyone with any information about the incidents – or any others – to come forward immediately.
Michael said: “There is also a picture of two young girls “proudly” posing with rifles and a dead possum.
“All native animals are protected under the Nature Conservation Act and if they did shoot the possum then that is illegal and they can be prosecuted.
“Is cruelty to native wildlife on the increase or are more people reporting it?
“We’re urging anyone who has any information regarding incidents of cruelty to report them to the RSPCA or the police.”