pygmy-possum

by Nicola and Anne

Description

The pygmy possum has thick, dense brown fur and white fur on its underbelly. They also have dark circles under their eyes and a pink nose. The pygmy possum grows up to 10 cm long.


Distribution

The pygmy possum only lives in the alpine regions on the highest mountains of Victoria in the Kosciuszco National Park. The total population sizes less than 500 adults.


Ecology and Habitat

The pygmy possum lives on the ground in rocky areas below mountain peaks. Their diet is mainly invertebrates like caterpillars and beetles. Each litter has four young. Female pygmy possums can live up to 13 years and males live up to 5 years.


Threats

Threats are mostly associated with the ski industry because it has reduced the pygmy possum's habitat. They can also be mistaken for vermin and killed. There is also the problem of the red fox and feral cats killing them.


Recovery Strategies

The Department of Environment and Conservation are helping to recover the mountain pygmy possum.


What must be done to recover this species?

We need to control foxes and feral cats in the Mountain Pygmy Possum's habitat. Do not use rat traps or poisons in buildings in areas of the Mountain Pygmy Possum habitat. We need to protect their habitat including hibernation sites and movement corridors from disturbance. Some areas at Mt Blue cow have been closed to ski slope activities to protect them.
Act Wild for Mountain Pygmy-possums

Photos are from Wikimedia Commons.

Information is from http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspecies/