Our Latest News

Mt Strzelecki walk back on track

28/06/2019

Flinders Island's Mt Strzelecki walking track has received an upgrade which will improve the experience for walkers and visitors, as well as environmental management.More

New car park for Ben Lomond National Park

28/06/2019

A new visitor carpark is now complete at Ben Lomond National Park. The car park will be opened to visitors and fully operational in the coming weeks in time for this winter's first major snow fall.More

Planned burn success on Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area sites

28/06/2019

The Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area experienced significant wildfire events between January and March this year, yet there are still areas that require pro-active fire management for the protection and conservation of the area's values.More

Eastern Pygmy Possum, Cercartetus nanus

Eastern pygmy possum

Like its close relative, the little pygmy possum, the eastern pygmy possum has some special adaptations to cope with the cold of Tasmanian winters. Both species go into torpor during cold spells. Its small size means that the animal has, in comparison to its body volume, a lot of skin through which to loose body heat. In other words, it has a high surface area to volume ratio. Torpor is a means by which an animal is able to reduce energy expenditure by lowering its metabolism. Its body temperature can drop to near that of its surroundings. Unlike true hibernation, torpidity generally only lasts for a few days at a time.

Distribution

The eastern pygmy possum is found throughout the wetter forests of the western half of the state.

Diet

Unlike its relative, the little pygmy possum, which was erroneously once thought to be a nectar feeder, the eastern pygmy possum was once erroneously thought to be primarily insectivorous. It is in fact largely a nectar and pollen feeder, although invertebrates are also taken. This uncertainty about the diet of these small possum reflects the relatively little information we have been able to glean about the life histories of these diminutive species.

Breeding

Breeding is similar to the little pygmy possum. It occurs from late winter to spring, with four young being the usual litter size and pouch occupancy lasting about six weeks.