Our Latest News

Easter safety is paramount for our parks and reserves

18/04/2019

The Parks and Wildlife Service encourages visitors and Tasmanians alike to get outdoors and get active - especially in our parks and reserves.More

Good news, Hartz Mountain National Park and other tracks are open!

17/04/2019

In time for Easter walking, PWS have been able to re-open a number of tracks.More

New Mt Mawson Shelter officially opened ahead of ski season

29/03/2019

The new Mt Mawson Public Shelter was today officially opened and will provide a new level of amenity for southern Tasmania's only ski field, as well as upgraded facilities for bushwalkers heading to the iconic Tarn Shelf walk in Mt Field National Park.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.