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PWS - Fires update and impacts

20/02/2019

Background: A number of fires were ignited by dry lightning that crossed the state in late December 2018 and mid-January 2019. The storms of 15 January 2019 resulted in approximately 2,400 lightning strikes and caused over 60 new ignitions.More

PWS Fire Update - Friday 15 February 2019

15/02/2019

Parks and Wildlife Tasmania (PWS) can advise the following locations, reserves and tracks have been re-opened today (Friday 15 February).More

PWS Fire Update - Thursday 14 February 2019

14/02/2019

Parks and Wildlife Tasmania (PWS) can advise the following locations, reserves and tracks have been re-opened.More

Little Pygmy Possum, Cercartetus lepidus

Little Pygmy possum

The appropriately named little pygmy possum reaches a mere seven grams and has a head and body length of only 5-6.5 cm. It is indeed the smallest of all possums.

Distribution, habitat and diet

The little pygmy possum was once thought to be confined to Tasmania, however, populations have been found on Kangaroo Island and the mallee scrublands of north-western Victoria.

It occurs throughout a range of habitats, except rainforest. It spends much of its time in the lower, dense canopies of the understorey vegetation. It is most common in drier forests and heathlands in the east of the state. The animal generally nests in the hollows of old trees. The little pygmy possum feeds on insects and lizards.

Breeding

Females give birth to up to four young which stay within the pouch for about six weeks. After this time, the young are left within the nest, occasionally travelling with the mother by clinging onto her fur as she forages.

Torpor

Being a small mammal posses difficulties during the cold of the Tasmanian winter. 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. The little pygmy possum, like its close relative, the eastern pygmy possum is able to overcome these difficulties through its ability to enter torpor. This 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.