Eastern pygmy possum (Cercartetus nanus).
Eastern pygmy possum (Cercartetus nanus). (photograph: Mark Sanders)


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The Australian possums were so named because of their supposed similarity to the opossums of South America. In fact, the two groups are not closely related apart from both being aboreal (tree-dwelling) marsupials. Indeed, some old-timers still refer to these animals as opossums and Opossum Bay, an outer suburb of Hobart, takes its name from the misnomer. 

Scientific names:

​Tasmania is home to five species of possum:​

  • Common ringtail possum - Pseudocheirus peregrinus
  • Sugar glider - Petaurus breviceps (introduced)
  • Brushtail possum - Trichosurus vulpecula
  • Eastern pygmy possum - Cercartetus nanus
  • Little pygmy possum - Cercar​tetus lepidus

Where can I see them?