Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mountain Pygmy Possum

Burramys parvus
The Mountain Pygmy Possum is a tiny little Marsupial whose prehensile tail is actually longer than the rest of its body! They are only about the size of a mouse, measuring only a few inches in length, and weighing just 45g. They have dense dark fur on the top, with lighter undersides.

Mountain Pygmy Possums are rare and critically endangered. They were actually considered extinct until 1966, when the first live one was found (before then they only known from fossil forms).

Only three populations of these little guys are known to science, and it is believed that there are less than 2,000 individuals left. All three of these populations are found in southern Australia, in either New South Wales or Victoria. The Possums live in rock screes and boulder fields of high elevation areas. They are the only Alpine Marsupials in Australia.

Mountain Pygmy Possums also have the distinction of being more terrestrial than their other Possum cousins. While they are still excellent climbers, they spend most of their time on the ground. They are a nocturnal species, and hunt moths during the evening hours. During the winter months they hibernate, surviving off of stored up fat reserves.

IUCN Status : Critically Endangered
Location : Southern Australia
Size : Length up to 11cm
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Infraclass : Marsupialia
Order : Diprotodontia -- Family : Burramyidae -- Genus : Burramys -- Species : B. parvus

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