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Pygmy Possums: Burramyidae

Eastern Pygmy Possum (cercartetus Nanus): Species Account

Physical characteristics: Eastern pygmy possums grow to a length of between 7 and 8 inches (18 to 20 centimeters). They have brown fur, except on their belly, which has gray fur. The base of their tail is thick because of stored fat in that area. Eastern pygmy possums also have long tongues with bristles on the tip like a brush.

Geographic range: This species lives in Tasmania and in eastern and southeastern regions of Australia.

Habitat: Eastern pygmy possums live in open forests, shrubby woodlands, and rainforests.

Diet: These possums are omnivorous. They eat nectar and pollen as well as insects. More insects are eaten by individuals that live in wet areas where plants bloom less continuously.

Behavior and reproduction: Eastern pygmy possums are solitary animals. They build nests out of leaves and bark inside of tree-hollows. The female is mature at about five months of age. She gives birth to one to three young twice each year. The young are born after a month-long pregnancy. They remain in the pouch for about forty-two days, and stay in the nest another three weeks before becoming independent at the age of about two months.

Eastern pygmy possums and people: Eastern pygmy possums hold no known significance to humans beyond scientific interest.

Conservation status: This species is not considered to be threatened. ∎



Mansergh, I. M., Linda Broome, and Katrina Sandiford. The Mountain-Pygmy Possum of the Australian Alps (Australian Natural History). Kensington, Australia: New South Wales University Press, 1994.

Steiner, Barbara A. A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Web sites:

Lamington National Park. "Eastern Pygmy Possum." http://lamington.nrsm.uq.edu.au/Documents/Anim/eastern_pygmy_possum.htm (accessed on June 30, 2004).

"Royal's Hidden Population of Pygmy Possums Astounds Researchers." Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Royals+hidden+population+of+pygmy+possums+astounds+researchers (accessed on June 30, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceMammalsPygmy Possums: Burramyidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Eastern Pygmy Possum (cercartetus Nanus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, PYGMY POSSUMS AND PEOPLE