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Have your say on Freycinet

12/06/2018

Public comment is now invited on the Draft Freycinet Peninsula Master Plan.More

Ben Lomond recovery works update

31/05/2018

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) will oversee the recovery works at Ben Lomond after a recent fire destroyed essential infrastructure.More

Southwest ecological burns important for orange-bellied parrot conservation

22/03/2018

Planned ecological burns in Southwest National Park will help regenerate important habitat areas for the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot.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.