Our Latest News

East Coast Whale Trail opened

30/09/2016

Whales and visitors to the East Coast will get closer together with a series of new whale viewing sites created between larapuna/Bay of Fires and the Tasman Peninsula.More

Upgraded helipads improve safety for the Overland Track

29/09/2016

The Tasmanian Air Rescue Trust has provided funding to enable the upgrading of helipads on the Overland Track, improving the ability of rescue teams to reach walkers and staff in case of emergency.More

Experience national parks through art

23/09/2016

Arts in Parks is a project that celebrates the two decade long partnership between the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service and Arts Tasmania to deliver the wilderness residency program for artists.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.