Ever wished your favourite animal could be a baby forever? This little furball isn’t a mouse: it’s a tiny possum, and one of Australia’s rarest creatures, living exclusively in Australia’s alpine region at 1400m and higher. Get to know a bit more about this hardy little mountain marsupial.
Surprise! Not extinct!
The mountain pygmy-possum was once named the ‘Rarest Creature on Earth’ by The Guinness Book of Records. But how? One day in 1966, a little furball wandered into a ski lodge, and someone was smart enough to put down their hot toddy and realise it wasn’t a rodent.
Cuteness runs in the family
LOOK AT THOSE EYES! On the left, you’ve got the mountain pygmy-possum. Cuteness overload. On the right, its smaller, and also endangered but equally squee-inducing cousin, the eastern pygmy-possum.
Tasty! This possum gorges on food before hibernating, packing on the weight to a whopping, um, 80g. Take note snowboarders: these mini marsupials often leave a stash of snacks nearby for when they wake up, so watch your step.
A True Australian Hero
Like a lot of Aussies, this species punches above its weight: it’s our only native mammal that lives solely in an alpine habitat. Some good life goals right there.
Hang in there!
The mountain pygmy-possum is two steps away from total extinction with only a few thousand left in the wild, meaning this cutie is on the critically endangered list.
Habitat degradation, climate change, feral predators and inbreeding are the greatest threats to the last remaining populations around Mount Kosciuszko (NSW), Mount Bogong (Vic), and Mount Buller (Vic).
There’s hope for this species with a captive breeding program and a population that was recently discovered below the tree line, which suggests that the species may be acclimatising to lower altitudes.
Maybe next time you’re headed to the snow, sign up to help preserve these rare creatures – it’s a good way to give back to the region it calls home.