#132 Mountain Pygmy Possum

Critically Endangered

These are the only mammal in Australia that lives entirely in areas above the winter snow line. They are in the Australian Alps. They have to have a good amount of snow while they hibernate to keep them insulated. To hibernate they roll into a ball. Their temperature can drop to just 35.6F. It is thought that they are able to live up to 12 years, but typically they only live 4 years in the wild. They are omnivores, eating seeds and insects mainly. The Bogong moth makes up approximately 1/3 of their diet before hibernation. Unfortunately the Bogong moth gets diverted from its migration route by lights from houses and does not make its way to the territory of the possums as much as they did. The moth is also struggling because due to droughts the grass the larvae needs is more scarce. When the moth has migrated away, the possum switches to mostly nuts and seeds. They actually cache them, and when hibernating will occasionally wake up and have a snack. Unfortunately, because of grooming ski slopes, it can disturb their habitat and also wake them up from hibernating, Though they are the largest of the Australian pygmy possums, they are very tiny. They are less than 5 inches long and usually weigh not even 2 ounces. They were first discovered as fossils in 1895 or 1896 and it was assumed they were extinct. One showed up at a ski hut in 1966 though, and though there aren't a ton of them, at least we know they aren't extinct.

I made this post, and then realized I hadn't added whiskers. Unfortunately I'm fighting with seizures right now (I have epilepsy caused by Celiac) which makes thinking and focusing difficult. I am just going to say that when I eventually do a show, don't be surprised when you see whiskers on this little one.

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