(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

The eastern pygmy possum, scientific name Cercartetus nanus is a diprotodont marsupial of south-eastern Australia. Occurring from southern Queensland to eastern South Australia and likewise Tasmania, it’s present in a range of habitats, together with rainforest, sclerophyll forest, woodland, and heath.

Eastern Pygmy Possum Profile

Quite a lot of shelters are used together with shrubs, tree hollows, deserted bird nests, and different bark-laced nests. Its small size permits C. nanus to reside in small tree holes and nests. The bark nests that C. nanus contracts are normally small and spherical and are as much as 6 cm in diameter.

The adults have a body and head size of 75-100 mm. The tail is a comparatively long tail for its size, stretching to 75-105 mm. It is considerably cylindrical in form, with thick fur on the base and the hair changing into regularly sparser in the direction of the tip.

The color of the fur is grey to fawn on the dorsal facet and whitish or slate-colored on the underside. The hand is quite human-like, however, the pad on every finger and toe is expanded into two lobes.

The hallux is thumb-like and opposable. The ears are comparatively massive and the eyes are fairly darkish and bulging.

There are two distinct breeding seasons. On the mainland, Australia breeding takes place from spring to autumn, whereas in Tasmania the season lasts from late winter to spring.

The litter is size is predominantly 4 and sometimes 5. Like most marsupials, Cercartetus nanus has younger which might be altricial at birth. The younger nurse within the pouch for as much as six weeks following birth and are then impartial once they attain half of the mom’s weight.

Eastern Pygmy Possum

Geographic Range

Populations of Cercartetus nanus are discovered primarily in Tasmania, southeastern South Australia to southeastern Queensland, and small surrounding islands. On the mainland of Australia, C. nanus inhabits primarily the coastal areas of the southeast.

Eastern Pygmy Possum Description

Eastern pygmy possums are very small, weighing from 15 to 43 grams (0.53 to 1.52 oz) and having a body size of between 7 and 9 centimeters (2.8 and 3.5 in) with 8 to 11 centimeters (3.1 to 4.Three in) tail.

They are uninteresting gray above and white beneath, with large, ahead pointing, nearly hairless, ears and a long prehensile tail, with thick fur on the base that turns into sparser in the direction of the tip. They have long whiskers and a slim ring of darkish fur around every eye.

The eastern pygmy possum is an active climber. It makes use of its brush-tipped tongue to feed on nectar and pollen, particularly from Banksia, Eucalyptus, and Callistemon species.

Eastern Pygmy Possum additionally feeds on insects and can eat smooth fruits when flowers are usually not obtainable. It is a largely solitary animal, sheltering in tree hollows and stumps, deserted bird nests, and thickets. During winter it spends time in torpor.

They are nocturnal, and, though usually considered solitary, have been reported to share communal nests, and to be seen in teams of two or more adult people.

Males occupy dwelling ranges of 0.24 to 1.7 hectares (0.59 to 4.20 acres), which overlap with one another and with the smaller, 0.18 to 0.61 hectares (0.44 to 1.51 acres) ranges of females.

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Eastern Pygmy Possum Distribution and habitat

Eastern pygmy possums are discovered alongside the southeastern Australian coast, from eastern South Australia to southern Queensland, and on Tasmania.

They inhabit shrubby vegetation in all kinds of habitats, from open heathland or shrubland to sclerophyll or rain forest, at elevations from sea level to 1,800 meters (5,900 ft).

Despite this obvious range of habitats, their distribution is patchy, and they’re normally low in quantity the place they’re discovered.

Eastern Pygmy Possum

Food behavior

Primarily an herbivore, C. nanus makes use of its brush-tipped tongue to feed totally on nectar and pollen from eucalypts, banksias, and bottlebrushes. In most coastal areas, the place fruit and blossoms are much less ample, a wide range of bugs is consumed, together with flying moths, spiders, beetles, termites grasshoppers, and mantises.

C. nanus is ready to catch flying bugs with one paw; these bugs are eaten by first biting off the wings after which consuming bodies. Feeding primarily happens in brief and fast bursts and is instantly adopted by grooming.


Breeding normally happens in nests situated in tree hollows of the forest. The males of C. nanus usually travel farther than the females, though each sex is quite sedentary. An agile climber and leaper, C. nanus is nocturnal.

In the winter, to preserve energy, C. nanus stays lethargic for prolonged intervals, utilizing saved fats within the tail as an energy source. Little if any social hierarchy exists, the adults are primarily solitary.

Eastern Pygmy Possum Reproduction

Eastern pygmy possums sometimes breed twice a year, though they could breed a 3rd time if meals are plentiful. Females have a well-developed pouch with 4 to 6 teats, and normally give beginning to 4 younger, though bigger litters are usually not unusual.

Gestation lasts around 30 days, after which the younger spend 33 to 37 days sheltering within the pouch. They are weaned at 60 to 65 days and stay with the mom for no less than an additional ten days, by which period they weigh about 10 grams (0.35 oz).

The younger attain the complete adult size at around 5 months, however could possibly breed as little as three months after beginning. They reside for as much as 7.5 years in captivity, however in all probability no more than 5 years within the wild.


The logging business of Tasmania poses a critical risk to this species. Regeneration burning and clear-cutting at the moment end in C. nanus being absent from affected areas. There aren’t any particular management interventions, but it has been steered that unlogged forest areas ought to be restricted from logging and burning.

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