Fun Eastern Pygmy Possum Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Eastern Pygmy Possum Facts For Kids

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The Eastern Pygmy possum is a nocturnal marsupial that is found in South Australia, southeastern Australia, New Guinea, Queensland, and Tasmania. Pygmy possums belong to the family Burramyidae. These species have a close resemblance with rats and are covered with fine grayish black to fawn color fur. They have a pointed mouth with long whiskers. The Eastern Pygmy possum's tail is almost one-third of its body length. Their prehensile tail makes them extremely efficient climbers. Pygmy possums climb on trees and nests in tree hollows, abandoned bird nests, and thickets. The temperature of the eastern pygmy possum (Cercartetus nanus) is somewhere between 95-96.8 F (35-36 C). The Mountain Pygmy possum cannot tolerate temperatures over 82.4 F (28 C) as stated by Fleming in 1985.

The population of the Eastern Pygmy possum (Cercartetus nanus) is decreasing due to various environmental and man-made issues and a lot is being done in order to save them from becoming extinct.

If you like what you read, do check out our fact files on common brushtail possum and honey possum.

Fun Eastern Pygmy Possum Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Eucalypts, pollen grains, and insects

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.022-0.11 lb (10-50 g)

How long are they?

1.9-4.7 in (5-12 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Grayish black

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Overgrazing, Frequent Forest Fire, Forest Clearing

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Forests And Shrublands











Eastern Pygmy Possum Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Eastern Pygmy possum?

These animals are terrestrial nocturnal marsupials that are endemic to Australia and its surrounding areas.

What class of animal does an Eastern Pygmy possum belong to?

The Eastern Pygmy possum belongs to the class of mammals under the kingdom of Animalia.

How many Eastern Pygmy possums are there in the world?

These animals are extremely quick in their movement hence it is difficult to trace the exact number of mature individuals and their distribution.

Where does an Eastern Pygmy possum live?

Eastern pygmy possums are endemic to South Australia and south-eastern Australia, in New Guinea. They are also found in the southern part of Queensland and Tasmania. These species are found in a variety of habitats including shrublands, rainforests, woodlands, and sclerophyll forests.

What is an Eastern Pygmy possum's habitat?

Pygmy possums are solitary nocturnal animals that are seen living in spherical nests in tree hollows. They also seek refuge in nests of birds that have been deserted.

Who do Eastern Pygmy possums live with?

Eastern Pygmy possums are solitary creatures and live on their own in torpor during winter. They make spherical nests in the barks of trees in the forests and stay there. They are often seen using multiple nests and sharing them with others of their kind sometimes.

How long does an Eastern Pygmy possum live?

The Australian eastern pygmy possum has a lifespan of up to five years out in the wild but can survive up to seven and a half years if kept in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

These species breed twice a year when food is available in abundance during autumn and spring and give birth to up to four joeys that they keep inside their pouches and feed up to two months. They make nests inside tree barks and mate there. The male pygmy possums do not assist the females in raising the offspring. The joeys are solely raised by the females until they are ready to fend for themselves.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN Red List, although the pygmy possum is listed under the category of Least Concern, their population is gradually decreasing.

Eastern Pygmy Possum Fun Facts

What do Eastern Pygmy possums look like?

These possums are marsupial creatures that have a striking resemblance to rats. These species have grayish black fur, big round ears, a pointed mouth, and a white base. The fur becomes scarce towards the base. They have big bulging eyes that are black in color. Their tail is relatively long compared to the body and has a flat base. They are quick-moving climbers that stay in abandoned bird nests and tree hollows.

Information and facts on this animal are interesting!

How cute are they?

Eastern Pygmy possums are cute marsupials that resemble rats. Their big black eyes and small round yet pointy ears make them look adorable.

How do they communicate?

They use chemical and tactile signals to communicate with each other. They also hiss, growl, and retract their gums when they are agitated.

How big is an Eastern Pygmy possum?

The Eastern Pygmy possum size ranges between 1.9-4.7 in (5-12 cm). They are often confused with mice but they are smaller than mice in reality. These possums are quite smaller than the ringtail possums.

How fast can an Eastern Pygmy possum run?

There is no information available on the exact speed of the eastern pygmy possum. However, the average speed of possums is 15 mph (24.14 kph).

How much does an Eastern Pygmy possum weigh?

Eastern Pygmy possums are one of the smallest species of possums in the entire world. They have a body mass of 0.022-0.11 lb (10-50 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Unfortunately, no separate names have been assigned to their male and female species. Both of them are known by the same name.

What would you call a baby Eastern Pygmy possum?

The young ones of a pygmy possum are known as a joey. They are only given birth to where there is no dearth of food, usually during autumn and late spring. A mature female pygmy possum can give birth to up to four offspring. The joeys are fed inside a pouch of the female pygmy possum, much like kangaroos till about they are two months old, after which they are weaned.

What do they eat?

Pygmy possums have nectar and pollen from eucalypts banksias and bottlebrushes and act as a pollinator for these plants. They also feed on fruits in absence of flowers. They are often seen feeding on insects when fruits or flowers are not readily available.

Are they dangerous?

Pygmy possums are innocuous and therefore cannot be directly called dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

The Eastern Pygmy possum as pets is not a good option as they are extremely difficult to catch and better off in their natural habitat, although in order to increase their population and for academic purposes they are often kept in captivity.

Did you know...

The offspring of the Eastern Pygmy possums attain full growth by the time they turn five months old.

The Eastern Pygmy possums become capable of breeding as soon as they turn three months old.

The Mountain Pygmy possums are confined to only a few geographical locations in Australia. They are found in the Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales, between the Mt. Bogong and Mt. Higginbotham range, and in the Mt. Buller to Stirling in Western Australia.

The Mountain Pygmy possum has a longer lifespan compared to other marsupials. But there is a disparity in the lifespan of the female and male species. While the males live up to an average of five years, the female species can survive more than twelve years sometimes.

These species while preying for insects catch them with their paws.

These species are known to hibernate for quite some time. They hibernate for up to seven months inside holes in the ground of nests in trees or their barks.

These species are polygynous in nature.

The male mountain pygmy possums, when not breeding, prefer staying from their female counterparts, as has been revealed in many studies.

When hibernating, they do not like being disturbed. If torpid, they can hiss when being bothered.

A very fascinating fact about these small species is that they have been recorded to have traveled several kilometers over two nights straight.

How high can Eastern Pygmy possums jump?

There is no accurate information available on how high eastern pygmy possums specifically can jump. However, possums, in general, can jump up to a height of 39 in (100 cm).

Why is the Eastern Pygmy possum endangered?

Although their conservation status is Least Concern according to the IUCN Red List, their population is gradually going down with time. Overgrazing by livestock and forest clearing for development is a posing threat to these small animals. Since they are seen in tree hollows and near shrubs this makes them exposed to the threat of fire regime. This in turn is contributing to the decline in the population of this species. Due to frequent forest fires, the plants whose nectar and pollen they feed on are getting completely burnt and destroyed. This too is an important reason behind the decreasing population of these animals. Lastly, animals like foxes, cats, and snakes are predators of these marsupials, prey on them, and pose a threat to their existence.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our honey possum facts and possum facts pages. 

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable long-eared jerboa coloring pages.


Second image by Phil Spark.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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