Cercartetus nanus Click to enlarge image
Two Eastern Pygmy Possums are positioned on red bottle brush. Their positioning, with their faces touching, makes them appear to form a heart shape. Their side profiles shoe the pinkish insides of their ears and nose. Their fur is predominantly grey, with a white underbelly. Image: Kathy Atkinson
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    nanus
    Genus
    Cercartetus
    Family
    Burramyidae
    Order
    Diprotodontia
    Subclass
    Marsupialia
    Class
    Mammalia
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    Body 70 mm - 110 mm, Body weight 15 g - 43 g
  • Life history mode
    nocturnal
  • Feeding Habits
    frugivorous, insectivorous, nectarivorous

The Eastern Pygmy Possum is a tiny marsupial.

Identification

The Eastern Pygmy Possum has the following distinguishing features:

  • Front teeth Three pairs of upper incisors, one pair of lower incisors.
  • Head Rounded head and very large eyes. Long whiskers.
  • Ears Large ears.
  • Colouring Fawn above, white below. Soft dense fur.
  • Tail Prehensile tail with seasonally fattened base, naked underside, furred above, tapers to fine point. 75-105 mm.

Similar species

Sometimes mistaken for a rat or mouse.

Habitat

The Eastern Pygmy Possum lives in forests, from rainforest and sclerophyll to heath.

Distribution



Feeding and diet

The Eastern Pygmy Possum feeds on nectar and pollen from eucalypts, banksias, and bottlebrushes, supplemented by insects and fruit.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Eastern Pygmy Possums are nocturnal.

Life history cycle

Mother Eastern Pygmy Possums nest with their young in tree hollows or in small spherical nests of shredded bark. The possums may also shelter in abandoned bird nests or the forks of trees.