Extinction realities

Mountain Pygmy Possum

Scientific name:  Burramys parvus (Broom, 1896)

IUCN Status: Critically Endangered listed by IUCN in 2008

Population:  Estimated population of 1,700 adult females and 550 adult males (Broom 2008)

Distribution: Endemic to south-eastern Australia.  


      Mountain Pygmy Possums are terrestrial and nocturnal animals with no recognized subspecies (1). The mountain pygmy-possum is the largest of the five species of pygmy-possum (family Burramyidae), usually found in rock screes and boulder fields (2) and the only mammals restricted to the alpine and subalpine habitats of south-eastern Australia (1,3). Females are found at higher elevations containing boulder fields  (7), and the species is reported to regulate their body temperature between 2℃ and 28℃. The species was taught to be extinct until 1966, when it was found in Sky lodge at Mt. Hotham, Victoria (8).

The Mountain Pygmy-possum is well adapted to living in an environment where there is a marked seasonal availability of food resources and an extended period of winter snow cover (5), they undergo hibernation  and adult commence hibernation in earlier April, while females commence hibernation in Late June. Adults hibernate for about seven months, and females for about five months (6)


The species is omnivorous and reported to weigh up to 44g. The Mountain Pygmy-possum could live up to five years in the wild and are friendly.


 The Mountain Pygmy Possum is the only marsupial in the world known to store food and hibernate for extended periods. It is also the only Australian mammal adapted to live exclusively in the alpine zone and they are critically endangered.

Theat includes: Climate change, Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, Extensive, frequent and intense fires and predator such as fox


  They are amazing creature, some people believe they help to reduce the population of Rat and Cockroaches, however, they are important and vital to a balanced ecosystem


  1. Menkhorst, P., Broome, L. & Driessen, M. (2008). Burramys parvus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T3339A9775825. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T3339A9775825.en.
  2. Threatened species scientific committee (2018), Burramys parvus, mountain pygmy-possum, Environment protection, and conservation acts. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/267-conservation-advice-01022018.pdf
  3. Fleming, M. R. 1985. The thermal physiology of the Mountain Pygmy-possum Burramys parvus (Marsupialia: Burramyidae). Austrian Mammal. 8: 79-90.
  4. Broome, L., Archer, M., Haijing Shi, H.B., Geiser, F., McAllan, B., Heinze, D., Hand, S., Evans, T., and Jackson, S. (2012). A brief review of the life history of, and threats to, Burramys parvus with a prehistory-based proposal for ensuring that it has a future. ResearchGate. DOI: 10.7882/FS.2012.018 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263297511
  5. Kortner, G. and Geiser, F. (1998). Ecology of natural hibernation in the marsupial mountain pygmy-possum (Burramys parvus). Oecologia. (113):170-178
  6. Geiser, f. and Broome, L. (1991). Hibernation in the mountain pygmy possum Buvvamys paruus (Marsupialia), Journal of Zoology London (223): 593-602.
  7. Broome, L. S. (2001b). Seasonal activity, home range and habitat use of the mountain pygmy possum Burramys parvus (Marsupialia: Burramyidae) at Mt Blue Cow, Kosciuszkon National Park. Austral Ecology 26, 275–292.
  8. Anon (1966). A relict marsupial. Nature 212:225.

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