Mountain pygmy possum

Common name: Mountain pygmy possum
Scientific name: Burramys parvus
Population: Declining
Conservation status: Critically endangered

Mountain pygmy possum bogong moth
Photo: Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies

Are Mountain pygmy possums endangered?

  • Mountain Pygmy possums are critically endangered. They were actually thought to be extinct until they were rediscovered at Mt Hotham in the 1960s.
  • They continue to be under pressure from many threats including lack of food as Bogong moth numbers crash, climate change as their habitat warms, the development of ski resorts and feral cats and foxes.

How many Mountain pygmy possum's are left? 

  • There are less than 2,000 Mountain pygmy possums left in the wild.
  • Fossil records show they have existed for about 10,000 years. 

What is special about the Mountain pygmy possum?

  • The Mountain pygmy possum are the only Australian marsupial that hibernates, spending up to seven months asleep in the snow. 
  • So tiny, these possums are about 40 grams and about 250 mm long — but over half of their body is their tail. 
  • The female can live for up to 13 years, making it the longest-living small marsupial known. Males live for up to five years.

What do Mountain pygmy possums eat?

  • Their most important food source is the Bogong moth. This moth is now threatened which puts the Mountain pygmy possum in danger. 
  • The possums also eat Mountain plum pine, berries, fleshy fruits, insects, nectar and seeds. 
  • As Bogong moths are in decline, conservationists are leaving out 'Bogong biccies' in place of the moths. 

Where can I see Mountain pygmy possums?

  • Mountain Pygmy-possums live in the rocks and boulders found in the Bogong High Plain, Mt Buller in Victoria and Mt Kosciuszko in New South Wales.
  • They are nocturnal so when they are awake, from spring to autumn, they can only be seen at night. 

Mountain pygmy possum
Photo: Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies

The Mountain pygmy possum is missing in the wild

We can’t imagine an Australia without the Mountain pygmy possum.

But Mountain pygmy possum's are missing in the wild. Because our leaders are missing in action.

That’s why we demand strong environment laws that will save our iconic wildlife.

We need laws that actually protect nature, including strong outcome-focused environmental standards and an independent regulator to oversee decision-making.

Speak up for the Mountain pygmy possum

Add your voice to the petition to the federal government, asking our elected representatives to support ambitious global goals for nature to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and achieve a Nature Positive world by 2030 — and invite your friends to raise their voice to nature too. 

Australia must work with other nations to deliver ambitious global goals for nature to halt and reverse biodiversity destruction and set us on a path to a nature-positive world. 

Read more

Flight of the Bogong moth — and the possum who waits 


Header: Jiri Lochman/Lochman Transparencies