Meet the (very cute) Mountain Pygmy-possum
March 4, 2023 1:08 AM   Subscribe

Meet the (very cute) Mountain Pygmy-possum: Australia’s only hibernating marsupial. Mountain Pygmy-possums often weigh less than a golf ball. They live in the alpine and sub-alpine regions of Victoria and New South Wales, and hibernate underneath the snow. They can hibernate for up to seven months of the year. Here they are waking up from hibernation. They like eating Bogong moths. Mountain Pygmy-possums are also very partial to peanut butter and chocolate: so much so, that wildlife researchers had to deliberately downgrade the tastiness/desirability of the bait that they were using in their research traps as the possums were getting "trap-happy" and they were catching the same individual possum several nights in a row.

Sadly they are critically endangered due to a variety of reasons including feral cats, feral foxes, habitat destruction, bushfires, and climate change, so there are currently a lot of breeding and conservation efforts underway to keep the species going.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries (11 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
They can hibernate for up to seven months of the year.

First: much respect and a bit of envy. Second: “hibernate” comes from the Latin root for “wintry” (hiberna), and refers to species dormant in the winter months. “Estivate” is for those who are dormant in the summer. I think a whole new word is called for here.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:30 AM on March 4, 2023 [1 favorite]

A marsupial a day keeps the doctors away.
posted by rubatan at 5:53 AM on March 4, 2023 [2 favorites]

Thank you. After a week of Wayne Shorter and David Lindley passing plus the daily onslaught of MAGA madness looking at those little guys was theraputic.
posted by aiq at 8:40 AM on March 4, 2023

Squee! And that waking up video was far too much cute.

They remind me of their distant cousin — and only Australidelphian outside Australasia — the monito del monte. This tiny ball of adorableness is featured in the Barack Obama National Parks documentary series and lives in South America
posted by scruss at 8:48 AM on March 4, 2023 [3 favorites]

definitely achieving the 'very cute' standard. I squee'd.
posted by supermedusa at 9:27 AM on March 4, 2023 [1 favorite]

Hibernate for half the year and trap-happy for chocolate and peanut butter? I have finally found my daemon.
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:33 AM on March 4, 2023 [6 favorites]

AAAAaaaaaa I can’t handle the cuteness!!!!
posted by kitten kaboodle at 10:55 AM on March 4, 2023

Here they are waking up from hibernation

posted by rhizome at 1:30 PM on March 4, 2023

they need some very tiny cups of coffee, and maybe a tiny donut.
posted by supermedusa at 2:08 PM on March 4, 2023 [6 favorites]

Meh. Our rats are awake all year 'round.
posted by SoberHighland at 4:18 PM on March 4, 2023 [1 favorite]

This post is very relevant, as we thought today was Time Change Day in these here parts, and it isn't, so we're adopting MPP hibernation techniques as shown in video. Please send tiny cups of coffee and tiny donuts.
posted by winesong at 8:39 AM on March 5, 2023 [2 favorites]

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