Zoos Victoria

Walk or ride to work or school. This will reduce your carbon footprint and helps tackle climate change

Act Now for the pygmy-possum

What else can you do?

Switch off lights in the snow!
Bogong moths are a vital food source for these possums when they wake from their winter sleep. Lights from buildings in alpine resorts distract the moths from going to the boulder fields where the possums are waiting for their important feast

The Mountain Pygmy-possum is Australia’s only hibernating marsupial. There are thought to be less than 2000 of these little Possums left in the wild.

All 3 populations occur in the alpine and sub-alpine regions of the Bogong High Plains and Mt Hotham in Victoria, and Mt Kosciusko in New South Wales. Each group are genetically distinct but all share a love of a good winter sleep under the snow.

The population at Mt Buller was only discovered in 1996 and is at most risk of extinction.

Healesville Sanctuary has established a captive-breeding program using temperature controlled enclosures that simulate the natural temperature range the possums would experience in their wild alpine habitat. In 2013 we released 13 captive born Mountain Pygmy-possums back to Mount Buller!

  • The Mountain Pygmy-possum is Australia's only hibernating marsupial
  • They weigh roughly the same as a Caramello Koala (45g) but can double their weight prior to hibernation
  • They are Australia's only mammal living exclusively in Alpine areas
  • They feed on invertebrates, seeds and fruit
  • They gain weight for hibernating by feasting on Bogong Moths in spring and summer
  • Males and females live separately with males climbing the mountain to find a mate during the spring breeding season
  • They rely on a thick blanket of snow for insulation during their winter hibernation which lasts for 5-7 months!

Habitat loss and modification due to developments such as ski resorts, roads, dams and aqueduct have made life hard for these little guys.

They are also prone to predation by feral animals, including dogs, foxes and cats

Bushfires can have have a devastating impact on the 3 populations- in 2007 bushfires came close to burning the remaining Possum habitat at Mt Buller

Competition for diminishing food and habitat with other small mammals such as the Bush Rat

Climate change- The require a thick snow cover for insulation when hibernating. Without this they will be exposed to much lower temperatures and use up far more energy in winter.

At our Zoos...

  • Healesville Sanctuary

In the Wild...

  • Mount Buller
  • Mount Hotham