In a couple of weeks the keepers will turn up the temperature in the MPP rooms to encourage William and his buddies to wake up for the spring. Then it will be time to find a suitable mate… perhaps more than one, as MPPs are not monogamous but live in social groups. Both males and females may mate with several different partners, resulting in litters of young that are fathered by more than one male.
Young MPPs are born like all marsupial young, very tiny and immature. The female actually gives birth to more young than her pouch can hold – she has four teats to which the babies attach, so she can only raise four babies even though perhaps up to eight are born… (it’s a competitive world right from the start for these little animals!)
Speaking of William’s buddies, did you know we have around 80 MPPs here at Healesville Sanctuary? Our breeding program is providing hope for this critically endangered species.
William himself is going well, with his current weight at 51.2g.
Mountain Pygmy Possum Quiz
All hibernating animals, including bears and squirrels as well as MPPs, undergo torpor…
a. For the entire winter, not rousing at all
b. For bouts which may last several days or weeks, with short periods of waking in between
c. Until a handsome prince comes and kisses them
(Look up the answer yourself, or find out next time)
Answer to last week’s Quiz Question: (b) Alpine boulder fields provide perfect MPP habitat in winter because the spaces between the large boulders remain snow-free, and the temperature is milder under the blanket of snow