Time to get fat again!
The temperature in the refrigerated Mountain Pygmy Possum enclosures will be turned up tomorrow! Keepers are very excited about working in an environment kept at 8 ◦C instead of the very cold 2 ◦C we have been enduring. Next week it will be turned up again to a balmy 12 ◦C!
The possums are beginning to get excited too – some of the males can smell other animals in nearby enclosures and are getting very active. “Mate choice” trials will begin in a few days, allowing the females to choose which male they prefer to father their babies. Our reproductive biologist, Marissa, will move a female possum to an enclosure with nesting material from different males and then film her reactions. When the recording is analysed it is possible to see which nest material the female possum prefers, and consequently which male scent she finds more attractive. Sometimes she likes the smell so much she rubs it all over her face! This method has been found to be very effective in producing happier pairs and hopefully more babies, which is very important for our captive breeding program. Perhaps it would be a better way for humans to find a partner too?
William is now fully awake, after a total of 22 weeks in torpor! He lost almost half of his body weight in this time going down from a hefty 94.7g in April to his lowest weight last week at 51.2g.
William himself is now a media superstar! Because he’s a reliable and easy-going little animal, he gets to meet visitors from all around the world on our Fighting Extinction (FE) Tour. Recently we had a visitor on the FE tour who had been studying the Mountain Pygmy Possum as part of a Ph. D, and had never yet seen one in the flesh – so this is an enormous privilege. Come to Healesville and sign up for the Tour, and you too can meet William in person!
Mountain Pygmy Possum Quiz
Of the 5 types of Pygmy-possum in Australia, the MPP is the:
C. Second smallest
(Look up the answer yourself, or find out next time)
Answer to last week’s Quiz Question: (b) All hibernating animals, including bears and squirrels as well as MPPs, undergo torpor for bouts which may last several days or weeks, with short periods of waking in between.
they are very cute possoms
Yes very cute possums Emily