Eastern Pygmy-possums are tiny (15 to 43 grams) active climbers, with almost bare, prehensile (capable of curling and gripping) tails, and big, forward-pointing ears. They are light-brown above and white below. Adults have a head and body length between 70 – 110 mm and a tail length between 75 – 105 mm.


The Eastern Pygmy-possum is found in south-eastern Australia, from southern Queensland to eastern South Australia and in Tasmania. In NSW it extents from the coast inland as far as the Pilliga, Dubbo, Parkes and Wagga Wagga on the western slopes.

Habitat and ecology

  • Found in a broad range of habitats from rainforest through sclerophyll (including Box-Ironbark) forest and woodland to heath, but in most areas woodlands and heath appear to be preferred, except in north-eastern NSW where they are most frequently encountered in rainforest.
  • Feeds largely on nectar and pollen collected from banksias, eucalypts and bottlebrushes; an important pollinator of heathland plants such as banksias; soft fruits are eaten when flowers are unavailable.
  • Also feeds on insects throughout the year; this feed source may be more important in habitats where flowers are less abundant such as wet forests.
  • Shelters in tree hollows, rotten stumps, holes in the ground, abandoned bird-nests, Ringtail Possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) dreys or thickets of vegetation, (e.g. grass-tree skirts); nest-building appears to be restricted to breeding females; tree hollows are favoured but spherical nests have been found under the bark of eucalypts and in shredded bark in tree forks.
  • Appear to be mainly solitary, each individual using several nests, with males having non-exclusive home-ranges of about 0.68 hectares and females about 0.35 hectares.
  • Young can be born whenever food sources are available, however most births occur between late spring and early autumn.
  • Agile climbers, but can be caught on the ground in traps, pitfalls or postholes; generally nocturnal.
  • Frequently spends time in torpor especially in winter, with body curled, ears folded and internal temperature close to the surroundings.
We acknowledge and thank the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage for the provision of threatened species information in this website.
Image by Phil Spark – flickr: Pilliga Forest: Threatened Eastern Pygmy Possum, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23944993
For more information:
NSW Office of Environment & Heritage