Long-tailed pygmy possum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Long-tailed pygmy possum[1]
Cercartetus caudatus.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Family: Burramyidae
Genus: Cercartetus
C. caudatus
Binomial name
Cercartetus caudatus
Long-tailed Pygmy Possum area.png
Long-tailed pygmy possum range

The long-tailed pygmy possum (Cercartetus caudatus) is a diprotodont marsupial found in the rainforests of northern Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea. Living at altitudes of above 1,500 m, it eats insects and nectar, and may eat pollen in place of insects in the wild.

It is known as sumsum in the Kalam language of Papua New Guinea.[3]


The long-tailed pygmy possum has large eyes, mouse/rodent-like ears, a pouch that opens anteriorly, and a tail that is about one and a half times as long as the body, giving the possum its name.


Not much is known of this possum's behaviour, but what is known is that this species is both nocturnal and arboreal. In cold weather, it becomes torpid and looks and feels dead, but wakes at night. Not much is known on the origin of this torpor.

Life cycle[edit]

This species breeds twice a year. Females have one to four young born around January and February and sometimes a second litter from late August to early September. The young leave the nest when they are 45 days old.

They only grow up to 10 cm (3.9 in).


  1. ^ Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 44. ISBN 0-801-88221-4. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Aplin, K.; Dickman, C.; Salas, L.; Burnett, S. & Winter, J. (2008). "Cercartetus caudatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2008.
  3. ^ Pawley, Andrew and Ralph Bulmer. 2011. A Dictionary of Kalam with Ethnographic Notes. Canberra. Pacific Linguistics.