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Baby Pygmy-possum falls asleep on a volunteer’s hand

  • Conservation Volunteers Australia posted an image of the possum on Facebook
  • It is curled up in a ball surrounded by one volunteer’s very large hand
  • This Little Pygmy-possum from Tasmania weighs just 4.5 grams 

Possums, being noctural animals, aren’t usually seen during the day.

But one Pygmy-possum from Victoria was happy to make a brief appearance during waking hours… before the sun became too much and it nodded off to sleep in a volunteer’s hand.

The Conservation Volunteers Australia Facebook page has posted an adorable image of the barely-visible Pygmy who is laying curled up between the fingers of a man’s hand.

The Conservation Volunteers Australia Facebook page has posted an adorable image of the barely-visible Pygmy who is laying curled up between the fingers of a man’s hand

‘This Little Pygmy-possum is having a snooze,’ the caption reads.

‘Little Pygmy-possums go into torpor to conserve energy. This is one of two Little Pygmy-possums caught during today’s monitoring, weighing in at 4.5 grams about as heavy as a dice!’

The monitoring program is part of a broader plan by the group to ‘rewild the desert’, allowing volunteers to help ‘count, measure and collect information on the local mammals and habitat.’

This Little Pygmy-possum is from Tasmania and is the world's smallest species of possum. Adults can range from 6.6 to 7.5 centimetres in head to body length with a seven centimetre tail (stock image)

This Little Pygmy-possum is from Tasmania and is the world’s smallest species of possum. Adults can range from 6.6 to 7.5 centimetres in head to body length with a seven centimetre tail (stock image)

This Little Pygmy-possum is from Tasmania and is the world’s smallest species of possum. Adults can range from 6.6 to 7.5 centimetres in head to body length with a seven centimetre tail.

Why did the possum go into torpor? 

To cope with the cold Tasmanian winters the Little Pygmy-possum goes into torpor.

Torpor is a means by which an animal is able to reduce energy expenditure by lowering its metabolism. Its body temperature can drop to near that of its surroundings. Unlike true hibernation, torpidity generally only lasts for a few days at a time. 

Source: Parks & Wildlife Tasmania 

Possums have a very short lifespan, usually three years or less in the wild, where they have to contend with predators and cars. 

Many of the Facebook commenters gushed over the little mammal and its ‘tiny ears’, some even offering to volunteer in hopes they will run into the little critter.

But while some even asked to adopt the baby, wildlife experts warn that possums do not fare well in close confines.

You cannot keep a wild possum as a pet without a wildlife rehabilitation permit.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk