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Honey Possum or Noolbenger

Tarsipes rostratus


The Honey Possum (Tarsipes rostratus) is a tiny marsupial weighing just 5 to 10 grams — not much more than half the size of a mouse. One of the very few entirely nectarivoruos mammals, it has a number of unusual adaptations to its favoured habitat, the low-growing heathy scrub of the south-west corner. It has a prehensile tail and, instead of claws, it climbs using soft, fleshy pads on the tips of its fingers and toes. It has a long, pointed snout and a long, protusible tongue with a brush tip like that of a honeyeater. Although restricted to a fairly small range, it is locally common and does not seem to be threatened with extinction so long as its habitat remains intact and diverse. Floral diversity is particularly important for the Honey Possum as it cannot survive without a year-round supply of nectar, and unlike nectarivorous birds, it cannot easily travel long distances in search of fresh supplies. It is thought to be the sole survivor of an otherwise long-extinct marsupial group. It has no close relatives and is currently classified as the only member of its genus and of the family Tarsipedidae. Some authorities believe that it is sufficiently distinct to be more properly raised to a separate superfamily within the Diprotodontia. The Honey Possum is mainly nocturnal but will come out to feed during daylight in cooler weather. Generally, however, it spends the days asleep in a shelter of convenience: a rock cranny, a tree cavity, the hollow inside a grass tree, or an abandoned bird nest. When food is scarce or in cold weather, it becomes torpid to conserve energy.

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Christiane 5 years ago

Thanks StephenSolomons. It was a treat and a big surprise.. :)

StephenSolomons 5 years ago

What a treat to see one of these little guys!

Christiane 6 years ago

Thanks craigwilliams.. This was a very lucky find! :)

craigwilliams 6 years ago

Priceless! :)

Christiane 6 years ago

Thanks Argy and J.. This photo is very special for me too. :)

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 6 years ago

Spectacular. What a lovely species and photo! :-)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Incredibly special spotting thanks Christiane. Wish I could double favourite.

Christiane 6 years ago

Thanks Alice.. It is the only one that I ever found in the wild!! ;)

alicelongmartin 6 years ago

Christiane, How cool, I see ths is the only picture of a Honey Possum we have!

Christiane 6 years ago

Thank guys.. I think it was my most lucky find and I love the photo. :)

Adorable !

LuisStevens 6 years ago

Beautiful Christiane!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Gorgeous little possum !

Smith Zoo
Smith Zoo 6 years ago

Very sweet indeed! Well done!

Christiane 6 years ago

Thanks Karen.. ;)

KarenL 6 years ago

Adorable Christiane!

borzrach 8 years ago

Wow.. how lucky you are.. This possums a very rarely seen in the wild. Such a great shot. Thanks for sharing..

Christiane 8 years ago

This little Possum is now very close to extinction! Sooo sad!

Spotted by

Western Australia, Australia

Lat: -33.87, Long: 119.88

Spotted on Jan 18, 2010
Submitted on Apr 18, 2011

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