Australian Pygmy Possum

Happy Friday! What better on a day like today than an cute and tiny animal?


Just look at those paws! Love the long toes!

This is an Australian western pygmy possum or a mundarda. It is of course from Australia and is a marsupial with a prehensile tail. It has bright cinnamon colored fur with a white underside. Adults, tail included, are around 3 inches long and can weigh up to 21 grams. They are nocturnal, prefer to live alone, and eat mostly nectar and pollen from flowers.

(Martin Willis Photography)

For being possums these guys are really cute! Very different from their larger and stranger American cousins.

– Fizz

Eastern Quoll

The Eastern Quoll is a medium sized marsupial native to Australia. They are carnivorous, eating insects and small mammals.

Baby Quoll
Look at those spots!

There are six different species of quoll. This variety is now extinct on the main island of Australia but can be found in the wild in Tasmania. The last native quoll found on the mainland in 1963 had been killed by a car. The success of the Eastern Quoll in Tasmania is believed to be due to a lack of dingoes and foxes. Threats to the species include feral cats and humans hunting or poisoning them.

Sightings of “wild” Eastern Quoll on the mainland near Melbourne, Victoria, are considered to be escaped animals from a local conservation center or are thought to be those animals descendants. Many questions remain about these sightings, including how long these animals lived outside the sanctuary and if there is a successful breeding population. You can read more about those sightings in the article Victorian Eastern Quoll Specimens.

Eastern Quoll have pointed muzzles, white spots on their bodies with the a main fur color ranging from fawn brown to almost black, and they do not have any spots on their bushy tails. Some sources state they come in only fawn or black.

These little guys are adorable and it is very sad that they are no longer native in much of their past wild habitat. I hope that these cute creatures have a bright future ahead!

Adult black quoll:

Fawn brown colored Quoll:

Adult with black fur:
Black Eastern Quoll_1068

Adult with fawn fur:

There are even stuffed toys! You can find him different places for different prices, this one is here for $24.95.

— Fizz Pig

Wikipdia: Eastern Quoll
Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Services: Eastern Quoll

Chocolate Bilbies

In Australia chocolate bilbies are an alternative to chocolate bunnies for the Easter holiday. This prominence on store shelves keeps these little guys in the public eye and could help save an endangered species.

A chocolate bilby:

(Haigh’s Chocolates)

If you are unfamiliar, rabbits are a non-native species in Australia. After its introduction into the ecosystem with European settlers 200 years ago the bunny’s aggressive nature and quick breeding talents have taken a toll on native wildlife. Especially at odds with the rabbit is the native bilby – which once filled the niche that rabbits are taking over.

What is a bilby? They are rabbit sized nocturnal marsupials. Currently numbering in the 1000s, these little guys used to bounce all over Australia. Now they are endangered, from habitat loss due to people, to rabbits pushing them out of their burrows and eating their food supply, and from being eaten by foxes and feral cats. They are omnivores who have poor eyesight but very acute hearing and smell. Like the Koala, they do not drink water because their food provides it all.

A bilby out at night:

A 9 year old girl wrote a story called “Billy the Easter Bilby” in 1968 and published it 11 years later. This story helped to change public interest to move from using an Easter bunny to native wildlife, and in 1991 the Easter Bilby Campaign was started by the Foundation for Rabbit-Free Australia. Chocolate makers too began to support the Bilby effort and two major chocolate makers donate the profits made from the chocolate bilby sales to groups helping the real animals.  A lot of the money goes to fencing projects that keep cats and foxes out of bibly territory and into breeding programs.

Haigh’s chocolates has a page on their website dedicated to the bilby and how to help them, found here.

So if you live in Australia, please choose a chocolate bilby this year for your Easter Basket and not a chocolate rabbit. The program has already helped bring awareness to many Australians who will never see a bilby in the wild.  I hope that it continues to help and these little guys make even more of a comeback!

You can read more about this on NPR “Chocolate Bilbies, Not Bunnies, For An Australian Easter“.


Yay, today is my birthday!

I am excited because this is the coolest date for my birthday ever, 08-08-08!

In honor of my birthday, here are some Koala pictures from my Australian vacation:

Koala close up

Baby Koala seeking reassurance from mom

Taking a stroll across the branch