The Honey Possum is a tiny marsupial found only in the south-west of Western Australia. This region is one of the oldest parts of the earth and contains a rich variety of nectar-producing plants. When the ancestors of the honey possum arrived, most probably from South America more than 50 million years ago, they found a land of sweet nectar.

Finding a constant source of food as pollen and nectar has resulted, over the ages, in the honey possum slowly losing its teeth, so that today, they are just a few tiny pegs. Its tongue has become specialised to lick pollen, with a brush-like tip at the end, similar to that of a bird. Indeed, today, they are unable to chew the hard outer skeleton of insects, and are the only non-flying mammal in the world to survive on the products of flowers.

Although the gestation period of a honey possum is quite short, about three weeks, and the young joeys stay in the pouch for about nine weeks, they only raise about four to six young a year in their natural habitat.

This is not a very high rate of reproduction, compared with other small mammals, but it is obviously enough to have sustained the populations of honey possums through the ages. Scientists ponder whether this could be due to the very nutritious nature of pollen and the large amounts they eat, providing enough food, or whether the mother honey possum cares so well for her young that they all survive, or maybe both!

You can imagine, however, that the dependency of the honey possum on these particular nectar-producing plants makes it especially vulnerable to their loss through bush-fire and land-clearing.




Honey Possum South West, Western Australia
email : info@HoneyPossum.com.au

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