Friends, folks, comrades, cop an eyeful of this golden possum. Look at it. Study it closely.
You may never see another again, or you might, because this little golden boi actually lives in the Dandenongs.
That’s right. In your backyard, while you’re sleeping at night, this golden brushtail possum could be crawling and trawling through your trash or roof cavity.
I know what you’re thinking though, the Dandenong Ranges is already known for its mystical wildlife, so what makes this one any different?
Well, unlike the albino stag, or the ‘completely real’ Dandenong Ranges Black Panther, golden possum is a true and real phenomenon, and most importantly, it’s been captured on camera.
Teagan Faull from Olinda captured the flaxen flavoured fella climbing a tree in Sherbrooke Forest on 12 August.
From these photos, we can deduce that like his brush-tailed brethren he enjoys nibbling on green things and scaling large trees, but that’s where the similarities stop. Unlike the common grey brushtrail possum, he is golden, which amongst any species suggests superiority.
But, according to Healesville Sanctuary Veterinarian Doctor Meg Curnick the flashy golden fur may actually be a bit of a burden.
Dr Curnick told the Mail that the Australian Wildlife Health Centre at Healesville Sanctuary sees at least 1-2 of these rare possums every year, and that their golden colour is a result of a rare genetic mutation called leucism.
“As a ballpark – we would see several hundred brushtail possums at the Australian Wildlife Health Centre each year, but of these only 1-2 would be golden brushtails,” Dr Curnick told the Mail.
“Leucism occurs in many species, and causes partial loss of pigmentation. This leads to colouration, which is paler than usual in skin, eyes, hair, and feathers.”
“It is very likely that leucism is not a helpful mutation for brushtail possums. Their pale colouration makes them more visible to predators, meaning that they are overall less likely to survive and reproduce in the wild.”
So there we have it. The reason you don’t see these golden Pikachu possums is because they’re susceptible to bush dangers, and therefore have an unusually low life expectancy.
It’s a twist that not even Mem Fox could have predicted.