American Possums might not spring to mind for most of you when asked to name super cute animals, but this Australian Possum – nicknamed Pikachu – certainly is a handsome critter.
Pikachu was handed in to a wildlife rescue service in Melbourne last month. The orphaned critter has a genetic mutation which leaves her with a very striking coat of fur, which is of course how she got her name.
Now, I’m not saying this basically a real life version of a shiny Pokemon because that would be silly, but… come on. This is as close as we’ve ever gotten, surely?
The Age reports that Pikachu’s golden fur is a result of “low levels of melanin”, which means she has an exquisite shine instead of a regular brown coat. The gorgeous fur, plus those big ears, make for an adorable real life Pika. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like she has any electric abilities – if she did, that would clearly be the thrust of this article.
One unfortunate downside to Pikachu’s golden glow is that she can’t be released back into the wild, as it’s believed it would make her an easy target for any hungry predators out there.
Melbourne University’s Dr Kath Handasyde told The Age:
One of the issues with unusual colours, particularly if they are pale, is this a nocturnal animal and if they are pale they are obvious to predators like an owl.
Apparently, while Pikachu is a rare example of her kind, she isn’t the only one. There are “little pockets” of them living out on Victoria, but their locations are kept secret to keep them safe.
I’ll be honest, if I accidentally uncovered a little pocket of small golden possums that would be a very fine day indeed. They are literally too precious for this world.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.