The little creature you see here is a brushtail possum, and her golden fur color is adorable and makes her look a lot like Pikachu. In fact, the possum is actually named Pikachu because of her resemblance to the Pokemon character. The problem for Pikachu is that her golden color, caused by a genetic mutation, makes her a target for predators. It’s rare that brushtail possums with the golden fur mutation live long in the wild.
Pikachu was discovered lying on the ground by an unnamed person and was taken to Boronia Veterinary Clinic in Melbourne, Australia earlier this month. The creature is said to be somewhat anxious and is thought to have fallen off its mothers back; Pikachu is believed to be about five months old.
The possum is said to be in good health, despite its anxious demeanor. Brushtail possums are nocturnal animals, and Pikachu’s golden fur mutation makes her stand out in the dark. Being easier to see in the dark means that the animals are easier for predators to see and kill.
When asked if the possum will be released back into the wild, caregivers said if Pikachu becomes “a bit feisty” she might be eventually released. If the possum remains anxious, she will be kept in long-term care. A decision about the creature’s future will be made at a later date.
Other golden possums are known to live on the fringes of Melbourne; but the problem is that the possums are also very territorial making releasing Pikachu into the wild in areas with other golden possums an even bigger challenge. Caroline Dazey from Wildlife Victoria said that they get calls about the pockets of golden possums, but they try and keep the location a secret to protect the animals.