A strange mutation has made one of the world’s ugliest real animals look like one of the cutest fictional ones. A brushtail possum was brought to a clinic in Melbourne, Australia, with unique golden coloring. The caretakers there affectionately named her Pikachu, after the famous Pokemon.
The Age reports that Pikachu (the possum, not the Pokemon) has low levels of melanin which causes the fur color abnormality. She also happens to have large ears, which helps the comparison. She was found lying on the ground and vets say she probably fell off her mother’s back. Though she’s in good health now, the vets say she probably won’t be released into the wild because her unique coloring makes her an easy target for predators.
The golden possum abnormality isn’t unheard of, but they usually don’t live long due to their vulnerability. Caroline Dazey from Wildlife Victoria says the state has “little pockets” of the critters, but they try to keep their location secret.
This orphaned brushtail possum is affectionately known as Pikachu, for obvious reason https://t.co/IpVC76vvUf
— The Age (@theage) November 30, 2018
The family resemblance makes sense. Pikachu the Pokemon is classified as an “Electric Mouse,” so its design was loosely based on a member of the rodent family. Possums are similarly rodents, so all it takes is a little coloring and a cute complexion to bear some similarity.
Pikachu has been the breakout star and mascot of the Pokemon franchise since the early days. Most recently, he’s getting a starring role voiced by Ryan Reynolds in the upcoming Detective Pikachu film, and was one of the two mascot characters to appear on the cover of Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee.