Head & Body Length
Males and females are relatively the same size
at around 16 - 21 cm
Tail length is approximately 17 - 21cm roughly
the same size as the body length.
Weight Up to 160g.in males, 120g.for females
Sugar gliders live in dense to medium eucalypt forests, having a home
range of about 3 hectares. It can volplane for at least 50 meters
through the trees, not a bad effort when we consider the size of this
off with its hind legs leaping from tree to tree, spreading membranes,
which extends on each side of the body from the fifth finger to the
first toe of the foot.
It steers and maintains stability by varying
the curvature of the left or right membrane. When it is about 3 meters
from target tree it brings its hind legs in towards the body and with
an upward swoop lands with four feet on the bark.
Unfortunately they do not always estimate the distance
quite right, and are sometimes found at the base of a tree, dead,
or with head injuries, due to collision of a branch or the trunk of
The Sugar Glider has a variety of calls, a shrill
yapping that is a warning to others of danger.
They will also emit a sharp threatening growl, which you may hear
when they are fighting. Chatter also takes place in the nest, this
is usually not heard by us, it is a gurgling sound, heard by carers
when we are lucky enough to have the pleasure of caring for one of
They nest in tree hollows, once again we are reminded
how important the old trees are for our native animals, as they are
used by so many species for nesting and shelter. The nest is called
a den and is lined with gum leaves.
Social groups are made up of up to 7 adults and
their young sharing a common nest. The male uses his scent glands
to mark all members of the group, and intruders are shown no mercy.
Mating takes place in June so young is emerging in
spring when food is abundant. The female will normally produce 2 young,
they remain in the pouch for 70 days, then stay in the common nest
for another 30 days.
At about 3-4 months old they will venture out at night usually on
the mothers back, or close behind her.
At the age of 7-10 months old, both male and female young have to
leave the home territory, if there has been a loss of a female, they
will allow a young female to stay with the family group.
Males will have to find vacant territory, mortality
rate at this stage is high, especially as clearing, loss of habitat,
introduction of cats and dogs take place in areas where these animals
The Sugar glider lives on gum produced by acacias, sap of certain
eucalypts, new tips of eucalypt leaves, native flowers such a Grevillia,
Bottlebrush and insects.
If the weather is very cold they will conserve energy
by huddling together or by becoming torpid for up to 16 hours at a
time, they may also do this if food supply is short.
Head and body length for both male and females are
17centimeters on average, the long bushy tail measure about 19 centimeters.
Males are a bit broader and weigh in at 140gram females 120gram average.
They are bluish grey above, and underneath a pale brown colour, black
stripe runs from the eyes to mid back. Tail
is grey to almost black and can have a white tip.
Sugar gliders are found along the coastal strip
of Eastern Australia from Tasmania through to Northern territory.
Predators include owls, feral and domestic cats,
kookaburras, lace monitors and foxes.
Main reason for Sugar gliders coming in to care with WIRES is due
to cat attacks, as was the case with this little sugar glider. She
was brought in to care in her dead mothers pouch together with her
brother, both died due to infection caused by the cat's claws 2 days
after coming in to care.
Many native animals drown in cattle water troughs. They will try to access the water but if they fall in they can not get back out..
A simple solution to this is to put in a stick or hang a rope from the edge of the trough so that any animal that fall in can climb back out.
Images by Katrina Ulyatt
Gliding image by G.Suckling
The Australian Museum. 1996. "The Complete book of Australian