Sugar Glider

Petaurus breviceps

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 animal.

It sets 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 tree.

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 these species.

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 are found.
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 fromthe 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.

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.

Reference: The Australian Museum. 1996. “The Complete book of Australian Mammals.”