A thin layer of skin between the front and back limbs help this marsupial glide between trees.
Description: Sugar Gliders have a short body with a long, bushy tail. They have a thick, soft fur coat, usually blue-grey in colour. A black stripe runs from its nose to midway down its back, while its belly, throat and chest are cream. Males are larger than females.
Diet: Sugar Gliders are omnivores, feeding on insects when they are easily found during summer and eating sap and gum during winter. They are opportunistic feeders, occasionally preying on lizards and small birds while eating nectar, seeds and fruits when available.
In the wild: There are seven recognised sub-species of Sugar Glider – three in Australia and four in New Guinea. Sugar Gliders are native across northern and eastern Australia, though it was introduced to Tasmania in the mid-1800s where it is threatening the survival of the Swift Parrot. It is one of a number of gliding possums in Australia, using the stretchy skin between fore- and rear-limbs to glide as far as 50 metres from tree to tree.
Sugar Gliders are social animals, living in groups of up to seven adults plus offspring. Both parents take care of young, allowing one adult to forage for food while the other keeps the newborn warm. They are nocturnal and take shelter during the day in tree hollows.
Threats: Clearing and logging of Australia’s forests has reduced the Sugar Glider’s habitat, though they are surviving well in remnant areas of bushland. Increased open space between forested areas increases the risk of predation by feral cats and foxes.
Did you Know?
Grooming doesn’t just help Sugar Gliders bond – it also identifies them as part of the group. Saliva and scents from glands on the forehead and chest of male gliders marks status within the group. Any gliders without the right scent markings are expelled from the group’s territory.