The Zoo’s Australian Fauna keepers were delighted to find the young gliders when checking the nest boxes of the adult breeding females. Born smaller than a grain of rice, it is believed the two individuals are approximately 85 days old.
Australian Fauna Supervisor, Belinda Turner, said: “The two gliders are now almost fully grown. They’re about the size of a small mouse and weigh approximately the same as two to three teaspoons of water. Soon we’ll check them over and see if they’re male or female.”
Importantly these new arrivals introduce a new genetic line into the Perth Zoo breeding colony as the births are the result of matchmaking Perth Zoo’s gliders with some recent new arrivals from Taronga Zoo in Sydney.
“When we introduced the Sydney gliders to the Perth gliders, there was a flurry of excitement and activity, but the group soon settled down and as a result we have produced these two gorgeous youngsters.”
“We’ll be pouch checking some of the other females in coming weeks and have our fingers crossed for more infants,” said Belinda.
Feathertail Gliders are found across the eastern seaboard of Australia. They are often mistaken for mice, but a closer inspection reveals they have a special membrane which stretches from front to rear feet that helps them glide up to 20 meters. They also have a delicate feathered tail that they use as a rudder during flight from which they get their name.
Although one of the lesser known Australian animals, the Feathertail Glider used to feature on the one cent coin before it was taken out of circulation.
Perth Zoo’s Feathertail Gliders can be seen in the Zoo’s Nocturnal House which helps the community learn more about Australia’s unique nocturnal wildlife, including Bilbies, ghost bats and quolls.