Australian Animal Archive

Australian Sugar Glider.

Petaurus breviceps (bre'-vee-seps: "short-headed rope-dancer")

Status: Abundant

Australian Sugar Glider

Sugar Gliders are the most commonly seen of all the glider species and weighs less than 150 grams. The Sugar Glider launches itself from a branch using its hind feet and star jumps into the air.

A membrane attached to the Sugar Gliders wrists and ankles opens either side of its body allowing the Sugar Glider to easily and gracefully glide from tree to tree.

The Sugar Glider can glide up to 50 meters and their ariel stunts are best seen after dark in open forests as they go in search of food.

During the day the Sugar Glider sleeps in a leaf lined nest they make in a hollowed out tree branch. Sugar Gliders are social animals, sharing the tree hollows with several adult gliders, usually a dominant male and several females with their infants.

The dominant male marks his territory with his male scent, drives off rivals and forces the young Sugar Gliders to disperse after 8 to 10 months. In cold weather or when food is scarce, individuals may enter a state of inactivity.

Most breeding occurs in June and July but in certain circumstances can carry through to November. The female usually rears 2 young and twins are common. Young Sugar Gliders can be seen emerging from the nest in spring and by summer they have perfected their gliding technique and set out to seek new social groups.

Characteristics:
Medium size body 18 - 23 cm long with a bushy tail up to 30 cm in length. Smoky blue to brown fur with dark stipe spanning from the forehead to half way down their back.
Habitat:
Most common in open forests especially near wattles using hollow trees for shelter.
Behaviour:
Sleeps in a leaf lined nest in hollows of large tree branches during the day. Forages the canopies and glides between food trees at night. Infants begin foraging with their mothers at about 15 weeks.
Breeding:
Breeding season is between June and July. 2 young are born, carried for 10 weeks then left in a group nest.
Feeding:
Eucalypt sap lapped from incisions made in the tree trunks. Wattle gum, invertebrates found under tree bark, nectar, pollen and seeds.
Voice:
Chatters or screams loudly when threatened or when fighting. A series of shrill barks to warn of predators.




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