Glider Images



Petaurus breviceps

My first introduction to these beautiful little creatures was many years ago after moving to Rosebank.
Late one night we could hear what sounded like a very small dog barking. We hurried outside, as we live fairly secluded and had no knowledge about any tiny dog in the area. We investigated and in a tree close by the house, we discovered a Sugar glider, very agitated and by the sound of things upset.
What a sight that was, the first time you see one of these it is wondrous.
We did not find out what the glider was upset about, as it hurried away seeing us, and we did not hear it again.

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. Obviously what we heard on our first encounter with the Sugar Glider. 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.

ocial 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 area 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 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.


Images by Katrina Ulyatt

Reference: The Australian Museum. 1996. "The Complete book of Australian Mammels."







©Wildlife Mountain 2000 - 2017


We would also like to acknowledge the amazing support and help we have had from the Lismore Vet Clinic who have been an invaluable support to both us and the native wildlife of this region.

All native birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles are proteced under the Wildlife Act 1975, they may not be captured or harmed in any way without an authority issued under the Wildlife Act.