SUGAR GLIDER

Appearance

Blue-grey fury coat with a black stripe from their nose to midway down the back. They have a body length of 16-20cm and the tail is 16-21cm long (smaller than the squirrel glider),

They have a membrane that extends from the front finger to the back of the foot, on each side. This allows them to glide at distances of over 50m.

The sugar glider also has large eyes and ears that swivel to help locate prey in the dark.

Habitat

Prefers forests with eucalyptus trees. They are nocturnal so are most active at night and nest in hollows of trees during the day. They are considered arboreal (spend most of their lives in trees).

Sugar gliders are highly sociable animals and live in colonies of up to 7 adults and the offspring from that season. They all share a nest and defend their territory.

Behaviour

A dominant adult male will mark his territory and members of the group with saliva and scent produced by separate glands on the forehead and chest. Intruders who lack the appropriate scent marking will be violently expelled.

Diet

They are opportunistic feeders – primarily eating insects in summer and feed of acacia gum, eucalyptus sap, honeydew and manna in the winter when insects are scarce. They are also known to eat pollen, bird eggs, fungi and native fruits if food supply is low.

Breeding

May have one or two breeding periods per year, depending on climate and habitat conditions.

Gestation/pregnancy period is 15-17 days and having twins is very common. The joey will stay in the pouch early on but will be self-sufficient by 4 months and leave the nest at 10 months of age.

Predators

Native owls are their primary predator; however, kookaburras, goannas, snakes and cats also pose a significant threat to the sugar glider.

Life expectancy

Up to 9 years