Sugar Glider - Reptile Encounters

Sugar Glider

Scientific name:

Petaurus breviceps

Other names:

Indigenous names from Australia and PNG, including Lumbalk and Yeyang


Least Concern

Sugar gliders are relatively small native Australian possums with light grey fur and dark grey markings. The underside of the animal is white, with a long grey bushy tail.

Sugar gliders mainly consume fruit such as berries, as well as pollen, nectar, tree sap and will occasionally insects.

Sugar gliders live in dense forests, they need trees with small hollows to hide in during the day amongst a cluster of leaves and the rest of their sugar glider colony.

Sugar gliders are found in the northern, eastern and southern extremities of Australia.

Sugar gliders are named gliders because they are a gliding species of possum, which is made possible by their special skin membrane called the patagium. This membrane stretches from their wrists to their ankles along their flanks and can help them glide in a descent for up to 50m. Their long, bushy tail is used as a rudder to steer through the trees, as well as hold on to branches and balance, as their tail is semi-prehensile. This gliding behaviour can be observed at night, as the animal is nocturnal and hides in tree hollows during the day from their diurnal predators.

They are endothermic animals, meaning they are able to control their own body temperature, and their dense fur also helps keep them warm in cold weather.

Sugar gliders are marsupials, which means they have a pouch to raise their young after they are born. The pouch is necessary, as the uterus is too small to carry the baby any longer than 15-17 days. After this period the mother licks a path up her body to help the joey get to the pouch, where it will stay for another 2 months until they are able to thermoregulate, then they can climb out of the pouch and hold onto the mother.
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