Sugar Glider Facts
- The Sugar Glider is a small and rather adorable species of flying marsupial. Despite a resemblance, it has no relationship to flying squirrels but is actually a type of possum.
- The common name for this adorable animal derives from two factors. The first is its tendency to glide through the air, while the other is its affinity for sugary foods during the winter.
- Despite a reduction of indigenous habitat, its numbers thankfully appear to be remaining steady. For this reason, the IUCN has listed it as a Species of Least Concern.
- These precious little creatures have proven themselves to be extremely resilient to change. For the moment, the animal appears to be able to survive in small, isolated patches of forest.
Sugar Glider Physical Description
The Sugar Glider has a thin, elongated body shape, similar to a squirrel, thus often leading to the common confusion many people experience.
Sexual Dimorphism appears in this species, with males typically being slightly larger than females. Females average 12 in (30.5 cm) in body length, yet males reach roughly 13 in (33 cm) in total size.
In addition, the tail grows relatively long and partially prehensile, like many possums, and the fur develops thick and soft. In color, individuals typically present a combination of blue-gray, yellow, and tan on the back and sides.
The underbelly also typically has a cream color, while a large black stripe generally appears from the nose to midway down the length of the back.
The eyes also remain large and set far apart, and a thin membrane extends from each front foot to each hind foot. When extended, this allows the animal to glide from branch to branch.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Diprodontia
- Family: Petauridae
- Genus: Petaurus
- Species: P. breviceps
Sugar Glider Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Not surprisingly, the Sugar Glider evolved as endemic to Australia and parts of Tasmania, New Guinea, and numerous islands in the region.
Individuals typically inhabit regions at altitudes of up to 6,562 ft (2,000 m). Being highly adaptable, it may be found in either temperate forests or rainforests, and occasionally in regions of scrub.
These arboreal creatures remain principally nocturnal in nature and seasonally-adapted omnivores by nature. During the Spring and Summer, it feeds as an insectivore. During the winter, however, it feeds on the gum and sap of various plants.
Its primary predators include snakes and owls. The marsupial also evolved as highly social creatures, commonly living in small groups or colonies.
Reproduction occurs 1-2 times per year, depending on environmental conditions. A typical lifespan in the wild is about 9 years.