Sugar Gliders

 

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Sugar Gliders

A highly social creature living in the trees of tropical Australia and surrounding islands, the sugar glider as the name would imply is capable of "gliding" great distances (up to 150 feet) by opening a flap of skin located between the front and back legs.  Once the sugar glider leaps from a branch, the flap allows controlled decent and even some horizontal travel.  The little creature is usually gliding to an adjacent tree. 

Fond of sweet fruit and nectar, the sugar glider is most often seen chewing away at the bark of certain tree species to obtain the nectar found behind the bark. Closely resembling the North American flying squirrel in appearance, the sugar glider is actually not related in anyway to our little squirrel.  The flying squirrel found in the United States is a rodent; the sugar glider is a marsupial.  The habitat of both creatures is very similar. Many aspects of their natural history, other similarities occur.  The physical differences ,however,  between a rodent and a marsupial, are quite pronounced. 

While our flying squirrels are actually rodents, very similar in fact to a large mouse, or a small rat.  The sugar glider is actually more closely related to a kangaroo than the flying squirrel in your back yard! 

The Sugar Glider is sometimes referred to as a possum in their native habitat of Australia.

This animal is actually one of the smallest marsupials on the planet!! Baby sugar gliders are born after a very short gestation and make their way to the mothers pouch in a fashion very similar to kangaroos!

Their numbers in the wild appear to be stable in most parts of their range. 

Range: Australia & Tasmania, probably an introduced species on the island of Tasmania.

Natural Diet: Insects & Nectar, varies widely by season and geographical range. 

Diet at Rain Forest: Prepared glider diet with fresh fruits and occasionally nuts. 

RainForest Facts: In the wild sugar gliders have been known to glide for up to 150 feet between tree branches. They can actually steer their bodies in flight by using the flap of skin called a patagium; this large flap of skin extends from the 5th toe on the hands and back to the first toe on on the rear feet.  Sugar gliders are called possums in their native country.

Sugar Gliders as Pets

Size: 3-5 ounces

Status in Wild: Stable, may actually be expanding range in some parts of its natural range.  The introduction of this species as unwanted pets into suitable habitats is a growing concern. 

High Resolution Pictures Available

 

RainForest Adventures zoo, Smoky Mountains, Tennessee near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN