Squirrel Glider Fact File
The squirrel glider has blue-grey or brown-grey fur along its back with white or cream fur on its underside. A dark stripe runs from the centre of the head down to the middle of the back. They have a pink nose and relatively large ears.
At the end of their body is a long tail which measures 22-30cm (8.75-12in) long. This is longer than their body. Unlike the sugar glider which has a similar appearance they never have a white tip on their tail. It is grey along its length with a darker tip.
A membrane of skin sits between the front and back legs which allows them to complete their namesake glides.
Males are larger than the females. They will measure between 18 and 23cm (7-9in) long and weigh 190-300g (7-11oz).
This diet is seasonably variable.
Australia is the native home of the squirrel glider. Here they live in the east of the country through Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria.
They may still be present in South Australia though the last record of the species there is from Bordertown in 1990.
They make their home in forests, woodlands and rainforests. In parts of their range they have adapted to live in urban areas.
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Breeding takes place starting in August.
As a marsupial the female will give birth to two underdeveloped young who work their way in to her pouch. Here they remain for 70 days suckling milk from one of the four teats.
At the end of this 70 day period the female places them in a nest. This nest is a tree hollow which is lined with leaves. They will begin to forage with the adult and by four months old are ready to leave the nest.
Females may produce two litters in the same year.
Sexual maturity is reached at 1 year old.
Squirrel gliders live in groups with a dominant male, two females and their young.
When threatened the squirrel glider will let out a loud yip.
Their name comes from the ability to glide from one tree to another. They will jump from up in a tree and stretch out the gliding membrane between their front and back legs. By changing the curvature of this membrane they can change the direction in which they travel. Their glide may cover up to 100m (328ft).
Squirrel gliders are nocturnal and will emerge at night to feed. During the day they will rest in a tree hollow. During colder weather they place more leaves in their hollow to help insulate them.
Predators and Threats
Natural predators include owls such as the barking and powerful owl and lace monitors. Introduced predators including the red fox and domestic cat will prey on squirrel gliders.
Humans present a range of threats including habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, loss of tree hollows removing their nest sites and entanglement in barbed wire.
Their scientific name means Norfolk Island rope dancer but they are not found on Norfolk Island which lies off the coast of Australia.
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By Brisbane City Council, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23613882
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