Species profile

Sugar Glider

Sugar Glider

Range and abundance

Sugar Gliders are locally common in parts of their range that extends around the north and eastern coastal areas of Australia. It occurs from the Kimberley region in Western Australia, across the north of Australia to the tip of Cape York Peninsula and south to Victoria and Tasmania. They are common where there are plentiful tree hollows for shelter and abundant food.

Description

The sugar glider is a small arboreal marsupial. It has a head-body length of 16 – 21 cm and a 16 – 21 cm tail. Adults weigh 100 – 160 grams, with males slightly heavier than females. The body is covered with grey to brown fur with a prominent dark dorsal stripe that extends to the forehead. Its tail is long, well-furred and prehensile. It has stretchy membranes that extend on both sides of the body between the front and back limbs. 

Ecology

Sugar gliders are social, nocturnal and arboreal. They live in woodlands that contain tree hollows and sufficient food. They spend their nights gliding between trees and climbing in the foliage in search for their diet of tree sap, nectar, pollen, and invertebrates. During the day, small social groups, often containing several adults and that season’s young, generally share a common nest in a tree hollow or with a ball of leaves. Breeding starts in June or July, and females usually give birth to two young, which become independent of the group when they are seven to ten months old.

Threats

The Sugar Glider is likely threatened by clearing of its native woodland habitat by urban and agricultural development, altered fire regimes and predation by introduced predators including cats and foxes.


What is AWC doing?

AWC protects Sugar Glider habitat on its sanctuaries through a program of fire management and feral herbivore control. AWC’s program of prescribed burning is designed to decrease the intensity and frequency of wildfires that may destroy the tree hollows that Sugar Gliders use for nesting in and also decrease food availability. 

Did you know:

The Sugar Glider has developed behaviours and physiology to allow it to withstand extremely cold temperatures. In very cold conditions, sugar gliders huddle together in nests of leaves or in tree hollows. They conserve energy by going into torpor – a physiological condition not unlike hibernation.