Sugar and Squirrel glide back to nature
A MALE juvenile sugar glider came to WIRES in March, at the same stage of development as a squirrel glider already in care. They recuperated and matured together and have recently been soft released with each other to go back into the wild.
Gliding possums are marsupials. A gliding possum has a 'gliding membrane' - a thin sheet of skin which stretches between its forepaws and its ankles. When it leaps from a branch, its outspread limbs extend the membrane, allowing the animal to glide from tree to tree.
At first the leap is downwards, but as the animal increases speed, the angle of flight flattens out. With its long, well-furred tail acting as a rudder, the glider can steer towards its next tree. Then, just before landing, it uses its tail to bring it into a 'nose up' position (much like an aircraft landing). Feet stretched out in front, it is ready to grasp the tree trunk on which it will land.
Gliders usually make their nests in tree hollows, which they line with dry leaves.
They feed at night on a diet including nectar, pollen, insects and the sap of certain eucalypt or wattle trees.
Gliders are protected in NSW. The squirrel glider is quite uncommon, listed as vulnerable under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995).
Glider information reproduced with permission of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
Contact WIRES for rescues, advice or enquiries. The 24-hour hotline is for all calls to WIRES in the Northern Rivers - 66281898.