Feathertail Glider

(Acrobates pygmaeus)

Feathertail Gliders are omnivorous, feeding on pollen, nectar, moths, ants and termites, and their long thin tongues enable them to collect pollen and consume semi-liquid food.

  • Photo credit: Ben Lake i
  • Photo credit: Ben Lake i
  • Photo credit: Ben Lake i

DESCRIPTION

Feathertail Gliders are another exquisite species living in the grounds of Wildlife Wonders.  The smallest gliding animal in the world, with an average weight of just 12g and measuring 6-8cm in head and body length, they live in forests and woodlands and are distinguished from other small marsupials by their feather-like tails, fringed with long stiff hairs, which act as a rudder during flight.  A gliding membrane extending from their elbows to their knees, allows them to glide more than 25m between trees, then cling to smooth surfaces with their large serrated toe pads.  They glide as often as five times each hour during the night. 

Their greyish brown fur is soft and silky on the upper body and white on the underside. There are rings of dark fur around the eyes, and they have a large number of whiskers sprouting from nose, cheeks and the base of each ear. 

They spend most of their time over 15m above the ground and, being nocturnal, spend their days resting in tree hollows lined with leaves or shredded bark. Up to five may share a single nest.

Females typically give birth to two litters of up to four young and are able to mate again soon after the first litter is born. The young remain in the pouch for around 60 days. Their predators are currawongs, kookaburras, foxes and feral cats. Their maximum lifespan is about five years.

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