Monday, May 9, 2011

Sugar Glider

Petaurus breviceps
Oh the ever so adorable Sugar Glider. Did you know that these popular exotic pets are also members of team Marsupial? Like yesterday's Southern Marsupial Mole, Sugar Gliders are also a great example of convergent evolution. They closely resemble, and behave like, the flying Squirrels found around the world, yet they are actually Marsupial Possums! (Not to be confused with Opossums, but we'll cover those guys later in the week).

Wild Sugar Gliders are found in northern and eastern Australia, as well as in New Guinea. There are seven location-based subspecies.

Sugar Gliders are nocturnal and arboreal, and also never touch the ground! They have skin flaps between their front and back legs that allow them to glide as far as 325ft (100m), they also use their tails to help steer while in the air.

Sugar Gliders are  omnivores that feed on various nectar, gums, and saps, as well as on insects. The are very social, especially for marsupials, and live in groups of about half a dozen adults and their offspring. Huddling together helps to keep them warm when temperatures drop, though the species will also go into torpor if the weather gets especially cold.

Sugar Gliders have become popular exotic pets in recent years, but they are also traded illegally. If you have an interest in owning one of these little Marsupials, please keep in mind that they are expensive, require a large amount of space and a specialized diet, and have numerous other drawbacks. Please do your research carefully!

IUCN Status :  Least Concern
Location : Australia and New Guinea
Size : Full length up to 13in (30cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Infraclass : Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia -- Family : Petauridae -- Genus : Petaurus -- Species : P. breviceps

2 comments:

  1. someone put on craigs list about to small ones does it have any major issuses?What does it eat in captivity?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing, Lauren! This is the kind of information people must read before they consider owning a sugar glider. Sugar glider are indeed adorable. And because they are social animals, they make good pets. But they need extra care and attention, not just for their size, but also because they are still exotic animals adapting to captivity.

    Sherri Briggs @ Pet Glider

    ReplyDelete

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