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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Did You Know? Incredible Sugar Glider Facts

Sugar glider facts are very interesting

A sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps) is a small arboreal marsupial belonging to the Australian continent. The big eyes of this species have been the center of attraction for many because they give them an innocent look. The sugar glider is quite tiny, and it has the unique ability to glide from one tree to the next with the help of a soft membrane present between its wrists and ankles. As arboreal animals, a sugar glider seldom leaves a tree, and its favorite nest location is at the top of a eucalyptus tree. An interesting aspect of this marusupial species is its diet which includes everything from sugary tree sap to pollen, and at times it can even munch on fungi. Sadly, the cute look of the sugar glider has also made it a target for poaching and it is rampantly sold in exotic pet markets. Their current conservation status is of Least Concern, but their numbers are declining rapidly.

Keep on reading to learn more interesting sugar glider facts. Also, check out the articles on Japanese macaque and fur seals to have a diverse knowledge of animals.

Sugar Glider Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a sugar glider?

Sugar gliders are a type of small arboreal marsupials that are categorized as possums.

What class of animal does a sugar glider belong to?

The sugar glider falls under the class Mammalia and the genus Petaurus.

How many sugar gliders are there in the world?

No particular study has been done to study the total population of sugar gliders in the world. However, sugar gliders take up a big proportion of the exotic pet market.

Where does a sugar glider live?

Sugar gliders are native to Australia, New Guinea, Tasmania, and some Indonesian islands. As an arboreal animal, it prefers to stay in areas that are covered with trees. Because of the pet trade, sugar gliders have managed to reach the furthest corners of the world as people's pets. In the wild, sugar gliders are mainly found in tropical and cool-temperate forests.

What is a sugar glider's habitat?

A sugar glider enjoys living in several different habitats, including rainforests, coconut plantations, sclerophyll forests, and acacia scrubs. These small nocturnal animals like to make their nests on top of eucalyptus trees and in tree hollows. In Australia, sugar gliders are mainly found around the eastern, southern, and northern coastlines. These animals can also be found at an elevation of 2000 m (2 km). Sugar gliders have a high tolerance level towards temperatures and can even live at a temperature of 104 F (40 C) because of their unique coping mechanisms.

Who do sugar gliders live with?

Sugar gliders are highly social animals, and they often live in family groups. Up to seven adults can inhabit a single nest, and sugar gliders even take part in grooming each other. In the winter, the animal is known for huddling with its nestmates to enter the torpor condition.

How long does a sugar glider live?

In the wild, an average sugar glider lifespan is around five to nine years. However, in captivity, a sugar glider may manage to live up to 15 years. Even though sugar gliders live for a long time and don't die easily, acute trauma and stress can lead to an early demise.

How do they reproduce?

Sugar gliders are polyestrous in nature, so it has several heat cycles in a year. Female sugar gliders have a marsupium or pouch on their abdomen to carry the offspring, just like kangaroos. They have two to four nipples inside their pouches to feed the young. Males have a bifurcated penis which helps to adapt with the two uteri of the females. Sugar gliders reach the age of maturity around four to 12 months, after which they can have their own offsprings. Wild sugar gliders usually mate two times a year, depending on the temperature and habitat. Those that inhabit the southwestern Australian landscape are known to mate in the months of June to November. Sugar glider females have a low gestation period of 15 to 17 days, and they usually give birth to one or two joeys. The full development of the joey happens inside the mother's pouch, where it remains for up to 60 days after birth. It takes a joey somewhere around 80 days to open its eyes and around 110 days to leave the nest.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, sugar gliders are of Least Concern. However, it must be noted that this species has long been a part of the illegal pet trade where wild sugar gliders have been sold as a pocket pet. Additionally, the population of sugar gliders has been declining due to habitat loss in their native countries.

Sugar Glider Fun Facts

What do sugar gliders look like?

One of the first things that you are bound to notice about the sugar glider is its eyes. The big black eyes help it to see clearly as it is mostly active at night. Sugar gliders are known for having blue-gray fur with dark stripes on their back as well as on the side of their body and on their face. Other coat variants like yellow and tan can also be seen. The white sugar glider is a rare variant that has become popular in the pet market, and it can either be an albino that has red eyes or leucistic that has black eyes. The sugar gliders' fur coat is thick and soft.

The most interesting aspect of sugar gliders has to be the membrane that provides them with the ability of gliding. This soft membrane is found between its wrists and ankles and is known as the patagium, and it allows sugar gliders to jump from one tree to the next in a flying or gliding motion. The tiny ears of the sugar gliders have a swivelling motion, and they help the animal to hear even the tiniest of sounds. On the other hand, the thick and bushy tail of a sugar glider is used as a rudder that helps it to steer itself while in a flying motion. The tiny clawless toes of the sugar gliders almost look like that of a human thumb.

Kids love reading sugar glider facts.

How cute are they?

These animals are extremely cute, and this has made them heavily sought-after pets throughout the world. The big and emotional eyes of sugar gliders give them an innocent look that is loved by many.

How do they communicate?

The communication process of sugar gliders is quite interesting as its primary form of communication is through scents. The males have frontal, sternal, and urogenital glands, while the females produce a scent in their pouch as well as through their urogenital glands. The species might have developed this form of communication because of its nocturnal nature. Sugar glider barking is also prominent, along with producing other sounds like yapping, buzzing, droning, and hissing. When a sugar glider is taken by surprise, it can make a crabbing sound. It is also known that the sugar gliders may also purr like that of a cat.

How big is a sugar glider?

The average body length of a sugar glider is around 4.7-12 in (12-30 cm), while its bushy tail measures anywhere between 6-18 in (15-46 cm). As it is a sexually dimorphic species, the males tend to be larger than the females. Its body length is similar to that of the black flying squirrel, which grows to an average length of 15 in (38 cm).

How fast can a sugar glider move?

Though its fastness is not entirely known, sugar gliders can easily glide to a distance of 150-160 ft (45-49m) by launching themselves from a tree. It steers itself with the help of its limbs while gliding. As these are arboreal animals, a sugar glider can seldom be seen on the ground. This type of flying is similar to that of a flying squirrel.

How much does a sugar glider weigh?

The average weight of a sugar glider is around 3-5 oz (79-160 g). The light body of sugar gliders helps them to glide smoothly.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for the male and female of this species.

What would you call a baby sugar glider?

A baby sugar glider is known as a 'joey'.

What do they eat?

Sugar gliders are opportunistic omnivores, so they have a complex diet which is closely tied to their native habitat. Its food choices include insects, pollen, sweet sap, nectar, and insect larvae. Its name comes from the fondness for eating the sweet sap of eucalyptus trees. These nocturnal hunters can even munch on small invertebrates to make their diet richer. It primarily depends on insect-based food sources during the spring and summer months. A sugar glider diet for pets may include commercially made pellets which can seldom replace the food that it is used to eating in the wild. Some sugar gliders may also include lizards and birds in their diet.

Are they dangerous?

No, sugar gliders aren't dangerous or aggressive. The most it can do is to hiss or bite someone who is in front of it.

Would they make a good pet?

It is illegal to keep them as pets in many parts of the world. The native home of a sugar glider allows it to have a proper diet and habitat, which is absent in other parts of the world, especially in a human household. Also, a sugar glider will never recognize its owners the same way a dog does, and in most cases, they are too frightened. Sugar gliders are often found in a zoo, so if you really like the animal, pay them a visit to a nearby zoo or animal park.

Did you know...

As pets, the daily diet of a sugar glider may include 0.4 oz (11 g) of dry food.

A sugar glider's habit of having pollen in its diet suggests that it can be an active pollinator for the Banksia plant species.

Is the sugar glider endangered?

The sugar glider is currently listed as of Least Concern in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Even though the species isn't endangered, it's at a constant threat because of the illegal trade for exotic pets. It is thought that sugar gliders entered the exotic pets market after a few of them were poached from their native home. Social media also caused a huge demand for sugar gliders as exotic pets. Additionally, the population of wild sugar gliders is at a constant threat because of habitat loss.

Different types of marsupials

Marsupials are a group of animals that have pouches to carry their young, just like kangaroos. Apart from kangaroos and sugar gliders, other marsupials include koalas, wombats, opossums, and Tasmanian devils. Around 300 extant species are included in this group. Marsupials are endemic to Australasia and some parts of America. Marsupials are categorized as a Mammalian infraclass. Some marsupials have evolved to resemble placental mammals. For instance, sugar gliders have the ability to glide like flying squirrels who are placental mammals.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the Masai giraffe or the Bornean orangutan.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our sugar glider coloring pages.

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