The dry, open forests in which Squirrel Gliders live are in serious decline because of clearing for timber, firewood, agriculture and human settlement. Since trees must be around a century old to form the hollows that gliders need, restoring habitat is a long-term problem. There is competition for hollows from other species, including introduced Indian Mynas and feral honey bees. Habitat fragmentation and loss of food trees also pose very serious threats to Squirrel Gliders.
Amazing Squirrel Gliders
Squirrel Gliders are possum-like marsupials with distinctive membranes of skin that stretch between their front and back legs. They use these membranes like wings or sails to glide through the air. They are also quick and nimble climbers.
They are closely related to Sugar Gliders but are much larger and have a longer, bushier tail and longer face. Their fur is mostly grey, with a dark stripe down the middle of the head and cream patches near their ears and on their bellies.
Squirrel Gliders live in family groups of two to ten which include young from previous seasons. Newborn Squirrel Gliders are carried in their mother’s pouch for over two months. When they become too large to carry, the young are left in the family nest until they are old enough to forage for themselves. Eventually, young Squirrel Gliders must leave their families to establish their own territory.
Being strictly nocturnal, Squirrel Gliders shelter in tree hollows during the day. They require open woodland with mature eucalyptus trees that contain suitable hollows. Their habitat supports a large variety of plants that flower at different times, so there is food available all year. Natural predators include owls and goannas, and domestic cats are also known to hunt Squirrel Gliders.