Animal Species:Feathertail Glider

The Feathertail Glider is the smallest gliding mammal in the world with an average weight of only 12 g.

Standard Common Name

Feathertail Glider

Identification

The Feathertail Glider is distinguished from other small marsupials by its feather-like tail fringed with long stiff hairs, which acts as a rudder during flight. A gliding membrane, which extends from its elbows to its knees, allows the animal to glide more than 20 m between trees. It clings to smooth surfaces with its large serrated toe pads.

Size range

6 cm - 8 cm

Distribution

The Feathertail Glider is found in eastern Australia from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Habitat

The Feathertail Glider lives in forests and woodlands.

Feeding and Diet

It feeds on pollen, nectar and insects.

Predators, Parasites and Diseases

Predators of the Feathertail Glider include currawongs, kookaburras, foxes and cats.

Classification

Species:
pygmaeus
Genus:
Acrobates
Family:
Acrobatidae
Order:
Diprotodontia
Subclass:
Marsupialia
Class:
Mammalia
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

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Tags gliders, possums, marsupials, mammals, vertebrates, identification, wildlife of sydney,

2 comments

Chris Hosking - 1.11 PM, 27 November 2010

Hi Narelle,

As a natural history Museum the Australian Museum does not have any experience in raising this species. All we could suggest is that you consult the relevant section of Stephen Jackson's Australian Mammals: Biology and Captive Management (CSIRO Publishing). Otherwise you should contact either Sydney Wildlife World or Taronga Zoo which I beleive both care for Feathertail Gliders.

Good luck!

narellebrown - 10.11 PM, 11 November 2010
My husband is a WIRES volunteer. He has been caring for a juvenile Feathertail Glider for a fortnight, with success feeding it from a dropper, on watered down maltose. It was 6 grams on rescue, with a battered tail and wounded left hind leg. Now it's 7 grams. For the first several days, when picked up, it would turn around in tight circles, which has since been described as stress behaviour by the WIRES "brains trust". The broad opinion when the animal first came in was that these creatures die easily and frequently in captivity. I'm commenting here in the hope of tapping any further resources and experience in the wider Museum community, including advice on where to go from here to plan release (WIRES have the address of the cat vs glider incident), and any clues as to more nutritious foods (no interest from the glider in grevillea and calistemon flowers atm. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Kind Regards.

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