It is likely that the sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps) was introduced to Tasmania, possibly in the early decades of the nineteenth century. The lack of skeletal remains in subfossil bone deposits and the lack of an Aboriginal name for the animal supports the view that it was introduced. The animal's scientific name translates: 'short-headed rope-dancer' - a reference to its adept movements high in the canopy.
possums in Australia. This remarkable ability to glide is achieved through a flap of loose skin which extends between the fifth finger of the hand to the first toe of the foot. The animal launches itself from a tree, spreads its limbs to expose the gliding membrane and directs its glide through subtle changes in the curvature of the membrane. The possum can glide for up to 100 metres.
The species rarely descends to the ground. Presumably gliding serves as both an efficient means of locomotion and an effective way of reducing the risk of predation.
The sugar glider is well-endowed with scent glands which presumably allow territorial marking and individual recognition of family members.
They are also are highly vocal animals and have a range of vocalisations for different occasions. If the nest is disturbed, the occupants emit a rather intimidating chattering sound.
Contact: Wildlife Management BranchWildlife Management Branch
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
134 Macquarie Street GPO Box 44
HOBART TAS 7001
Phone: 03 6233 6556
Fax: 03 6233 3477
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