You’ve come across a picture of an adorable animal with big eyes, a long tail and opposable thumbs. What is it? A strange breed of squirrel? A rodent? A mythical creature?
What you’re looking at is a sugar glider.
Sugar gliders are tiny marsupials (think kangaroo and koala). Though they’re small, furry, long-tailed and adorable like rodents, they are actually apart of the possum family. Did I mention that they can glide as well? Yeah, they’re pretty awesome.
They are originally from Australia, certain parts of Indonesia and New Guinea. They were first brought to the USA in 1990.
(For a more in depth look at sugar glider anatomy check out this article on Glider Gossip.)
Fascinating Facts About Sugar Gliders
- Sugar gliders get their name from the fact that they love anything sweet and because they can glide.
- Sugar gliders can live 12-15 years in captivity if fed a proper diet and well cared for.
- In the wild, Sugar gliders can glide over 150 feet.
- Sugar gliders are omnivores, but prefer sweets above all else.
- Sugar gliders are nocturnal and have eyes that are perfect for seeing in the dark.
- Sugar gliders have teeth that are specifically designed to suck the liquids out of fruits and vegetables, as well as to bite through tree bark to get to the sap underneath.
- Both parents are involved in rearing the young (called joeys).
- Females are only pregnant for 16 days. After that, the joeys spend 60 days in the pouch before they begin to venture out. After that, they will remain with their parents for 56 – 84 days before they are ready to be on their own.
- Females can have joeys in the pouch and be pregnant at the same time.
- Males have three scent glands.
- Sugar gliders are highly intelligent and can be taught to recognize their own names and to do simple tricks.
- Sugar gliders are colony animals. In the wild, they live in groups of (up to) seven adults plus the joeys. The colony has two dominant males.
- Male gliders are often dominant in their left hand, females in their right.