Sweet Tooth Roof Resident

May 2011

Three gliders live in my roof. From the short film attached can you advise whether they are sugar gliders, squirrel gliders or something else? They make a chicka, chicka sound in their nest. The entrance through which they enter is approx 40mm in diameter.

Answer

Our curator of mammals thinks the gliders in your movie are most probably Sugar Gliders (Petaurus breviceps).

Sugar Gliders are communal nesters that communicate with a variety of calls. These include a high-pitched yapping, and other calls variously described as buzzing, grating, gurgling, screaming and hissing. Gliders nest in tree hollows, but a ceiling cavity can often furnish them just as well. They prefer hollows or cavities with small entrances, commonly just large enough for the animal to enter. This is thought to exclude larger predators and competitors. Multiple nest sites are commonly used, so it’s possible that your roof isn’t the only one in your area with gliders.

Sugar Gliders feed on arthropods, nectar, pollen, gum from wattles, honeydew (produced by lerps on eucalypts), and occasionally small birds. They are quite adaptable, being found in multiple habitats in both Australia and New Guinea. Happily, they are still reasonably common.

You can read more about the Sugar Glider on the Find out about... section of our website.

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.