Genus and Species: Petauridae breviceps
9 years in the wild
12 years in captivity
In the wild, sugar gliders are found in most of New South Wales, and well as southeastern Queensland in Australia. They are arboreal animals and live in costal forests.
Sugar gliders are omnivores, and are mainly foragers. They are most well known for feeding on sweet tree saps and gums, honeydew produced by insects, crystalized plant sap. This penchant for sweet foods is where sugar gliders get their name. The sugar glider is also known to eat insects, fruits and vegetables, and even lizards and small birds.
A large portion of a wild sugar glider’s diet is pollen, and the animals act as major pollinators for Australian wildflowers
Australia is known for its marsupials and has about 120 species living on the continent, including the sugar glider. Sugar gliders are nocturnal animals, and are a type of gliding possum (not to be confused with the American opossums.) Despite not being related to them, the sugar glider looks and acts flying squirrels. This similarity is an example of Convergent Evolution, which is when species evolve similar traits at the same time, even when they are unrelated and in different locations. Another example of Convergent Evolution is with echidnas and hedgehogs, which both evolved spikes!
The sugar glider’s large eyes allow it to see at night, and are set far apart for better aim while gliding. In order to glide, the sugar glider has something called a “gliding membrane” on either side of its body that stretches from the fifth digit on the front leg to the first digit on the back leg.