We’re swooping in with some sugar glider fun facts today at Light Future Art!
1. The sugar glider’s natural habitat is the coastal and tropical forests of Southern Australia. They build nests in the treetops and rarely if ever descend to the ground. This is to stay safe from predators and because they can find all of their food in the treetops.
2. During the cold months of the year, sugar gliders go into a state of torpor. This is similar to hibernation in that their metabolism slows down and they sleep to conserve energy, but the sugar gliders do still wake and forage for a few hours every night.
3. Sugar gliders can, of course, glide, and their diet is full of sugary substances, like nectar (although they do also eat insects and plants). The membrane which stretches between their front and back limbs allows them to stay in the air for nearly 150 feet. This membrane is called the patagium.
4. Sugar gliders can steer where they glide by changing the tension on their patagium and moving their limbs, and also by using their tail as a rudder.
5. Although sugar gliders and flying squirrels share physical characteristics and ways of movement, they are not actually related. Sugar gliders are marsupials.
6. Sugar gliders don’t have feet. Yes, you read that correctly. They have four hands instead. Each hand has four fingers and a thumb. The fingers end in claws which help the sugar glider cling to trees.
7. Sugar gliders are highly social animals. They live in groups of up to 30 individuals in the wild and need companionship while in captivity or they will become unhealthy or even die. These groups groom each other and communicate through scent.
8. Groups of sugar gliders are patriarchal. There are usually two alpha males per group who father that group’s offspring. Sugar gliders have a strict dominance hierarchy and an individual’s position in it is readily apparent to all others based on their scent.
9. As the habitat of sugar gliders has continued to decrease and be destroyed over the past 200 years, they have had to adapt to survive. Some sugar gliders can live in bushes or in areas that have been partially deforested for logging. However, light pollution does pose a threat to them as they rely on the dark to forage and evade predators.
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