Yellow-Bellied Glider
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Petaurus australis
"southern rope-dancer"

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other name

Fluffy Glider

DESCRIPTION

Grey or brown fur above with whitish, yellow or orange fur on underparts (fur is whiter in juveniles and in adults found in northern Queensland). The gliding membrane extends from the wrists to the ankles. The tail is long - 1.5 times longer than the body. Large bar ears. Head and body length around 270 to 300mm with a tail length between 420 and 480mm. Weight from 450 grams to 700 grams - males are significantly heavier.

The Yellow-Bellied Glider is considered a rare marsupial and is found in patches of wet eucalypt forest in northern Queensland, along the coastal area of NSW and in small pockets in south-western Victoria. There are two subspecies - Petaurus australis australis are found from Portland in Victoria up to coastal Queensland and Petaurus australis reginae is located in northern Queensland to Mount Windsor and at the banks of Herbert River Gorge. The Yellow-Bellied Glider is the most vocal of the glider species and it has several distinct calls, the most characteristic being a short, high pitched shriek that subsides into a throaty rattle. This is a territorial call that can be heard up to 400 metres away. The glider is very active at night and often travels more than 2 kilometres, however their total home range is more in the order of 35 hectares. The glider is a mobile climber, often seen running along the underside of a branch or hanging by its tail. During the day is rests in tree hollows that are commonly lined with smooth bark and leaf litter. The Yellow-Bellied Glider is a social animal and in the southern parts of its range it is common for a male to share a den with a female and their young. In the northern ranges one male may share a den with two or three females and their young. Young are normally born from August to September in the south and from May to September in the north, although births have been recorded throughout the year. Pouch life is between 90 and 100 days. Interestingly, the pouch is divided into two compartments by a septum, each side having one teat. Twins are rare, however. After a joey has emerged from the pouch it is suckled in the den for a further 40 to 60 days when it will then forage with parents. Diet consists of plants (including sap and nectar), insects and spiders. Yellow-Bellied Glider numbers seem to be diminishing and its long term survival depends upon maintaining the integrity of large areas of forest. Conservation of this marsupial requires preservation of food resources, suitable den trees and young trees to provide future dens. Their current status is classed as vulnerable.


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