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Feathertail gliders confirmed at Yourka

Leanne Hales (Volunteer Coordinator North)
Published 22 May 2017 by Leanne Hales (Volunteer Coordinator North)

Spotlighting again this week at Yourka and we’re thrilled to announce there has been another addition to the species list.

Acrobates pygmaeus seems like a pretty appropriate sounding name for the world’s smallest gliding mammal, weighing in at only around 10-15g in adulthood yet boasting the ability to glide over 20m between trees and even reported to be able to run up a vertical pane of glass!

Their common name, Feathertail Gliders, refers to their remarkable tails, which are flat with stiff-fringed hair growing horizontally either side, all the way to the tip.

The tail is used to steer and brake as they glide through the trees.

For years we've suspected they were here – looking twice at the tiny chew marks on Xanthorrhoea stalks near the gorge or a glimpse of eye shine high up in the woodland canopy that never seems to have a furry body attached.

Feathertail Gliders spend up to 87% of their time in trees at heights greater than 15 metres making them the most cryptic and rarely seen of all the glider species.

At Yourka, a pair were spotted in the dense foliage of a large Swamp Mahogany, which towers above the shed pump on twin billabongs. It was an exciting moment to finally confirm these tiny gliders under spotlight, and snap a quick photo as a record of their presence.

Paul has decided that our next project with the kids should be to build and install some nest boxes to help make these tiny creatures feel even more at home.

(Close up pics reproduced from FlickR under Creative Commons License.)

Tiny Acrobates pygmaeus and it's unique feather-like tail. (flickr.com/photos/eyeweed/8611900849)* Tiny Acrobates pygmaeus and it's unique feather-like tail. (flickr.com/photos/eyeweed/8611900849)*
Let's add an adult hand for scale... Photo Doug Beckers. Let's add an adult hand for scale... Photo Doug Beckers.
(flickr.com/photos/dougbeckers/3477175713)
And now play spot the glider..... And now play spot the glider.....
Photo by Terry Reis

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