I heard an unusual noise the other night
I know my ‘night noises’ pretty well. But I had never heard one like this. So I grabbed my torch and started looking for the origin of this guttural ‘gurgle’. When I looked up into a native frangipani that I had planted near my shed, I saw two reflective eyes, and an absolutely beautiful little animal.
It was a Squirrel glider [Petaurus norfolcensis]. I was not sure at the time…I thought it was either a Sugar glider [Petaurus breviceps] or a Squirrel glider. They are very, very similar. The Squirrel glider is bigger [about twice the size- body around 210 mm long] than the Sugar. Both species nest in leaf lined hollows in trees. They have a similar diet also, feeding on the sap of eucalypts and wattles as well as eating invertebrates.
The squirrel glider is relatively abundant locally, however it is rare to endangered in southern areas. Habitat destruction, cats, owls and vehicles have all contributed to this decline in numbers. They can glide [volplane] for up to 50 metres. I have seen this previously, and it is a real thrill. I was very excited to see one on our place.
Our local fauna expert and wildlife carer tells me that she gets quite a few Squirrel gliders, and not many Sugar gliders at all. She also told me that if we have 1, we probably have 10! They are communal and also quite territorial. They will attack other gliders coming into their turf.
So, if you here a strange noise, have a look. It was well worth it for me