You might have heard of flying squirrels, but what about sugar gliders? These members of the possum family are similar in their body shape and the way they “fly,” although there’s plenty about them that sets these creatures apart. Once you familiarize yourself with these facts, they may just become your new favorite animal.
They use different sounds for different purposes
The notion of animals making sounds is hardly groundbreaking. However, it seems that sugar gliders don’t just use one or two noises to indicate their feelings. According to the San Diego Zoo, their audio capabilities are many, with sugar gliders able to buzz, yap, bark, drone, hiss, and more. Not only can they make a bunch of sounds, but each noise is specific to a particular purpose, too. For instance, the creature may purr when it’s happy or hiss when it wants others to move.
They carry their young like kangaroos
If you thought that kangaroos were the only animals with pouches to hold their young, think again. Sugar gliders are very similar to these larger animals in that they have a pouch to help their young develop after giving birth. These creatures have a gestation period of just a few weeks before they climb into their mother’s pouch, sightless and furless. Once there, they don’t come out again until roughly ten weeks later.
They don’t technically fly; they glide
Unlike the flying squirrel, the sugar glider’s name isn’t as misleading regarding their flying ability. Both of these creatures glide, meaning they can travel through the air but can’t sustain their height. Sugar gliders achieve this thanks to the patagium, a membrane that connects their forelegs and hind legs. This allows them to escape from predators and reach food by “flying” from one tree to the next. They’re only one of three mammals capable of doing this.
They rely on scent for identification
Plenty of animals rely on scent to identify their own kind, and it seems sugar gliders are one of them. Apparently, they each have their own unique scent that makes recognition easy. Moreover, the dominant male in a pack always marks others with his saliva and scent, so he knows if someone belongs in his colony or not. It prevents any strangers from establishing themselves in the group.
They love sugary substances
Unlike some other animals, the sugar glider’s name is very explanatory of the creature’s lifestyle. While the glider part comes from how they can move through the trees, the sugar element is tied to their dietary habits. It seems that these animals are fond of eating things like pollen, nectar, acacia gum, and eucalyptus sap. Of course, their nutritional preferences extend to more than just these delicacies. They’re reportedly more than happy to feast on spiders, lizards, and small birds if they can’t find anything more sugary.
There’s so much to love about sugar gliders. Unfortunately, you don’t tend to see them unless you’re somewhere like Australia or New Guinea. However, if you ever visit these places, you’ll know what to look out for.