SPECIES: Petauroides volans — Greater Glider
This one's a cutie. With a big ovesized coat of shaggy fur (that's to make it look a lot larger and stauncher than it actually is) and furry fringed ears, the Greater Glider is a nocturnal and generally solitary animal. Its closest relative is the Ringtail Possum. An immensely adapted animal, the Greater Glider is equipped with gliding membranes that stretch from its ankles to its wrists and spends most of its time foraging in the highest parts of the tree canopy. Its tail does all the steering as it glides between trees and it's such a fond flyer, that the Greater Glider will do whatever it can to avoid ground travel, and can be quite slow and clumsy when forced to go by foot.
The Greater Glider is found in parts of southern Queensland, south-east NSW and the central highlands in Victoria. Between these three locations, the species in Victoria as substantially larger and heavier than those found in Queensland - nearly three times the size! Surveys have shown that the Greater Glider is even a little picky when it comes to choosing its habitat and prefers a certain species of eucalypt. Fair enough! Threats to the Greater Glider include predators (owls, cats) and destruction of habitat. Certainly the species has been under enormous pressure since the devastating summer fires of 2019/2020 which saw the destruction of over 30% of Greater Glider habitat.
Photo: courtesy Bruce Thomson www.auswildlife.com