SPECIES: Petaurus australis Wet Tropics subspecies — Yellow-bellied Glider (Wet Tropics), Fluffy Glider
The Yellow-bellied Glider is not only one of six gliding mammals in Australia, it's also a species of 'wrist-winged' gliders, capable of gliding up to 150m at a time. That's a pretty mean feat for an animal of about 45cm, including its tail. There are two species of Yellow-bellied Glider or Fluffy Glider (awww), the rarer of the two being the northern species, found up in the wet tropics of Queensland. It's about the size of a rabbit, with grey-brown fur on its back and yellow or orange fluff on its belly. They are quite an active, sociable and very vocal mammal, heard by the loud shrieks, whirring moans, gurlgles, chirps and clicks of them communicating to one another.
Now so rare they have become an endangered species, the northern Yellow-bellied Glider is found in eucalypt forest in areas generally with high rainfall and nutrient-rich soil. They live on nectar, insects, pollen, tree sap and in particular, honeydew. They are largely under threat from habitat loss and fragmenation, particularly due to timber-harvesting and agriculture.
Photo: courtesy Wild Ambience.