Posted on 01st June 2018 by Media Relations
Taronga Zoo Sydney is celebrating the breeding success of 13 Feathertail Glider babies, adding to 20 babies born only months ago.
Born in March, the new joeys have only now emerged from their mothers’ pouches after growing for approximately three months.
The emergence of a joey from their mother’s pouch typically happens after approximately 63 days when the pouch usually gets so big that the mother’s feet cannot touch the ground.
Feathertail Gliders are named after their long tail that is fringed with stiff hairs that resemble a feather, which helps them to steer like a rudder and create drag while gliding up to 25 meters.
Taronga Zoo Sydney is believed to be the first Zoo to ever successfully breed Feathertail Gliders, and in the last decade has seen the birth of up to 200 individuals.
“All the joeys are peeking out from their nest box and exploring their exhibit with the adults,” said Keeper Rob Dockerill.
“It’s much easier to live here at Taronga than out in the wild. They’re half the size of a mouse and come out at night so people don’t know much about them. Sydneysiders can still find these animals around Sydney but for something this small, almost everything is a predator. Life can’t be easy for them out there,” said Keeper Rob.
“These animals have microscopic hairs on their feet giving them the ability to run up glass, they can glide the length of a cricket pitch and are very speedy. You’ve got to have a few tricks when everyone is out to eat you.”
Not a lot is known about these tiny animals in the wild. While there appear to be no immediate major threats to this species in the short term, Feathertails may be locally threatened by habitat loss as well as predation by feral cats and foxes.
“It is vitally important that we remember to look after some of the smaller animals that are native to our country,” said Keeper Rob.
Keen-eyed guests can spot the joeys darting around their home in the Australian Nightlife Exhibit.
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Images and footage can be found here.
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