Keepers in our Australian Walkabout section are celebrating the breeding success of 12 Feathertail Glider joeys, the smallest gliding mammals in the world.
Australian Fauna keeper Rob was delighted to discover 12 infants so far as he carefully checked the nest boxes last week. The young ranged from hairless joeys, what the keepers call pinkies, to individuals that were furred.
Rob said that he’s really proud of these little gliders as Taronga is the only Zoo to consistently breed feathertails.
The keepers were very successful last year in breeding the gliders, but this year’s young are extra special as the two fathers have introduced new genetics to the group. Both the fathers arrived via Taronga’s Wild Life Hospital and we unable to be released, but are now playing an invaluable role by being a part of the conservation breeding program.
When fully grown, the newborns will be about the size of a small mouse and weigh approximately the same as two to three teaspoons of water.
Feathertail Gliders are found across the eastern seaboard of Australia. They are often mistaken for mice, but a closer inspection reveals they have a special membrane which stretches from wrist to ankle that helps them glide up to 20 meters. They also have a delicate feathered tail that they use as a rudder during flight from which they get their name.
Although one of the lesser known Australian animals, the Feathertail Glider used to feature on the one cent coin before it was taken out of circulation.