20 December 2021

Sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps) are small marsupials that live in tree canopies. Sugar gliders look similar to possums, but they have special skin between their ankles and wrists. When sugar gliders outstretch their limbs, they use this skin like a parachute to glide from tree to tree.

Sugar gliders are arboreal and live in woodland environments with lots of eucalyptus trees. They rest in the tree hollows, which they prepare with a nest of fresh eucalyptus leaves shaped into a cup. They keep the hollows fresh by replacing old leaves with new ones.

Sugar gliders are found in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia.

Did you know?

Sugar gliders can glide a distance of up to 25m between trees!

Sugar glider behaviour

Sugar gliders are nocturnal and spend each night gliding between trees in the hunt for food.

Sugar gliders also have a special skill called ‘torpor’, where they are able to slow their breathing and reduce their body temperature for up to weeks at a time. In torpor, sugar gliders wrap themselves into a ball as their body temperature drops, which helps them to save energy and stay alive through colder months when less food is available.

Sugar gliders communicate with each other to help let other gliders know about nearby danger and growl to defend their territories. They also make a ‘yip-yip!’ sound to alert other sugar gliders when needed. They make chattering sounds when communicating with each other inside their nests.

What do they eat?

Sugar gliders are omnivores that eat a wide range of foods including eucalyptus and acacia tree sap, nectar, pollen, insects and sometimes even lizards and small birds.

Did you know?

A sugar glider family can eat up to 200kg of bugs per year! That’s a lot of creepy crawlies.

Helping the local sugar gliders

The Hurstbridge Line Duplication project team recently met with representatives from local interest groups in your area to discuss sugar glider habitat connectivity and identify opportunities.

The project team is using this information to find ways to support sugar glider habitat connectivity in the project area.

Building glider nest boxes

The Hurstbridge Line Duplication is planning to work with community groups to build nest boxes, with local kindergarten kids to paint them.

About the Hurstbridge Line Duplication

The Hurstbridge Line Duplication will build a second train track between Greensborough and Montmorency and between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen.

This means when you are catching a train, you don’t have to wait long because the trains will be more reliable. The project will also build new train stations at Greensborough and Montmorency.

Work has already started.


Arboreal: animals who spend most of their lives in trees

Canopy: the area in the tops of trees in a forest or woody area

Habitat: a natural area where an animal or plant lives

Habitat connectivity: helping sugar gliders move from tree to tree

Nocturnal: animals who are active mostly at night

Nest box: an enclosure made by humans for animals to nest in, keeping the gliders warm and away from predators

Marsupials: animals who carry their babies in their pouch

Omnivore: animals who eat both plants and other animals

This fact sheet has been put together with the help from the following sources of information: