What the glider study is all about


Surveys of gliders

squirrel glider

 (click here for some descriptions and photos of previous surveys

Email scenicrim@wildlife.org.au if you’d like to join us on any of our surveys

Over the next couple of years we will be collating as much information as possible on the distribution of gliders, with special emphasis on squirrel gliders, in the Scenic Rim:

  • where they are
  • what trees and other resources they are using (for food and shelter), and
  • what apparently suitable habitat areas they seem to be absent from.

We are hoping the results will indicate:

  • where we might usefully enhance habitat (e.g. by planting more of their food trees or installing nest boxes in sites that lack suitable hollows) and
  • where provision of corridors is especially important (we have access to poles to erect for traversing empty paddocks where re-vegetation is not desired by the landowner)
  • where glider populations are doing well (but may need watching to protect from future threats)
  • what some of the causes of mortality are (e.g. predation by cats, roadkill)


Many thanks to:

  • landowners who are allowing us to survey on their lands
  • residents who have given us information on gliders they have seen in the Scenic Rim
  • Southeast Queensland Catchments who have given us a $500 grant toward two robust Scoutguard Motion-sensing cameras to assist our surveys
  • American tourist Don Simonson who donated a further $50 (through Araucaria Ecotours) for the cameras
  • Scenic Rim Regional Council for giving us free use of rooms at the Centre and other support

Squirrel gliders are found mostly in the drier forests of lower altitudes, not usually seen in and near rainforest (although the very similar but smaller sugar gliders are) so we’ll be concentrating our studies in the valleys rather than the mountains.

Five of Australia’s six glider species live in the Scenic Rim:

  • feather-tailed – tiny, mouse-size, feather-shaped tail, usually lives high in trees in tall forests (eucalyptus or rainforest), not often seen (you can probably guess why), eats nectar, pollen, sap, manna, insects  (and sometimes fruit)
  • sugar  –  small, grey with distinctive black and white markings on face, black stripe down back, sometimes has white tip to tail, lives in rain forests, open forests and woodlands, eats nectar, pollen, manna, insects, sap (especially Acacia and Eucalyptus), gives a high-pitched “yip” call

    squirrel glider at Wildlife Expo, Beaudesert

    squirrel glider at Wildlife Expo, Beaudesert

  • squirrel – similar to sugar glider but bigger, nose is slightly longer, base of tail very bushy (as wide as rump), never has white tip to tail, live in eucalyptus forests and woodlands, diet similar to sugar but more insects  (and sometimes fruit), usually in open forests and woodlands of lower altitudes. Gives a grunt, lower pitch to sugar glider’s call.
  • yellow-bellied – bigger than the previous species, dark above, yellowish belly, fluffy, big pointed (but not fluffy) ears , very long tail, lives in dry eucalyptus forests, diet rather similar to sugar and squirrel (and sometimes fruit) but has more powerful incisors with which it makes characteristic v-shaped incisions in eucalypts to get the sap, very active, gives animated whirring, gurgling calls, and occasionally a startling screech.
  • greater glider – the biggest of the gliders, usually dark above but very variable, light belly, big and very fluffy ears, very long tail, lives in eucalyptus forests, different from other gliders in that it mostly eats eucalyptus leaves. Quiet, usually not very active.

(also see our Glider workshop including a downloadable presentation that gives information on glider diet, habitat, identification and viewing techniques  –  Gliders of the Scenic Rim: February 2014)

The only glider we miss out on here in southeast Queensland is the mahogany glider of Far North Queensland). Although we are focussing on squirrel gliders, we’ll be watching for other gliders as well, and for whatever other wildlife species might show up while we’re searching.

Part of the survey will be via motion-sensing cameras and part by nocturnal searches. We may also do a little live-trapping.
So please let us know if you’d like to:

  • attend meetings and workshops
  • join in with field surveys (click here for some descriptions and photos of previous surveys)
  • help us collate information from the web, from books, journals etc. and from the planned survey (this is a good way of helping if you can’t come along on field work)
  • conduct your own observations near home or elsewhere in the Scenic Rim

We’re asking for anyone who has seen gliders in the region to let us know the following (if possible):

(you can also download a spreadsheet in pdf format: GliderSurveyProforma 20kb to print out ready to fill in details)

  • species (if you’re not sure, you can probably narrow down to a couple of possibilities, such as ‘sugar or squirrel’)
  • where sighted (e.g. top of Mt French, between Canungra township and army barracks, …)
  • what habitat (e.g. she oak woodland by creek, tall eucalyptus forest)
  • what kind of tree it was in (if known – otherwise mention if it was a tall tree, a shrub, etc.)
  • was it feeding (and if so, what on if you could see – flower, sap, insects…), or were there flowers or fruits in the tree it was in suggesting it might be there for them, or fresh sap on the trunk?  If gleaning from leaves it could be insects or manna, a sweet insect exudate)
  • your contact details (email or phone) so we can ask you more details

A bit of background reading on the squirrel glider:

Other gliders:

You may also like to join Wildlife Queensland’s Glider Network
There are some field days coming up for those who have already attended a worship, to investigate the use of nesting boxes by gliders in parts of Brisbane, and other events spread over the next few months (and years):  https://www.wildlife.org.au/projects/gliders/index.html