Possums and Gliders

Related Articles

This collection of marsupials includes 26 animals from six different Families. All are arboreal and have adaptations for this lifestyle.

Features: agile climbers, mostly nocturnal

Diet: members of each Family eat some of the following:
insects under tree bark, tree sap, nectar, honeydew, pollen, fruits, acacia gum, small animals, leaves, bird eggs


Family Acrobatidae

Feathertail Glider

Diet: eats insects, pollen, nectar

  • tail used as a rudder in flight, for grasping on landing
  • large serrated toe pads to cling to smooth surfaces
  • smallest gliding mammal

Number of species: 1


Family Tarsipes

Honey Possum

  • eats pollen, nectar
  • tail used for grasping

Number of species: 1


Family Phalangeridae

  • Brush-tailed and scaly-tailed possums and cuscuses belong to this Family.
  • tail has a friction pad of naked skin on the underside for gripping branches forward-facing pouch

Diet: leaves, fruit, flowers

Within this Family there are three groupings :

Brush-tailed Possums

  • feed on the ground as well as in trees
  • have a scent gland on the chest for marking

Number of species: 2

Scaly-tailed Possum

  • found in the Kimberley region of WA

Number of species: 1

Cuscuses

  • found in rainforest of north QLD
  • also found in New Guinea

Number of species: 2


Family Petauridae

Gliding Possums

  • thin membrane of loose, fur-covered skin between wrist and ankle
  • eat insects under bark of trees, tree sap, honeydew, acacia gum, nectar, pollen, fruit

Number of species: 6


Family Pseudocheiridae

  • tail coils around branches and has a friction pad of naked skin on the underside at the tip
  • active at night, during daytime they rest in nests, in tree hollows, on open branches, epiphytic plants

Diet: mainly leaves

This Family has two subdivisions :

Ringtail Possums

  • builds a nest in a tree for daytime resting

Number of species: 7

Greater Glider

  • gliding membrane attaches to the elbow and ankle

Number of species: 1


Family Burramyidae

Pygmy-possums

  • opposable big toe for climbing
  • tail used for grasping
  • becomes still and torpid on cold winter days

More on this topic

Popular stories

mr4x4.com.au 2019 Competition

Mr 4x4 is offering a huge prize pool of over $170,000 this year for those who love exploring the Australian outback in...

Perentie

The Perentie is the largest of the monitor lizards in Australia and the fourth largest on earth. Found primarily in central Australia...

Marsupials

Marsupials evolved in North America, found their way to South America, and then into Australia via Antarctica when the southern continents were...