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Glider lucky to survive

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Feathertail glider in care with WIRESFeathertail gliders are the smallest of all gliders with a head and body length of just 6.5 - 8 cm.

They get their name from their remarkable tail which is flat with stiff fringed hair growing horizontally either side all the way to the tip.

The tail is used to steer and brake as they glide up to 20 metres through the trees. They are the only known mammal to have a feather like tail.

WIRES was called to Hornsby vet when a caring person witnessed the tiny glider mistime a glide and get pounced on by a cat, she rescued the glider and took it to her local vet.

When she came into care with a specially trained WIRES carer she weighed just 11 grams. She was in care for several days to ensure there were no ill effects. This was especially important as she was found to be carrying a number of joey's in her pouch.

Feathertail female in WIRES careBoth mother and her joey's progressed well and she had gained 2.5 grams in weight, which doesn't sound like much but since a fully grown female is generally less than 14 grams it was a pleasing result.

She was then able to be released with all her young back to the tree where she had been found.

These tiny gliders are often missed when in trouble, or mistaken for a mouse when the cat brings it in, which is often how WIRES become involved.

When stretched out, they can float long distances, like a falling leaf. It is at home in the trees, feeding on insects, pollen and nectar it launches itself into the air when it needs to get from one tree to the next.

To become airborne, they hurl themselves from the tree with legs outstretched; the flap of skin between front and back feet extending like a parachute. The flattened tail helps this tiny possum to glide, steer, brake and anchor itself on landing. You can help us help animals like this precious glider, donate online now.


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