Feathertail glider

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Feathertail glider[1]
File:Acrobates neuneu.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Suborder: Phalangerida
Family: Acrobatidae
Genus: Acrobates
Desmarest, 1818
Species: A. pygmaeus
Binomial name
Acrobates pygmaeus
(Shaw, 1793)
File:Feathertail Glider.JPG
Distribution of the feathertail glider
File:Acrobates pygmaeus 2.jpg
Acrobates pygmaeus

The feathertail glider (Acrobates pygmaeus), also known as the pygmy gliding possum, pygmy glider, pygmy phalanger, flying phalanger and flying mouse,[3] is the world's smallest gliding possum[4] and is named for its long feather-shaped tail. At 6.5–8 cm (2.6–3.1 in) in head-and-body length and 10–14 g (0.35–0.49 oz) in weight, it is only the size of a small mouse, but can leap and glide up to 25 m (82 ft). Like other gliding mammals, the feathertail glider has a skin membrane between the fore and hind legs, thicker than that of the other marsupials like the sugar glider, but smaller in proportion, extending only between the elbows and knees. It is monotypical for its genus.

The tail is about the same length as the head and body combined, quite thin, moderately prehensile, and almost hairless except for two obvious rows of long, stiff hairs on either side. The tail, when held straight, looks like a double-sided comb. It is used to grip twigs and small branches, and to control gliding flight: steering and then braking.

The coat is a uniform mid-grey, with dark patches around the eyes and often a white patch behind the ears. The underside is lighter; the ears are moderately large and rounded.

The natural habitat of the feathertail glider is the eastern seaboard of Australia, and the glider's distribution is from northern Queensland to Victoria.

The feathertail glider's diet includes nectar, pollen, and arthropods.

The New Zoo in Poznań, Poland, was the first European zoo to breed feathertail gliders in 1999 (their animals originated from Sydney's Taronga Zoo). Some of the feathertail gliders born in Poznań have been sent to other European zoos, meaning that the entire European captive population is of Poznán descent. Australia's Taronga Zoo was the first zoo to breed feathertail gliders in captivity. [5]

In culture

A Feathertail glider was featured on the reverse of the Australian 1-cent coin until 1991.


  1. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  2. Dickman, C., McKenzie, N. & Menkhorst, P. (2008). Acrobates pygmaeus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 28 December 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  3. "The Feathertail Glider". Retrieved 2007-02-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Gliding Possums — Environment, New South Wales Government
  5. Successful breeding of smallest gliders, Australian Geographic, 29 June 2015


  • Cronin, Leonard — "Key Guide to Australian Mammals", published by Reed Books Pty. Ltd., Sydney, 1991 ISBN 0-7301-0355-2
  • van der Beld, John — "Nature of Australia — A portrait of the island continent", co-published by William Collins Pty. Ltd. and ABC Enterprises for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sydney, 1988 (revised edition 1992), ISBN 0-7333-0241-6
  • Russell, Rupert — "Spotlight on Possums", published by University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia, Queensland, 1980, ISBN 0-7022-1478-7
  • Troughton, Ellis — "Furred Animals of Australia", published by Angus and Robertson (Publishers) Pty. Ltd, Sydney, in 1941 (revised edition 1973), ISBN 0-207-12256-3
  • Morcombe, Michael & Irene — "Mammals of Australia", published by Australian Universities Press Pty. Ltd, Sydney, 1974, ISBN 0-7249-0017-9
  • Ride, W. D. L. — "A Guide to the Native Mammals of Australia", published by Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1970, ISBN 0 19 550252 3
  • Serventy, Vincent — "Wildlife of Australia", published by Thomas Nelson (Australia) Ltd., Melbourne, 1968 (revised edition 1977), ISBN 0-17-005168-4
  • Serventy, Vincent (editor) — "Australia's Wildlife Heritage", published by Paul Hamlyn Pty. Ltd., Sydney, 1975 of the marsupial family Petauridae.

External links