Sunday, October 10, 2010

Not Much Bigger than a Thumb

The rain continues to tumble down and so I've popped a pumpkin in the oven to make a batch of my favourite roasted pumpkin soup and I thought I'd take the time to tell you about another of the creatures who lives here in the scrubby bush.  This little guy.


This is the threatened squirrel glider and when I was a wildlife carer I had the rare privilege of raising a couple of glider babies. 
This little guy was released onto the property in this purpose built nesting box.  I have quite a few dotted high in the trees in my bush and I occasionally creep around with a ladder and have a quick peek inside.  It is always a great thrill to see a glider using a box.

Most people have heard of a sugar glider, and the squirrel glider is its larger cousin, reaching up to twice the size of the sugar glider with a body length of about 20cm, (8 inches).  Sadly it is listed as a threatened species, so I feel very lucky to have some living here.  Forgive these photos as they were taken with an old, old camera, however you'll be able to see how tiny and gorgeous the glider babies are.

  
Not much bigger than a thumb. "Wiggle" and "Squiggle", as we dubbed them, were about 9g each when they came into care. (That's about 1/3rd of an ounce).  Their mother was killed by a domestic cat that was allowed to roam out at night.  (Now you know why my two are indoor only cats).  The gliders were fed special formula through an eye dropper and kept in a heated box until they were old enough to move into a large cage and start eating their natural food which includes insects, sap from eucalypts and wattles and nectar, pollen and seeds from various native plants.  They are restricted to forests that include at least one species of winter-flowering eucalypt or banksia, so that they have a reliable, year-round food supply.

In this photo you can clearly see the pink membrane between the front and rear legs that allow these creatures to fly, (glide) between trees. 

They are nocturnal and are threatened by continued clearly of this type of scrubby bush, the loss of mature trees with nesting hollows through logging and predation by foxes and cats.

It's not hard to know why I feel so passionate about the scrubby bush!  I occasionally go out night spotting and it gives me enormous pleasure if I spot one of these creatures enjoying a banksia flower.


Two final things.  I have, at last, popped up an easy email subscription link so you'll know when a new post goes up easily and have you met my 3rd cat?  Check him out underneath my twitter feed.  See what happens if you stroke him in different places with the cursor!  I found him at one of my favourite blogs Old? Who? Me?, written by, 84 years young, Bernie.  You can gain the code for your own black cat by clicking on "get widget" under the cat.  Enjoy!

10 comments:

  1. Beautiful creatures...I am so glad you are doing your part to help save them.

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  2. Those little squirrels are just too cute! You are indeed lucky to live in an environment that allows you the opportunity to interact with such diverse and interesting animals. What a shame that these guys are endangered!

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  3. I smiled at your "flying squirrels"...reminded me of Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons! Hope you know who/what that was..Ok, done being silly today..I loved this post. That is so wonderful that you can help save this species. Not many people have that opportunity. I also love the cat widget! Too cute!

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  4. Thanks to you all and yes, yaya, I know Rocky and Bullwinkle! They are gorgeous creatures aren't they? I think people just don't realise that when the bush is bulldozed, that this is what we lose.

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  5. You are so lucky to live with nature, it is the time when i feel so close to God, and just don't get into it often enough.

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  6. I love the adventure I find every time I come here. Those gliders are the cutest ever.

    Isn't Bernie's blog great? I just spent more time than I care to admit playing with that silly cat. :-)

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  7. Beautiful :)
    Got the feral teen to have a look and he was enraptured with those gorgeous faces :)

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  8. Cheryl,
    I love the cute photos and especially your header. I know Bernie as well;) Nice meeting you. I'm going now to check out the pumpkin soup recipe.

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  9. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww is all I have to say. :)

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  10. They are wonderful. We have a the smaller Southern North American variety. We enjoyed the one we rescued and I remember the evening we took him out and he finally went shooting up the tree. When I hear them chirp at night I always wonder if he is out there watching us : )

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