What do they look like? Mahogany Gliders are nocturnal arboreal marsupials. Larger than it’s relatives the Sugar, Squirrel and Yellow-Bellied Gliders the Mahogany Glider is noticeably larger and grows to approx. 26.5 cm long and 410g it has a long tail 34–40 cm. The species gets its common name from its mahogany-brown belly and the similar colour of its gliding membrane. The tail is covered in short hair, and is black on the underside. These gliders are sexually dimorphic, with the males being larger than the females, although the latter usually have a longer tail in proportion to their body.
Where do they live? Mahogany Gliders are native to a very small area of coastal Northern Queensland between Ingham and Tully. The habitat consists mainly of open forest with many different flowering plants that provide year round food.
What do they eat? A favorite food is the sap of certain eucalypt species, Mahogany Gliders feed at night eating mainly insects, fruits, grass tree sap, nectar and pollen.
Behaviour: Their gliding membrane allows them to volplane up to 70 meters from tree to tree. This gliding ability allows them to move around freely, rarely coming to the ground where they are most vulnerable.
Reproduction: The mahogany glider has a long breeding season with births starting April and ending in October. Litters consist of one or two young, and are usually born once a year, although a mother can give birth to a second litter if the first is lost before leaving the pouch. The young are weaned at four to five months, and reach sexual maturity at twelve to eighteen months. They have been recorded to live to about five or six years of age.
Each pair of adults shares some of their dens with offspring from the previous breeding season. These dens are marked and defended from other mahogany gliders. The pairs are usually monogamous, although extra-pair matings have been observed. The mahogany glider was lost to science for over a hundred years, from its first description in 1883, until it was rediscovered in 1989.
Threats: Mahogany gliders are considered a threatened species due to loss of habitat with over 80% having been cleared for growing sugar cane, pine trees, and bananas, or for rearing cattleThe mahogany glider’s existence has been further endangered by the devastation to the region by cyclone activity.
Conservation Status: Endangered