License : Advanced
Captive life span : up to 5 years
Size : Head & body length 65-80mm, tail 70-80mm
Weight : 10-15 grams
Housing : Aviary
The Feathertail Glider Acrobates pygmaeus is the smallest gliding mammal in the world. This species is wide spread in cool-temperature and tropical eucalypt forests with a distribution extending from north QLD down the eastern Australian Coast though into south eastern South Australia. In the wild it needs a high diversity of trees and shrubs that provide all year round nectar. The Feathertail glider is rarely seen in the wild due to its small size. They are predated by foxes, currawongs, kookaburras, some reptiles, owl species and ghost bats. Head and body length 65-80 mm, tail length 70-80 mm and weight 10-15g. The Feathertail glider lives up to 5 years in the wild and in captivity. You require an Advanced License to keep this species in Victoria.
The Feathertail glider is not a hard or difficult species to house and maintain in captivity. To have success with this species, it needs to be kept in large colonies of 12 or more animals. If you are considering keeping this species in captivity, it should NOT be kept in pairs. Feathertails will not breed successfully in captivity without specific numbers and specific husbandry techniques being maintained. To breed this species you to be a dedicated keeper.
Housing - Minimum enclosure floor area = 5sqm, Maximum number of animals = 4, Minimum height = 2m, Increased floor area for each addition animal = 1.5sqm, (Overton 2001). Or area for a pair of animals L x W x H (m) 1.0 x 1.0 x 1.0. With 0.30 x 0.30 additional floor area for each extra animal, (Jackson 2003). Aviaries for this species could utilise a number of materials glass/perspex and wire. Wire needed would be commercial "mouse" wire. Feathertail gliders breed well in large indoor enclosures. It is believed this is due to the size of the enclosures with a large number of animals 12-15 in a colony.
Diet - Healesville Sanctuary Diet, per animal per day
3ml nectar mix
1g mixed fruit
1 x mealworm once per week.
1 x insect once per week (moth, cricket etc)
1 x pollen grain once per week.
Blossoms from eucalypts, bloodwoods, melaleucas, banksias,and callistemons should be provided whenever possible.
Nectar Mix – commercial mixes available.
Fresh water should be available at all times. Feathertail gliders will enter torpor in response to cold or decreased nutrient intake. Torpor usually lasts for less than a day.
Breeding - Embryonic diapause has traditionally been recognised as a characteristic of macropods. Diapause has been described in the feathertail glider. Breeding will occur from July to January with females usually producing two litters within this time. The second litter is conceived at a post-partum oestrus and undergoes a period of genetic diapause. Young spend 9 weeks in the pouch. Young are weaned at approximately 100 days. Females can breed in their first year, males become sexually mature in their second year. This species is promiscuous. Breeding success is common when a keeper provides plentiful climbing surfaces, food and shelter requirements including nectar and insects. It is extremely important to keep this species in a large social group. The combination of factors is believed to lead to relative ease in breeding. Species kept without this combination have not bred in captivity.