Other creatures use nest boxes too!

In this country, other creatures, such as squirrels, dormice and bats sometimes use nest boxes, particularly for hibernating in over the winter.

Australian Sugar Glider in a Nest Box

I was recently sent this picture of a Sugar Glider by my Uncle (Ranger Geoff) who lives in Australia. Ranger Geoff put up a number of nest boxes in the trees around his home four years a go but hasn’t found anything in them until now.

Class 2 are very curious and want to find out more about this creature. They are really excited that Ranger Geoff has agreed to answer their questions on this blog.

Update: Ranger Geoff has emailed us a recording of a Sugar Glider calling from the top of a tree just up from his house and also some pictures showing Sugar Glider habitat.

A Sugar Glider Calling

Good Sugar Glider Habitat

Good Sugar Glider Habitat

This is bush in the Warby Range State Park (Victoria, Australia). The trees are Blakelys Red Gums. Notice all the hollows in the trees, just right for Sugar Gliders and many other small animals.





The bush around Ranger Geoff's house

The bush around Ranger Geoff’s house

This is some of the bush around Ranger Geoff’s house. Can you spot Ranger Geoff with a hose blacking out a burning tree after a fire was lit to burn the bush.


Other creatures use nest boxes too! — 41 Comments

    • Sugar Gliders are small Possums that have learnt to glide between trees. They are marsupials about the size of a kitten with a bushy tail. Sugar Gliders like to eat insects like moths and beetles but are especially fond of the sweet nectar from Eucalyptus tree flowers that is how they got here name. There are two other gliders the bigger Squirrel Glider, not a squirrel at all, and the Greater Glider about three times bigger.

  1. Dear Ranger Geoff
    Please could you tell me whether the sugar glider flies. I’ve heard about a flying squirrel in Australia, is it the same thing?
    Thank you

    • Sugar gliders don’t actually fly, they have flaps of skin that stretch between there front and back legs. They can travel quickly through the Bush (Australian Forest), they climb to high point in a tree jump off spread there legs out so that the skin flaps catch the air and glide down to the next tree. They can glide up to 50 meters, if the trees are to far apart they land on the ground and can be caught by predators.

    • Sugar Gliders are Nocturnal, which means they are only active at night. Like most other nocturnal animals they have extra big eyes so that they can see in the dark.

    • Yes, they sleep in the box during the day. Because the days can get very hot during the summer, it is important that the nest box is put on the shady side of the tree otherwise the gliders get too hot and won’t use it.

    • This looks like a nest for the female to rear the young in so the mother will come back to the nest every night. Sugar Gliders are social animals living in a group of up to seven adults. They all use the nest it helps to keep warm in cold weather.

    • They are called Sugar Gliders because they are attracted by sweet stuff. In the past people would sometimes paint a tree with sugary water or honey, the gliders would come to the tree at night to lick the honey off and could easily be seen by someone with torch.

    • Baby Gliders don’t have a special name, scientist would say they are juveniles. When they are born they are tiny with no fur, by the time they leave the pouch they will look like small versions of their mothers.

    • Because they are mammals the babies are fed on their mothers milk until they leave the nest to forage for food. They leave the nest about 30 days after they leave the mothers pouch

    • Yes, They are mammals but also Marsupials that means the females carry their young in a pouch. Sugar glider young stay in the pouch until they are old enough to be left in the nest when the mother goes out to feed. about 70 days.

    • Mostly Owls because they are out and about at night too. Where I live there are two owls that will eat Sugars the big Powerful Owl and smaller Barking Owls. If Gliders come down to the ground they can be caught and eaten by Foxes and cats. Cats and foxes are introduced to Australia, Foxes and cats kill a lot of our native animals, some have already become extinct as a result, Rangers spend a lot of their time controlling them.

    • Sugar Gliders play a very important role in keeping the bush(forest)in good health. When Sugar Gliders disappear from a forest the trees often start to die because most of the insects that the gliders eat the leaves of the trees. When the insectivores go, the insects increase in numbers and damage the trees so much that they cannot grow leaves fast enough to keep up. In 1982 there was a big drought in The Warby Range State Park that I manage, as a result the canopy, that is the leaves that make up the higher part of the tree, died and all the insectivorous canopy dwellers like Sugar Gliders and birds disappeared too. It took eleven years before the insectivores came back and the trees recovered.

    • No, they are found in the South East, where I live, all along the East Coast and across Northern Australia (The Top End) to the northern part of Western Australia. I almost forgot they live in Tasmania too.

  2. Dear Ranger Geoff,

    Thank you for emailing us a recording of a sugar glider calling from the treetops. We all enjoyed listening to it. Do sugar gliders always make this sound or do they make other noises too?

    Would you mind sending us some pictures showing what your sugar glider’s habitat is like. Does it change much throughout the year?

    • Generally this is the only call they make, sometimes it is loud, other times it is very quiet and hard to hear. When they fight among themselves they scream and might make a gurgling chattering if they are disturbed in the nest.

      I will send you a picture of the bush on my place. There are very few deciduous trees in Australia so the habitat does not change much except as a result of drought or when the trees are flowering.

  3. Dear Ranger Geoff,

    I was wondering if you know how long the sugar gliders live for.

    Have you given it a name. (I am going to call it Geoffy)

    Thankyou very much for all your knowledge about the sugar glider.

    I enjoyed listening to the sound, it sounded a bit like a bird calling for help.

    • Well, that is a hard question to answer so I rang my Neighbour Maisie who is a wildlife carer, (Ask Mrs.Mahadevan if she remembers her) Maisie had a Squirrel Glider in her care for 17 years, it would not have lived as long in the wild. Sugar Gliders are smaller so would probably not live as long. I would think most gliders would live about ten years in the wild.
      I haven’t given the glider a name I don’t think I would recognise it if I saw it again. You are welcome to give it a name thank you.

      • I certainly do remember Maisie. The memory of her collecting up joeys with improvised pouches made from old jumpers and coat hangers, will stay with me forever! I will show the class a video I took of Maisie doing this.

  4. Dear Ranger Geoff
    In this country sugar gliders are kept as pets. How do you feel about that? Do they keep sugar gliders as pets in at Australia?

    • I feel sad when I hear of wild animals kept as pets, animals like sugar gliders have busy active life interacting with other gliders, not animals from another species who don’t understand them. Gliders feed mostly on insects in the wild and often don’t get fed properly in captivity. Yes some people keep Sugar Gliders as pets in Australia but they must have a licence to do so.
      It is illegal to take native wildlife out of Australia, so it is most likely that animals like Sugar Gliders originally came from Wildlife Smugglers. Sometimes Zoos sell surplus animals that have been bred in the zoo. It is very important that a check is made to ensure that pets come from properly authorised dealers.

      • I think its very sad that people ceep suger gliders as pets its seems a bit evil ceeping them away from there own kind. I defently agree with you.

    • I say Ranger Geoff it is not good to keep wild animals at all.
      I say you are a very good man because you watch them and take good care of them by providing boxes for them.

    • I don’t think it is good when people keep wild animals as pets. Sugar gliders help the forests and if we took them away there would be no forest.Sugar gliders wouldn’t like the weather in England becouse it is much colder here than in Australia and so they would be unhappy.

    • I wouldn’t buy a sugar glider because it wouldn’t be very nice keep it in cage where it can not be with its family or fly.

    • I think keeping a sugar glider isn’t very good because they won’t be able to glide from tree to tree and they would be unhappy.

    • Hi Ben, Sugar Gliders get their name because they like sweet things such as nectar from flowers and gum that comes from the bark of trees not because of their colour.

  5. Hi everyone, I looked in my nest boxes today, I don’t do it too often so as not to frighten the animals away. To my surprise the Sugar Glider nest box was full to the top with green leaves. I put my hand in carefully, it was a cold sunny day at the start of winter, it felt warm inside the nest, sure enough the nest was full of a whole family of Gliders all curled up together asleep. I didn’t count them as it would have upset them too much. One of the other nest boxes has green leaves but no gliders and a third just old dry leaves and bracken. Two other Boxes have not been used while the last one I took down because feral bees had moved in and built their hive in the box.

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