Action Plan for Australian Marsupials and Monotremes

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Wildlife Australia, December 1996
ISBN 0 6422 1395 X

Recovery Outline - Squirrel Glider

Taxon Summary

Squirrel Glider

1 Family: Petauridae

2 Scientific name: Petaurus norfolcensis (Kerr, 1792)

3 Common name: Squirrel Glider

4 Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened): c

5 Past range and abundance:

Not well documented outside Vic. Occurs in a broad band from Cape York Peninsula (Qld) to central Vic., extending to the coastal side of the Great Dividing Range between southern Qld and central NSW. Apparently more abundant in coastal forests of northern NSW and south-eastern Qld than inland of the Great Dividing Range or in southern parts of its range. Based on current habitat preferences, it is certain that the area of suitable habitat on the inland slopes of the Great Dividing Range and along water courses in the NSW and Vic. Riverina has declined significantly. In these areas, Squirrel Gliders are now confined to isolated patches of remnant vegetation, often severely degraded and with little or no regeneration of trees and shrubs.

Formerly present on the Wimmera Plain as far west as Bordertown (SA), but not now known to occur west of the northern tip of Grampians NP.

Reports of Squirrel Gliders in coastal forests of south-eastern NSW (eg. Davey 1984) require confirmation, as other extensive investigations of the arboreal fauna in that region have not reported the species.

6 Present range and abundance:

Overall distribution not significantly changed but population fragmented and probably in steady decline in areas with predominantly pastoral or agricultural land use

Overall distribution not significantly changed but population fragmented and probably in steady decline in areas with predominantly pastoral or agricultural land use. Also has suffered loss of habitat in NSW north of Sydney due to coastal development. Recent extension of range into Cape York Peninsula is the result of better sampling rather than population movements.

7 Habitat:

Dry open forest and woodland, including Box-Ironbark, Blackbutt-Bloodwood, Grey Gum-Grey Ironbark-Spotted Gum and River Red Gum communities; tall coastal forest and Banksia woodland in the north-east of its distribution; and Ironbark-Lemon-scented Gum-Forest Red Gum association in north Qld.

8 Current threats:

Steady attrition of quality and extent of habitat remnants due to removal of timber for both sawn products and firewood; lack of suitable hollows in most habitat remnants on the inland slopes; lack of regeneration of trees and shrubs due to grazing by stock, rabbits and macropods and inappropriate fire regimes; removal of habitat during prospecting and mining for gold; tree decline in rural lands and outbreaks of leaf-skeletonising caterpillars in riverine forests; and further coastal development in NSW and south-east Qld.

9 Recommended actions:

9.1 Develop national recovery plan and establish recovery team. The Plan should incorporate the Vic. Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement, which should be published and implemented. It should also examine what amendments are needed to current forest management practices to enhance Squirrel Glider habitat.

9.2 Monitor persistence and abundance throughout range, particularly at peripheral and isolated sites. This is especially urgent for inland populations in NSW and Qld, where range also needs to be documented more accurately.

9.3 Reassess the evidence of presence in coastal forests of southern NSW. Conduct further, carefully-targeted, surveys if necessary.

9.4 Use biochemical taxonomic techniques to examine the possible differences between coastal and inland populations.

9.5 Conduct further research into the ecological requirements of the species and the impacts of habitat alterations, including timber removal, silviculture and grazing.

9.6 Further habitat protection in State forests, parks and on private property is needed, especially in areas of box-ironbark in northern Vic. and western NSW, and areas of grey gum-grey ironbark-spotted gum from near Sydney to the Qld-NSW border.


Davey S.M. 1984. Habitat preferences of arboreal marsupials within a coastal forest in southern New South Wales. Pp. 509-516 in Smith A. and Hume I. (Eds) Possums and gliders. Australian Mammal Society and Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.

Menkhorst P.W. 1995. Squirrel Glider. Pp 113-4 in P.W. Menkhorst (Ed.) Mammals of Victoria. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Menkhorst P.W., Weavers B.W. and Alexander J.S.A. 1988. Distribution, habitat and conservation status of the squirrel glider, Petaurus norfolcensis (Petauridae: Marsupalia), in Victoria. Australian Wildlife Research 15, 59-71.

Quin D.C. 1993. Socioecology of the squirrel glider and sugar glider. Ph.D. thesis, University of New England, Armidale, NSW.


Taxon Summary

Long-tailed Pygmy-possum (Aust)

1 Family: Burramyidae

2 Scientific name: Cercartetus caudatus macrurus (Mjoberg, 1916)

3 Common name: Long-tailed Pygmy-possum (Australian subspecies)

4 Conservation status: Lower Risk (near threatened): b

5 Past range and abundance:

Lowland and upland rainforests between Paluma Range and Cooktown.

6 Present range and abundance:

As above, but area of occupancy has probably declined as a result of clearing of rainforest, especially on the Atherton Tableland As above, but area of occupancy has probably declined as a result of clearing of rainforest, especially on the Atherton Tableland.

7 Habitat:

Rainforest and fringing wet sclerophyll and melaleuca forests.

8 Current threats:

None identified.

9 Recommended actions:

9.1 Monitor distribution and abundance.

9.2 Undertake studies of ecology and habitat requirements.


Atherton R.G. and Haffenden A.T. 1995. Long-tailed Pygmy-possum Cercartetus caudatus. Pp. 211-212 in R. Strahan (Ed.) The Mammals of Australia. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.