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Finding Feathertails from Wires Northern Rivers NSW

Feathertail Gliders, NSW Northern Rivers, Heartland Magazine

Finding Feathertails

Feathertail gliders don’t come into care with WIRES very often, but on one day this week WIRES rescued two of these beautiful little creatures in different circumstances.

Feathertail Gliders, NSW Northern Rivers, Heartland Magazine
Photo credit: Sue Ulyatt

Feathertail gliders are quite secretive, and although relatively common in some areas of the Northern Rivers, they are not often seen. When noticed, people often don’t know what they are. With a head and body length of just 6.5 – 8cm, they get their name from their remarkable tail which looks like a feather and is a further 7-8cm long. The tail is used to steer and brake as they glide up to 20 meters through the trees. Like all gliders they have a skin fold between their elbow and knee known as a patagium which, when stretched out, allows them to float long distances, like a falling leaf. They are at home in the trees, feeding on insects, pollen and nectar.

One of the two Feathertail gliders rescued this week was found inside a house at Rosebank. At first it was mistaken for a mouse, but on closer inspection Ester realised it certainly wasn’t a mouse and that something was wrong. Ester called WIRES and this little 8g juvenile (pictured) was rescued. Fortunately this little guy was uninjured and had probably just glided into the house by mistake on an early ‘flight’. Although dehydrated, tired and scared he just needed some rest and to build his strength.

Feathertail Gliders, NSW Northern Rivers, Heartland Magazine
Photo credit: Sue Ulyatt

The second Feathertail was brought into a house by a cat, North West of Casino. Being so small it was very lucky to still be alive when found. Thinking it was a baby Sugar glider, XX thankfully transported it to the vet. WIRES was called and this glider was taken into care so that it could receive a course of antibiotics. On closer inspection this little Feathertail, weighing 16g, was discovered to be a female, with three very tiny babies in her pouch. Sadly, the stress of the cat attack and human handling meant that she lost her babies overnight.

The little juvenile glider is not far from being independent and will be released in about a weeks’ time back on the property where he was found. The mum Feathertail is doing well, and will return home once her course of antibiotics is finished where she can hopefully go on to have more babies back in the wild.

Please keep on the lookout for these amazing creatures and very importantly, keep cats inside.

If you are keen to make a difference for the wildlife in our area, consider joining WIRES. Now is a great time to join since their next workshop will be held in Lismore on October 7th and there is time beforehand to complete the online part of the course. For more information about how you can join and contribute call 6628 1898.

Photo credit: Sue Ulyatt

An all-volunteer organisation, WIRES relies heavily on the generosity of caring people for support. All donations $2 and over are tax deductible. Now is also a great time to join WIRES and start learning to be a wildlife rescuer. Our 24-hour hotline is for all rescue, advice or membership calls in the Northern Rivers – call 6628 1898 or go to http://wiresnr.org/Helping.html to find out how you can help.

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