Thursday, October 04, 2007


What then, is a Sugar Glider?

Scientific name: Petaurus ("rope dancer") breviceps ("short head").
Scientific Group: Phalanger ("Fingery one").
Well, I saw one of these in the "Twilight World" at Bristol Zoo (see below).

But you might be able (if you are exceptionally lucky?) to see one or two in the wild, in the UK, not so far out of central London!

The Sugar Glider is a gliding possum. An Australian marsupial that has been kept as pets in the UK, been released or escaped, and since about the year 2000, has set up a small colony on Wimbledon Common.

Thats right. Wombles DO exist.

Resembling small Grey Squirrels with huge eyes and dark marks on their faces, they extend their flaps of skin ("Patagia "- one for Balderdash that), between front and hind limbs and glide between trees for distances of up to 50m.
They have a sweet tooth (hence their name) and feed on nectar, fruit, seeds, small animals and animal discharges. Nocturnal generally by nature, your best chance of seeing them is dusk or dawn I suppose.
Let me know if you do!

NB. There are many "exotic creatures" living wild in the UK these days. Many were deliberately introduced, and many you wouldn't consider them to be effectively foreign nationals. Animals like Pheasants, Canada Geese, Rabbits, Muntjac Deer - all alien really, to our shores. Not to mention Terrapins and some big cats which I'm convinced are here in some numbers.
There is a small colony of Chipmunks breeding in the New Forest, but you'll do incrediby well to see them. Both Chipmunks and Sugar Gliders can withstand low temperatures, and do seem to be breeding here. As do Terrapins, which previously were thought to effectively be infertile in our cold(ish) climate.

Keep 'em peeled. You never know what you'll see out and about.

Even Flying Wombles on Wimbledon Common...

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