Sugar Glider Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Sugar gliders are small animals that have a very interesting skill. This lesson will teach you about sugar gliders, how they move from tree to tree without flying and some other cool facts about these animals.

What is a Sugar Glider?

Imagine looking up into the night sky when you see a figure sailing overhead in the moonlight. It lands in a tree and is gone. That wasn't a bird or a bat you saw, it was a sugar glider!

A sugar glider is a small animal with thick brownish gray fur, large eyes and a flap of skin on each side of its body that stretches from its front ankles to its back ankles. These animals can grow to be a little over 7 inches long and weigh about 6 ounces, which is about as much as 30 quarters.

Sugar gliders don't actually fly like birds do. They use their skin flaps like a wing suit. They stick all four legs straight out, the way you do a belly flop in the pool, so their skin flaps are completely stretched out. Then they glide from treetop to treetop. In a single glide they can sail more than 148 feet, which is almost the length of two tennis courts.

Sugar Glider with Skin Flaps
Sugar Glider with Skin Flaps

They may look a little like squirrels, but they are marsupials and carry their babies in pouches on their stomach, like kangaroos and koalas. Baby sugar gliders hitch a ride with their mother for ten weeks.

Life as a Sugar Glider

Sugar gliders are found in the wild in Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea and islands of Indonesia, though you may see them in a zoo.

They are found in forests and can easily grab on to branches and tree trunks when they land because they have a thumb and four spiky toes on each foot. Those toes let them hook into the tree without falling.

Sugar Glider on a Tree Trunk
Sugar Glider on a Tree Trunk

Sugar gliders like to hang out together and live in groups with as many as 40 family members, especially when it's colder. When it's time to sleep during the day, they cuddle up together in tree holes, with as many as seven in one hole. They aren't just good gliders, they're super snugglers!

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