|Distribution of the feathertail glider|
The feathertail glider (Acrobates pygmaeus), also known as the pygmy gliding possum, pygmy glider, pygmy phalanger, flying phalanger and flying mouse, is the world's smallest gliding possum and is named for its long feather-shaped tail. At 6.5–8 cm (2.6–3.1 in) in head-and-body length and 10–14 g (0.35–0.49 oz) in weight, it is only the size of a small mouse, but can leap and glide up to 25 m (82 ft). Like other gliding mammals, the feathertail glider has a skin membrane between the fore and hind legs, thicker than that of the other marsupials like the sugar glider, but smaller in proportion, extending only between the elbows and knees. It is monotypical for its genus.
The tail is about the same length as the head and body combined, quite thin, moderately prehensile, and almost hairless except for two obvious rows of long, stiff hairs on either side. The tail, when held straight, looks like a double-sided comb. It is used to grip twigs and small branches, and to control gliding flight: steering and then braking.
The coat is a uniform mid-grey, with dark patches around the eyes and often a white patch behind the ears. The underside is lighter; the ears are moderately large and rounded.
The New Zoo in Poznań, Poland, was the first European zoo to breed feathertail glides in 1999 (their animals originated from Sydney's Taronga Zoo). Some of the animals born in Poznań have been sent to other European zoos, meaning that the entire European captive population is of Poznán descent.
Coins to medals
The feathertail glider was featured on the Australian 1-cent, until it was withdrawn from circulation in 1991. The 1-cent coins, along with the 2-cent coins, were later melted down to make bronze medals for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.
- Groves, C. P. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M, eds. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 56. OCLC 62265494. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.
- Dickman, C., McKenzie, N. & Menkhorst, P. (2008). Acrobates pygmaeus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 28 December 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
- "The Feathertail Glider". Retrieved 2007-02-16.
- Gliding Possums — Environment, New South Wales Government
- Cronin, Leonard — "Key Guide to Australian Mammals", published by Reed Books Pty. Ltd., Sydney, 1991 ISBN 0-7301-0355-2
- van der Beld, John — "Nature of Australia — A portrait of the island continent", co-published by William Collins Pty. Ltd. and ABC Enterprises for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sydney, 1988 (revised edition 1992), ISBN 0-7333-0241-6
- Russell, Rupert — "Spotlight on Possums", published by University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia, Queensland, 1980, ISBN 0-7022-1478-7
- Troughton, Ellis — "Furred Animals of Australia", published by Angus and Robertson (Publishers) Pty. Ltd, Sydney, in 1941 (revised edition 1973), ISBN 0-207-12256-3
- Morcombe, Michael & Irene — "Mammals of Australia", published by Australian Universities Press Pty. Ltd, Sydney, 1974, ISBN 0-7249-0017-9
- Ride, W. D. L. — "A Guide to the Native Mammals of Australia", published by Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1970, ISBN 0 19 550252 3
- Serventy, Vincent — "Wildlife of Australia", published by Thomas Nelson (Australia) Ltd., Melbourne, 1968 (revised edition 1977), ISBN 0-17-005168-4
- Serventy, Vincent (editor) — "Australia's Wildlife Heritage", published by Paul Hamlyn Pty. Ltd., Sydney, 1975 of the marsupial family Petauridae.
- Photos and information about the feathertail glider — Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland
- Gliders in the spotlight — Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland
- Information about the feathertail glider — BIRD website
- Photos and information about the feathertail glider — Mammals of Lamington National Park
- Photos and information about the feathertail glider — University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
- Information about the feathertail glider
- Photos and information about the feathertail glider