WIRES Northern Rivers has taken on another big challenge – rearing and releasing a tiny creature who weighs in at less than one gram.
Nicknamed Spot, the very young Feathertail glider was found on his own in an electrical box by an electrician doing a job for Matt from Wilsons Creek. Matt called WIRES to the rescue.
Spot somehow lost his mum and family and is too young to take care of himself, so he will be in care until he is old enough to be released.
Currently Spot is doing well. It is difficult to raise him on his own as Feathertails are very family oriented and spend their early lives snuggling up together. WIRES has successfully reared and released a very young Feathertail in the past.
You can find Feathertails living in large family groups of about 30, in nests constructed in palm trees, tree ferns, old bird nests, or crowsnest ferns. They use leaves and strips of bark to build spherical closed nests and then line the nest with collected feathers and mammal fur. They will also build in telephone junction boxes and other manmade structures.
Adults weigh only between 10 and 15 grams. A membrane from knee to elbow enables them to glide for an amazing 20 metres on a single glide. Their footpads act like mini suction cups so they can move on any surface, including vertical panes of glass.
They eat nectar, pollen, honeydew and small invertebrates and communicate softly with little clicking sounds.
Feathertails are nocturnal, sleeping all day and roaming around at night to feed. It is good to remember that if you have containers of water outside, put a stick in them so that if a glider or any other small creature falls in they can climb out.
WIRES welcomes calls seeking information or reporting your sightings or experiences. The all-volunteer organisation needs caring people to train as licensed volunteer wildlife rescuers and carers. There are many other ways to help, too, including staffing the hotline service, administration, fund-raising and catering. Give WIRES a call on the 24-hour hotline at 6628 1898 or visit the website at www.wiresnr.org. The next two-day training course will be held on Saturday and Sunday, 22–23 September.