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Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps) Fact Sheet: Distribution & Habitat


Most widespread marsupial in Australasia

(Jackson 2015a)

  • Australia: northern, eastern, and southeastern regions (Smith 1973; Salas et al. 2016)
    • Tasmania (Salas et al. 2016)
      • Introduced by humans in 1835 (Smith 1973; Campbell et al. 2018)
      • Established throughout the island (Lindenmayer 2002)
    • Offshore islands
  • New Guinea (Indonesia, Papua New Guinea) (Smith 1973; Salas et al. 2016)
    • May have been introduced to some Melanesian islands (Flannery 1995)
  • More than 20 nearby islands (Jackson 2015a)
    • Moluccan Islands (Salas et al. 2016)
  • Range overlaps with nearly all other Petaurus species (Jackson 2015a)
    • Do not appear to strongly compete; adaptable to many habitats, climates, and food resources (Jackson 2015b)
  • Range ability in fragmented habitats is limited (Downes et al. 1997; Lindenmayer 2002; Mortelliti et al. 2015)
    • However, Suckling (1984) suggests Sugar Glider can cross open areas of pasture

Elevation range

  • Sea level to 3,000 m (9,000 ft) above sea level (Flannery 1995; Jackson 2015a)



  • Australia (Jackson 2015a)
    • Rainforest
    • Eucalypt forest
    • Woodlands
  • New Guinea
    • Most forest types (Flannery 1995; Jackson 2015a)
      • Floodplain forest
      • Savanna woodland
      • Lower montane forest
      • Secondary regrowth areas
    • Not present in high mountains (Jackson 2015a)
  • Human-altered habitats
    • Plantations (Smith 1973; Mortelliti et al. 2015)
    • Rural gardens (Flannery 1995; Salas et al. 2016)
  • Occupy primary, secondary, and degraded forests (Salas et al. 2016; Allen et al. 2018)
    • Successfully occupy habitat fragments and narrow corridors (e.g., along roads) (Suckling 1984)

Habitat requirements and preferences

  • Require tree hollows for breeding and nesting (Suckling 1984; Koch et al. 2008)
  • Forage easier in mature forest (Lindenmayer et al. 2013; Nowak 2018a)
    • Closed mid-canopy aids short-distance gliding, making tight turns, and jumps during windy conditions (Jackson 2000a; Jackson 2000b)
      • Less air turbulence (Jackson 2015b)
      • Easier to turn (Jackson 2015b)
  • Often associated with Acacia and Banksia trees, as well as Eucalyptus (Davey 1984; Suckling 1984; Howard 1989; Jackson 2015a; Jackson 2015b)
    • Often found in low- to mid-canopy, especially if competing for space with another lesser glider species (resource partitioning)

Sugar Glider Distribution

Sugar glider distribution map

The sugar glider occurs in New Guinea and Australia.

It is the only Australian glider that also lives in New Guinea and Tasmania.

Adapted from according to IUCN fact sheet. Click here or on map for detailed distribution (IUCN).

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