Manna Gum with Sugar Glider incisions

Sugar Gliders have a varied diet of invertebrates, acacia gum, eucalypt sap, nectar, pollen and manna. The eucalypt sap and acacia gum are important sources of carbohydrates (including sugars) at certain times of the year.

They obtain the sap (not the red ‘kino’ that drips from wounds) by chiseling holes through the outer bark and into the juicy ‘phloem’ below, then licking the sap that weeps from these incisions.

On the road below our house is a stand of several tall Manna Gums (Eucalyptus viminalis). One of these trees is regularly used by Sugar Gliders as a ‘feed tree’; its had incisions on it since we moved here 20 years ago.

Incisions close-up

Every now and then, as the tree grows, the gliders need to re-work the incisions and dig a little deeper to maintain the sap flow. On some trees, like this one, the incisions can cover a large area and extend some distance up the trunk; in this case from 4 to 10 m above ground level . But its a rare tree that gets this sort of attention; the sap in this one must be particularly tasty! So, I guess there’s at least one healthy family of gliders that live close-by. Their distinctive ‘yap, yap’ call is heard regularly at times, during the year. The photo at right was taken by Belina MacLaughlin on a recent spotlighting walk along Ankers Rd, Boho South. This Sugar Glider was foraging for invertebrates on a dead Silver Wattle.