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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 58(1)

The use of den trees by the squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) in temperate Australian woodlands

Mason J. Crane A B C, David B. Lindenmayer A, Ross B. Cunningham A

A Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.
B C/- 117 Sheridan St, Gundagai, NSW 2722, Australia.
C Corresponding author. Email: masoncrane@yahoo.com
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Effective conservation relies on understanding the biology of particular species and how they use key resources. For many arboreal mammals, tree hollows are a key den site. We examined the use of tree hollows by the squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) in south-eastern Australia. Over a five-month study, individual squirrel gliders used multiple hollow trees (average = 7) as den sites. Den sites were often adjacent to areas where nocturnal activities took place. The average distance between den sites used by individual gliders on successive days was 218 m. Dens were often shared by an adult pair and a juvenile. Den trees were disproportionably used, with gliders showing preference for 1–2 primary den trees often located on steep slopes. Our findings have implications for the number and spatial arrangement of den trees needed to promote the conservation of populations of the squirrel glider, particularly where land is used for agriculture and livestock grazing.

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