Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

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 and Ross B. Cunningham A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

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

Australian Journal of Zoology 58(1) 39-49 https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO09070
Submitted: 17 June 2009  Accepted: 3 February 2010   Published: 7 April 2010

Abstract

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.


Acknowledgements

We thank the Hume and Wagga Wagga Rural Lands Protection Boards, Wagga Wagga City and Greater Hume Shire (formerly Culcairn Shire Council) Councils, and private landholders for allowing us access to their properties, Cody Keys for assistance with trapping and radio-tracking, and Damian Michael, Chris MacGregor, Ben MacDonald, Nicki Munro, and Jake Gillen. We thank our two wildlife veterinarians Karen Viggers and Arianne Lowe. We conducted trapping and radio-tracking under an Australian National University Animal Experimentation Ethics Committee permit (AEC number C.RE.39).


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Appendix 1.  Den tree and den tree context variables
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