The behaviour and environmental enrichment of captive mahogany gliders (Petaurus gracilis)

Muller, Tracy L., Ensabella, Traza J., Booth, Rosie, Johnston, Stephen D. and Phillips, Clive J. C. (2010) The behaviour and environmental enrichment of captive mahogany gliders (Petaurus gracilis). Australian Mammalogy, 32 2: 109-116. doi:10.1071/AM09035

Author Muller, Tracy L.
Ensabella, Traza J.
Booth, Rosie
Johnston, Stephen D.
Phillips, Clive J. C.
Title The behaviour and environmental enrichment of captive mahogany gliders (Petaurus gracilis)
Journal name Australian Mammalogy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0310-0049
Publication date 2010-08-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/AM09035
Volume 32
Issue 2
Start page 109
End page 116
Total pages 8
Place of publication Collingwood, VIC, Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Abstract The mahogany glider is an endangered native marsupial of northern Queensland, Australia. A captive population of seven females and three males was established under a recovery plan for this species to provide progeny for release into the wild. This study aimed to investigate the behaviour of mixed-sex and all-female pairs in this population and determine whether behaviour useful for survival in the wild could be stimulated by environmental-enrichment programs. Gliders spent 56% of their time in their nest box and were essentially nocturnal, except for emerging at 1300 hours when food was offered. They were unresponsive to enrichment programs designed to encourage climbing and play, but increased foraging in response to enrichments designed to stimulate feeding behaviour and increase safety from predators. Females kept in same-sex pairs spent more time climbing than those in mixed-sex pairs. In the latter, males spent more time than females stationary and staring, suggesting vigilance, with less active time outside the nest box. Paternal nurturing behaviour was observed for the first time in this species, and this suggests a dominant caring role for males in this species. Copulation was also observed for the first time, but there was no evidence of courtship. It is concluded that the enrichments designed to stimulate foraging activity were successful, and that males played a major role in the rearing of young in this species, which needs to be recognised in managing captive populations. © CSIRO 1996-2011
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
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Created: Tue, 08 Mar 2011, 14:37:13 EST by Annette Winter on behalf of School of Animal Studies