Possum pays a flying visit to sixth-floor flat

Lost sugar glider that bit man may have flown in from the building opposite

Friday, 14th January — By Guy Taylor

Sugar glider

John Zou feeds the sugar glider that flew in through his window

A MAN has told how an exotic animal flew into his sixth-floor flat through an open window before biting him as he tried to work out what it was.

John Zou, 27, has now been told that he had been visited by a lost possum with the possibility that it had been able to glide more than 30 metres to get into his home.

He was woken by the sugar glider at his home in Farringdon at around 6am on Monday.

“I wasn’t wearing glasses so initially I couldn’t figure out what it was, I just heard the noise it was making – so I got pretty scared,” Mr Zou said.

Sugar gliders are a type of possum, native to Australia, New Guinea and parts of Indonesia. They can glide distances of more than 50 metres and experts believe they should not be kept as pets.

Mr Zou was woken by the sugar glider at his home at around 6am

The Tribune helped put Mr Zou in contact with the RSPCA, who sent an animal rescue officer to collect the animal.

It has since been passed it on to a “specialist keeper” in Cambridgeshire.

Mr Zou said: “He was quite agile and running all over the place, but he was very cautious and didn’t want me to approach.

“He actually bit me on my hand, just a little bite, so I thought I’d leave him alone.”

He added: “The RSPCA officer who called me yesterday said, well, the glider might even have come from the building opposite.”

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of sugar gliders kept as pets in the UK, due to their cuteness and remarkable gliding ability.

RSPCA inspector Francesca Tambini said: “Sugar gliders look incredibly cute and this little guy is adorable.

“It’s easy to see why people might be tempted to buy them as pets but we would urge them to reconsider; these animals need very specialist care and we don’t believe they are suitable as pets.”

A sugar glider in flight; they can cover distances of more than 50 metres

She added: “I expect this little guy is an escaped pet or has been abandoned locally before turning up on this man’s balcony.

“Unfortunately, we do see these sorts of animals being abandoned from time-to-time when their owners realise how difficult it is to meet their needs in a household environment.

According to the RSPCA, “sugar gliders are social animals and should never be kept on their own”.

With sugar gliders being sold online, Peta [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] has also warned against taking them homes.

“Often impulse buyers quickly realise that they are unprepared for the responsibility of caring for these active, inquisitive, nocturnal animals,” the group said.

“They are also tree dwellers, avid climbers with a furry membrane spanning from wrist to ankle that allows them to glide from tree to tree – similar to a flying squirrel.

“But their arboreal lifestyle means that they have sharp claws for climbing and grasping, which can make it uncomfortable or even painful for humans to hold them in their bare hands.”

Mr Zou has placed a notice on the bulletin board of his block of flats in Leather Lane in an attempt to locate the owner, but no one has got back to him yet.

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