What is a "sugar glider," and how did one end up in the hands of a Parksville rescue group?

That's the question many were asking after Flying Fur Animal Rescue and Refuge posted an image of the bizarre-looking creature on its Facebook page.

The sugar glider is an exotic marsupial originating from Australia that's related to possums and kangaroos. It's called that becaues similar to flying squirrels, it can "glide" on air when jumping from tall heights.

But staff at the rescue are perplexed after one was anonymously dropped off at their facility on the weekend.

"She was just dropped off in a box with no note," said operator Leah Moore.

Worse, the animal had suffered a tail degloving injury "where the flesh and the fur has been pulled off," said Moore. "She can recover from it, it just looks pretty gruesome."

The rescue is hoping whoever dropped off the critter will contact them so they can gather information on its age, temperament and medical history.

"This is obviously someone's pet, but we're not sure the origin of the injury. Sometimes these guys can get caught in hamocks...caught in things or another glider could've injured him," she said.

Moore also said the animals do best when they're not left alone, and that in some cases, isolated sugar gliders can self-mutilate.

Moore says she thinks the glider can make a full recovery and hopefully be relocated to a new forever home.

It's just one of dozens of unusual animals Flying Fur has up for adoption, including Fred and Wilma – a pair of brother and sister pigs that the rescue says must be adopted together.

"They do make wonderful companions," said Moore. "They love to cuddle, they'll sleep in the bed if you let them, they use the litter box."

They and other animals in the rescue's care can be viewed on Flying Fur's Facebook page.