Sugar Gliders As Pets – Everything You Need To Know

Sugar Gliders As Pets - Everything You Need To Know 2

Imagine a small animal that looks a bit like a bat and a mouse – cute, right?

Such an animal exists and is called a sugar glider!

Are sugar gliders rodents?

Although they might seem to be rodents, sugar gliders are actually part of the marsupial family. Like kangaroos, they also have pouches in which they raise their young.

In case you’re wondering, they’re called sugar gliders because they have skin that folds from their sides to their wrists and this is what helps them to glide from one place to the next when they jump.

Although wild sugar gliders have gray fur with a black stripe on their back, captive sugar gliders are being bred to have a variety of colors. Here’s everything to know about these cute animals and how to keep them as pets.

Sugar Gliders Facts Sheet

Scientific name Petaurus breviceps
Other names “Joey” is the name of their young. All-white sugar gliders are known as albinos.
Where they originate from Cool and tropical forests in Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.
Size Male sugar gliders weigh between 100g and 160g, while female sugar gliders weigh between 80g and 130g.
Lifespan They live between five and seven years in the wild, but in captivity they can live for between 10 and 15 years.
Diet Omnivore
Legal/illegal Sugar gliders are legal to own as pets in the following U.S. states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, and Tennessee.
Price Range Baby sugar gliders cost between $200 and $500, while adults cost between $100 and $150. The reason for this is because the older ones are considered to be less desirable as they are harder to train, as Cost Helper reports.  

Taking Care Of Sugar Gliders

sugar glider as a pet

One of the most important things to know about sugar gliders if you want to keep them as pets is that they are very social.

Unlike some other exotic pets, such as the weasel, the sugar glider will become depressed if it’s all alone. Always ensure that you have more than one sugar glider in your home so that they can keep each other company.

During the cold months, sugar gliders sometimes sleep cuddled up together.

This ensures that they maintain their energy on particularly cold days, such as when temperatures are below freezing, and further points to why company is so essential for these sensitive, social creatures.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at important tips to follow when keeping sugar gliders as pets.

Habitat

active sugar gliders

You should keep your sugar gliders in cages so that they don’t run away. These need to be large so that the animals can jump and glide around.

They are very active! 

One sugar glider should be in a cage that’s at least three inches by two inches by three inches, as PetMD reports.

Make sure that you keep the cage locked and not have too much space between the cage’s bars as sugar gliders are excellent at escaping.

Other important tips for their cages:

  • Put a small bag or pouch in the cage so that they can sleep inside it. Sugar gliders like hiding inside pouches, and it’s probably because of how they are kept in their mother’s pouch when they are young.
  • Put branches or shelves inside the cage so that this can help sugar gliders to move and glide around.
  • Keep the cage in a spot where the temperature is right. Sugar gliders want to be in temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stock their cage with toys. The sugar glider’s cage should have lots of interesting toys to keep him or her occupied.

You can even have an exercise wheel inside the cage, but make sure it’s a closed one so that the glider’s tail won’t get caught in it, as The Spruce Pets advises.

Other items that will stimulate the sugar glider include small ladders and ropes.

This will also ensure that the glider gets enough exercise.

Can You Keep Your Sugar Glider Outdoors?

If you’d prefer to keep your sugar glider outdoors, it’s still a good idea to keep them in a cage, but the problem with them being outside is that they won’t be able to run away from predators.

That’s why indoor living is probably best for them, as long as the cage in which they live has enough space for them to be comfortable and happy.

You can also take them out of their cage sometimes so that they can roam, provided you keep them in one room of the house so they can’t escape or hide.

Diet

sugar gliders diet

If you want to own a sugar glider (or, preferably, two so that they have company), you should know some important food tips.

Sugar gliders are omnivores

When they’re in the wild, they like to eat gum and sap from trees such as the eucalyptus. They also eat pollen and nectar from flowers. This is why they’re known as sugar gliders – they have a sweet tooth! 

Despite the above, one of the mistakes that many sugar glider owners make is feeding their pets too much fruit. Just because they like sweet foods, it doesn’t mean that they want to eat fruit all the time.

You want to give them the right nutrients. Here’s a rundown of how to achieve that:

1. Give sugar gliders 25 percent protein, such as lean meat that’s been cooked, crickets, and mealworms.

2. Another 25 percent of their diet should be comprised of leafy green vegetables and fruit such as mangoes and berries.

3. Finally, 50 percent of their diet should be made up of pelleted food that’s available commercially. This will give them nectar they need.

An alternative to pelleted food is to make your own Leadbeater’s mix.

As Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital Wellness Clinician reports, it is made with 450ml of water, 450ml of honey, three shelled hard-boiled eggs, 75 grams of high-protein baby cereal, and three teaspoons of a vitamin supplement (such as Vionate, which is a multivitamin for pets that’s often used by vets, zoos, and exotic pet owners).

4. Besides for their food, you should also ensure that your pet sugar glider gets a vitamin powder that contains calcium. This should be sprinkled over their food every day, PetMD reports.

However, make sure you consult with a veterinarian who has experience with sugar gliders and can advise you on their diet.

Common Diseases Affecting Sugar Gliders

There are many diseases that can affect the sugar glider. These include parasitic and bacterial infections. Some of the most common diseases that affect them are those related to obesity and malnutrition.

When a sugar glider is overweight, it won’t be able to exercise. It will have no energy and can get diseases such as those affecting the heart.

On the other hand, a sugar glider that is malnourished will also lack energy and can become thin as well as dehydrated.

If you notice that your sugar glider is not able to stand or move around its cage, or it has bruises and pale gums, those are all signs that it’s not getting a balanced diet. 

Reproduction Information

Female sugar gliders give birth to one or two young, called joeys, at least once annually. The young will stay under the care of their mother until they’re approximately 10 months old, as National Geographic reports.

In the wild, sugar glides are colony animals and will live with many other sugar gliders. They do not mate with one sugar glider for life.

Can You Train A Sugar Glider? 

training sugargliders

Earlier, we mentioned that you’ll probably find adult sugar gliders that cost less than babies and the reason for this is that the older animals are considered to be more difficult to train.

But, can you actually train a sugar glider?

Although they are considered to be wild, there are ways in which you can train them to bond with you and become used to you petting them.

When you bring a sugar glider into your home, give it a few days to adjust to its new surroundings so that it can become more comfortable.

Then, use treats such as dried fruit or plain yogurt to make it come to you. You can put these on your finger to encourage the sugar glider to approach you.

Be patient – it might take the sugar glider a few days or weeks before it comes closer. You can also train your sugar glider to climb into a pouch that you carry on your body.

Again, this will require some patience on your part but you can start by wearing the pouch so that the glider gets used to it being a part of you.

Then, lure it to the pouch with treats. Once it gets comfortable with the pouch, it might want to stay in there all day!  

Fascinating Facts About Sugar Gliders

They Communicate With You

sigar glider communicate with humans

Sugar gliders are highly social beings. They aren’t just social with fellow sugar gliders but with humans, too.

You can learn what they’re trying to tell you by paying attention to the sounds they make.

For example, a sound that’s known as “crabbing” is something a sugar glider will do to express its upset. It’s basically like a chattering sound and it’s a warning signal that the glider is upset and will bite you.

This is a sound that you might hear if you wake your sugar glider during the day, as The Spruce Pets reports. The sugar glider is nocturnal and wants to rest during daylight hours. 

They Have Long Tails That Help Them With Tasks

The sugar glider’s tail is said to be like a rudder and it’s almost as long as its body. Sugar gliders use their tails to carry items such as leaves and sticks to their nests. However, their tails are quite delicate.

They can’t hang from branches by their tails because the tails aren’t strong enough to carry their weight.

They Have Opposable Fingers

An interesting fact about sugar gliders is that they have four little hands instead of hands and feet. On each hand, the sugar glider has five digits.

But here’s an interesting fact: it has one opposable finger on both of its back hands. This is to help it to grip onto branches when gliding. 

In addition, sugar gliders also have some fingers that are a bit fused together so that they can use them as a comb to groom themselves! 

They Use Scent To Mark Their Members

Sugar gliders are very social and they can have up to seven adults in a group, known as a colony.

They communicate with each other based on scents that are produced by the urogenital glands of the female sugar gliders and the frontal, urogenital, and sternal glands of the males.

The interesting thing about this is that every sugar glider has his or her own unique scent. The dominant males of the species will mark members in their group with their saliva.

They Look Like They Can Fly

sugar glider flying

Even though they can’t fly, their amazing gliding makes it seem as though they can.

Impressively, an adult sugar glider can glide up to distances of 150 feet! They can also change direction and speed by moving their tails and arms, which enables them to catch insects mid-flight, as Facts.net reports.

They’re Nocturnal Animals

Sugar gliders have large eyes that enable them to see at night. These nocturnal animals like to be in a dark environment during the day because they sleep during the daylight hours.

This is why it’s very important to ensure that you give them shaded, private areas in their enclosures without disturbing their sleep.

However, they become highly active during the night time, so that’s when you should play with them and keep them engaged.

Their nocturnal habits are another important reason why you should always have more than one sugar glider at home – they don’t want to be left all alone during the night.

They Have Long Teeth

Sugar gliders have two upper front teeth as well as two longer lower incisors that point forward.

This enables them to scoop out fruit in the wild as well as open tree bark so they can eat insects and sap that’s inside it, as Sugar Glider Info reports.

Although rodents have teeth that continue growing, this isn’t the case for sugar gliders.

This means that they don’t chew on items and won’t be destructive in the home.

Are Sugar Gliders Legal To Own?

sugar gliders are legal

Although they’re so small you can carry them in your pocket, it might surprise you to find out that not all U.S. states legalize the possession of sugar gliders.

They are considered to be exotic, which is why some states don’t allow them to be kept as pets.

It’s illegal to own a sugar glider in states such as Hawaii, California, Alaska, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

However, they are legal in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, and Tennessee.

In other states, such as Georgia, you will need to have a permit in order to own sugar gliders. However, there are sometimes laws pertaining to the owning of sugar gliders in certain cities even if the state allows them.

For example, you can legally own sugar gliders in Utah but not in Salt Lake City, as Sugar Glider reports. Therefore, make sure you’re allowed to own these exotic pets in your city and state.

Where To Buy Sugar Gliders

Because of their popularity, sugar gliders can be purchased from various places, such as pet stores, shelters, and reputable sugar glider suppliers.

You can also find sugar gliders at rescue shelters where you can adopt one or more of these animals that need happy homes.

Books About Sugar Gliders

sugar glider on the tree

It’s clear to see that sugar gliders are very interesting animals. If you’d like to increase your knowledge about these marsupials, read one or more of the following books. 

Sugar Gliders: Everything About Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Behavior, and Breeding by Caroline Wightman (MacPherson)

This book has a wealth of information related to purchasing sugar gliders, as well as details regarding their care that will make you 100-percent sure that you want to adopt one of these cute marsupials. 

Sugar Gliders Handling by Arthur Gibbons

This book teaches you the correct way to pick up and hold sugar gliders, along with providing information about how to bond with your sugar glider pet.

It’s a valuable resource if you’ve never been around sugar gliders or owned them before.

GIFs, Emojis, And Emoticons

Sugar Glider GIFs

Since they’re so fascinating, there are lots of GIFs about sugar gliders on the internet, such as on Giphy.

Here you’ll see sugar gliders being active, eating, and even being held by humans – they’re so tiny they can fit snugly in the palm of your hand!

Sugar Glider Emojis

Line Store has some cute sugar glider emojis, such as ones of these animals with hearts in their eyes. They cost $0.99.

Sugar Glider Emoticons 

You can also find sugar glider emoticons to send your friends for the same price on Line Store.

They’re quite colorful and artistic, giving your instant messaging a nice burst of playfulness that’s true to the nature of sugar gliders. 

Animals Similar To Sugar Gliders

Flying Squirrel

three flying squirrels

Sugar gliders are sometimes thought to be flying squirrels because they can glide in the air with the use of a patagium, a membrane that stretches from their wrists to legs.

Both animals also have white bellies and large eyes. However, flying squirrels don’t have a pouch to carry their young. 

Chinchilla

These animals can jump from the floor to very high places – they can jump up to heights of six feet! – and need lots of perches in their cages to enable them to do this. In that way, they can be said to be similar to sugar gliders.

However, they are quite shy and reserved instead of being social.  

Degu

degu as a house

These small animals are rodents that are approximately the same size as sugar gliders, however they look more like mice.

One of the biggest differences between the degu and sugar glider is that the degu is diurnal, or most active during the day. However, just like sugar gliders, they’re playful and curious.

Kangaroo

It might seem strange, but sugar gliders are closely related to kangaroos.

These two animals share many similarities. For instance, mothers of both species carry their young in their pouches, and both young are known as joeys. 

Related Questions

sugar glider in palm of a hand

Are male or female sugar gliders better to own?

It might be better to purchase female sugar gliders as they are less territorial than males.

It’s also said that they’re less likely to explore new places, according to what breeders have said, Mom.me reports.

What predators attack sugar gliders?

The glider can be natural prey for various animals, such as owls, snakes, birds, and lizars.

Larger animals, such as feral cats, can also prey on sugar gliders. 

Conclusion

Sugar gliders are becoming popular choices for exotic pets, and it’s easy to see why.

They’re pocket-sized animals, very cute, and have some fascinating traits.

As long as you follow the tips in this article about how to look after them, they can be loving and rewarding pets.

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