Caring for a Sugar Glider

Sugar gliders make great pets. They are playful little marsupials who love to cuddle but require specific care.

Sugar gliders need a large, multi-leveled living space that’s taller than it is wide so they can jump and, well, glide. By: GarrettTT

If you can’t have a cat or dog, but you fancy something more interactive than a stick insect, cockroach or pet tarantula, a sugar glider might be your perfect pet.

These tiny marsupials, native to the forests of New Guinea, Indonesia and Australia, grow to about the size of your hand. Generally healthy, sturdy little critters, sugar gliders tend to have few medical problems. In captivity, their life span may be as long as 14 years.

Sugar Gliders’ Pet Potential

Do sugar gliders make good pets?

Yes — but they are not as low-maintenance as hamsters or gerbils. They require almost as much care as a cat. Not only will you need to feed your glider but also you will probably spend a good bit of money creating a habitat for your pet. Sugar gliders are social creatures, and they need companionship.

Because they live in colonies, sugar gliders should not be alone. Give your glider a buddy. Same-sex gliders make the best pairs and groups, as males will become aggressive and territorial if females are part of the group.

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Sugar gliders are considered rare and exotic animals in the United States, so they are not legal in every state.

Recommended Reading

Sugar Gliders: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual (affiliate link), by Caroline Wightman, is an invaluable source of information about these playful marsupials.

This handy manual discusses caging, feeding, maintaining a proper environment, breeding, health care and more.

By: Eugene Sergeev
You’ll have a new friend right in your shirt pocket. By: Eugene Sergeev

Sugar Gliders Have a Playful Demeanor

Curious, intelligent and active, sugar gliders love to play with people. They bond deeply and enjoy spending time with you by engaging in fun activities. If you want to take your well-socialized buddies on outings, they love to cuddle in a warm pocket.

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They’ll also climb just about any vertical surface — just so they can jump down in their trademark “glide” position, which almost looks like flying.

They also like to explore, so supervise their activities and keep track of them.

Watch these cuties scramble and “fly” all over a woman’s Brooklyn apartment in this video:

Sugar Gliders Eat a Variety of Foods

These pets eat vegetables, fruits,  protein, insects and a host of common household foods, such as scrambled eggs, yogurt, nuts and fruit juice.

Place several feeding stations in their cage and make sure they always have fresh water.

Sugar Gliders’ Preferred Habitats

Sugar gliders like large habitats that measure at least 20 by 20 by 36 inches, such as a multi-level ferret enclosure or a large birdcage.

The space must be taller than it is wide, and it should be as large as possible because sugar gliders like to move around. Place the habitat on an elevated surface in a quiet area away from direct sunlight.

Create a cozy, fun-filled space by installing several multi-level surfaces with boxes, ledges and bars. Sugar gliders enjoy toys such as swings, tunnels and wheels, similar to what you see in the hamster or bird supply section of a pet store.

Give your sugar gliders a nice sleeping space, such as a hollow tree section or bird nesting box, or give them a fleece sleeping pouch.


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