Pocket Pets: Sugar Gliders
A tiny creature has been gaining popularity as a pet all across the country, the sugar glider. A personal experience with being able to meet and handle one of these cute marsupials occurred at Cook's Flea Market in Winston Salem, North Carolina. If you want a true "pocket pet" , this is the one for you! They enjoy being in a pouch or warm place, the one I met wanted to crawl down my shirt.
Sugar gliders are marsupials native to areas of New Guinea, Australia, and recently, Tasmania. With black, cream, and pearl grey markings these adorable creatures can be an interesting addition to the family. They are about the size of a regular handkerchief when in flight. Their opposable thumbs make it easy for them to grab onto a tree or other object. These nocturnal creatures may need to have cages placed in a quiet place outside the bedroom at night.
Sugar gliders are best suited for a wire type cage which makes it easier for climbing. Tall cages are better for giving the sugar glider adequate room to climb and glide. Glass cages are very limiting for gliders and prohibit their climbing ability and cut down on their exercise.
Sugar gliders are so small that they can fit in the palm of your hand, making it easier to give them the accommodations they need. The cage will need to be equipped with perches and ropes for exploring and climbing. Supplying your sugar glider with needed food and water is simple. A hanging water bottle and a regular food bowl typically used for hamsters is all you need.
Due to their tiny size, sugar gliders need special cages with small enough bars, wires, or mesh that this pocket pets can't slip out of the protection of their new home.
Feeding Your Sugar Glider
There are various food options for feeding sugar gliders. Fifty percent of their meals should consist of protein foods such as mealworms, chicken and turkey baby food, crickets, and boiled eggs. The other half of the diet will consist of fruits, vegetables, and dry food. This combination will allow for plenty of variety for feeding the glider. Any fresh foods that are not consumed should be removed from the cage daily to prevent spoilage. Keep dry foods in their food bowls at all times to give them something to snack on.
Once the glider is taken home to his new family, the bonding process should begin. A small pouch worn next to the body will give the glider a sense of safety and security. Gliders that may have to be in the pouch for long periods of time should have access to food and water. Apple slices are a clean snack that most gliders love to snack on and can be kept in the pouch also.
Don't get alarmed, as sugar gliders tend to be very vocal. When frightened they will make a vocalization called crabbing . Some gliders like to talk more than others, these noises are just them getting used to their new owners and home. Sugar gliders are small, cute creatures that love to climb and explore. They are very curious by nature, and tend to bond well with all human members of the family as well as other househould pets.
The law to make it legal to own sugar gliders as pets states that they are not considered to be "exotic pets" has been effective since March of 2009. It is legal to own a sugar glider as a domestic pet in 47 of the 48 contiguous states. The only state that does not allow them is California.
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