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Sugar Glider Care F.A.Q.'s

Updated on October 12, 2011

Sugar Glider Pictures

2 Baby Sugar Gliders
2 Baby Sugar Gliders

Sugar Gliders In General

Sugar gliders also known as shuggies are commonly found in Australia, Tasmania, and Indonesia. They normally live in groups of 15-30 sugar gliders and have opposable fingers and toes much like a human. Their scientific name is Petaurus breviceps. Sugar gliders are marsupials and can often glider up to 100 feet and have been recorded gliding up to 150 feet.

Random Fact

Female Sugar gliders have 2 uteruses and 3 vaginas. So they are able to become pregnant twice at the same time and be able to carry as many as 3 litters at once ranging in 3 different age categories. So not all your babies could be ready for its O.O.P. life.

Sugar Glider Care Info

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I clean my sugar glider?

A: You do not need to clean your glider they do a great job of cleaning themselves. They are very smart and groom themselves multiple times a day. If they do start putting off an odor you should check your diet. A lot of the time access vitamins cause an odor in urine.

What if my sugar glider has a strong odor?

A: If your shuggie smells bad there is an issue with their diet, most of the time caused by overfeeding. I must warn you it is hard not to overfeed their cute faces but limit there food and make sure it is a constant healthy diet.

Is cage freshener safe for sugar gliders?

A: Now some are and some are not. Make sure you are buying a cage freshener and nothing else. The ultimate way to cut down any odor would be to make sure you are feeding them a proper diet and make sure to hose down or clean there cage every 2-5 days.

How do I make my sugar glider smell better?

A: A proper diet does wonders. They hardly smell like anything if they are feed correctly. Of course if they pee in the pouch they sleep in they will produce an odor much quicker. So if you suspect they are going potty in there pouch or sleeping area change it out every few days and wash it regularly.

Why does my sugar glider smell?

A: If your sugar glider smells bad there is an issue with their diet, most of the time caused by overfeeding. I must warn you it is hard not to overfeed their cute faces but limit there food and make sure it is a constant healthy diet.

When should I bathe my sugar glider?

A: You should never have to bathe your glider they take good care of themselves. They are little perfectionists and if something it wrong they will fix it as quickly as possible. If your sugar glider has an odor make sure you are not overfeeding and have chosen a proper diet.

How should I wash my accessories?

A: Depending on what kind of toys you chose I normally wash mine in the dishwasher. It is easy to do and safe for most toys. If you cannot wash them like this simply just hose them off and dry them off quickly to avoid them rusting.

How should I clean my cage?

A: If you have chosen a PVC pipe cage like I recommend then you are safe to just hose it off and let it dry naturally. If you have a metal cage you should get a PVC pipe cage. If you still do not want to get a metal cage take a mild bleach solution 1:8 and just soak it down with a rag and then dry it off with a paper towel soon after.

What should I feed my sugar glider?

A: The Leadbeater's formula is one of the best diets out there in my opinion. It does a great job and supplying everything they should have in their diet. Also perfected by Taronga zoo and easy to make and keep frozen. Although there are many diets available a lot of which are great.

What diet is best for my sugar glider?

A: The HPW (High Protein Wombaroo) is an amazing diet for a shuggie read up on it and as far as I know not many people have any complaints about it. Great source of protein and other essentials.

What fruits are best for my sugar glider(s)?

A: Apples, bananas, raspberries, blueberries, applesauce, watermelon, pineapples, and cantaloupe.

What vegetables are best?

A: Tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, broccoli, and carrots.

What meats are best for a sugar glider?

A: Meal worms, shrimp, chicken, and cooked eggs. (no flavors or spices allowed)

What not to feed my sugar glider(s)?

A: I would say avoid everything you are not sure about. It is always better to be safe than sorry but some of the major DONT's include Chocolate, Butter, Processed Sugars, Salts, Onions, Breads, Lettuce, Corn, and Grapes.

Why is an obesity unhealthy?

A: Obesity is often linked to laziness which then causes depression. A depressed sugar glider can become aggressive and mean. Which discourages the owner from playing with it which then leads to unhealthy living conditions sense they need attention. Depression can lead to death in a sugar glider.

What should I do if I have an obese sugar glider?

A: Change your diet or choose I diet with less protein. Possibly overfeeding or giving way to many snacks. You should only feed them once a night so if your feeding them 2-4 times a day cut this down to once a night and if you have more than one glider make sure they both are getting food if you cut down how much you give them. Often times people that keep two or more gliders cut down the amount of food and then one glider wakes up and eats it all and the other two end up not getting any food. So be careful and pay attention when decreasing they amount of food.

How warm should my sugar glider cage be?

A: Your enclosure can range between 72-82 degrees. Normally room tempature is fine as long as they have a nice comfy fleece sleeping pouch. Also is you keep them in a group they will keep each other warm in the pouch. If you keep it colder than normal a space heater does wonders.

Do I need a heat rock in my cage?

A: I try to avoid heat rocks at all costs but if you like to air condition your home to less than 70 degrees you should get a space heater and make sure it is close to the cage, not in it of course. The heat will radiate into the cage and will warm up the entire room. This will ensure if they want to get warm they will just move into the warmer part of the cage.

What is wrong with using a heat rock for my cage?

A: The issues with a heat rock are that they can burn and electrocute your shuggie. My gliders like to explore and nibble at things so when I first got them they had actually chewed half of my heat rock, to the point where the metal coils were showing. Heat rocks often cause fires also so I try my hardest to avoid them if not entirely needed.

How to make my new pet happy?

A: They love attention so as long as you play with your sugar glider daily you should be able to keep him/her happy. What I do to put the cherry on the top is take them all into the bathroom along with a few syringes full of apple juice. I let each shuggie get a few CC's of apple juice and they always know what is going on when they see the bathroom. Toys are another great way to improve a gliders life, they are very creative and super smart so get some toys that involve them to think a little bit.

What toys should I have for my sugar glider?

A: Toys that make your friend think will be the best toys. I make homemade toys and what I do is tie knots in the toys and get links that they can un-link. Ggliders love taking knots and stitches out so be careful with no sew pouches and and no sew cage accessories. One of the best toys is a rope with 3-5 knots. Mine cannot go to bed till every knot is out of the rope. They also make hiding toys like for dogs where you can hide a treat in the toy and the sugar glider(s) will have to work to get it out. They will love these toys the most.

What is the healthiest diet for a shuggie?

A:The high protein wombaroo (HPW) is one of the healthiest diets available in my opinion. It does a great job and supplying everything a sugar glider should have in its diet. Also perfected through years of shuggie keeping.

Where can I buy vitimans for my sugar glider?

A: A lot of places offer good multi-vitamins for you glider. The vitamins can be found at the Sugar Glider Store. It is relativity cheap and one of the best vitamins produced. You can find many generic vitamins but many spoil and mold very quickly.

Why is bonding a necessity with a sugar glider?

A: When found in nature their in groups of between 10-30. So when people purchase a baby or even an adult gliders they normally get them either alone or in a pair. If you buy your glider alone you will need to invest around 4 hours a day of pouch bonding and another 1-3 hours of one on one bonding time with your shuggie. They need to have someone in there life to prevent them from getting depressed. Depression leads to aggressiveness which then leads to neglect. So please spend as much time as you can with a sugar glider that is kept alone in a home.

How many hours should I spend with my sugar glider?

A: You can never spend enough time with your new pet. They will enjoy every single minute your with them. The least amount of time I recommend spending is at least 4 hours. That is 1-2 hours awake and the other 1-2 hours asleep in the pouch.

How do I know if my sugar glider wants to play?

A: When they want to play they become very active. If your new pet is in a bonding pouch and it is active and trying to get out it likely wants to play, especially if it is kept in the pouch regularally. My guys and gals will often come to the door the cage and hold the mesh as if they were in jail. This is another way they show you they want to play. If you walk into the room and they watch or follow you around in the cage it also either wants to see you, wants food, or wants to play.

How do I know if my sugar glider is bonded?

A: A bonded will not bite "viciously" you when you hand enters the pouch, crabbing is likely to happen even with the most bonded, as it is just a common reaction to being startled or woken up. A bonded glider will jump on you and crawl on your body without hesitation. If your pet is not hiding, biting, and crabbing when you are just trying to just look at it then your on good terms so far.

How do I tell if my sugar glider is aggressive?

A: An aggressive one will most likely refuse to stay on your body, it will often jump right off without caring where it is going. It will also hiss and crab when ever it sees you or your hand coming. If it attacks your hand and bites hard enough to break the skin on a regular basis it is probably a little iffy on humans and needs more bonding.

What are some signs my sugar glider is depressed?

A: Aggression is the best way to determine if it is depressed. They will often times go from nice to mean when they are neglected. Aggression would entail biting, hissing, crabbing, and attacking you. They also get depressed when they lose a friend, this could mean it lost its owner or another pet friend. Often time this kind of depression is shown through laziness and not eating. Normally soon followed by death if you do not give it another friend or jump in and try to bond with it.

Why does a sugar glider get depressed?

A: Normally they get depressed mostly when they are neglected and some one forgets to play with them over a long period of time. They require a few hours a day of attention and if it lacks in the attention it needs it will normally get depressed and mean, or depressed and lazy. If a shuggie has recently switched owners they can get very depressed if they were bonded to the previous owner, best way to fix this is play with your new glider as much as you can, too much is never enough in these cases.

How often should I change the sugar glider water?

A: If you use a dish instead of a water bottle you should change your water every day. Often they will pee and poop near there water, or at least stick there hands into the water after walking through urine. To cut down disease change your bowl of water everyday. If you use a water bottle change it every 3 days although normally they will drink it quicker than that so check regularly and always ensure they always have water present in the cage.

What if my sugar glider doesn't eat all his food?

A: If you wake up in the morning and they haven't eaten all their food wash it out and dispose off the excess food. Before feeding them again reduce the amount of food daily until they are eating everything that is fed to them. This will help cut down overfeeding but to ensure overfeeding doesn't takes place research the diets and make sure your following there instructions.

What if my sugar glider spits out his food?

A: Spitting out food is very common. Pellet foods are made out of many different ingredients and sometimes they can tell what it likes and doesn't like. Sugar gliders often spit out the pulp as well. Much like when they eat the apple and leave the skin, it is normal.

How can I cut down the mess a sugar glider makes while eating?

A: Yes, I do not see many people that know how to reduce the mess they make but it is very easy and very cheap. What I do is pick up a piece of Tupperware that is big enough to fit 5 of them into. Take an x-acto blade and cut a small opening into the side of the Tupperware, big enough for your glider to enter and exit comfortably. Just feed them inside there every night instead of placing his bowl of food open in the cage. They often toss and throw there food and this little room cuts down my mess by about 80%. I hardly ever have to clean any food from anywhere other than in the small feeding room, which is way easier than it being all over the floor because they missed the tray.

What is a refoodgium?

A: This is the name I give to a small feeding area. A refoodgium can be made very easily for $1. Just head to a dollar store and get inexpensive piece of Tupperware that will be big enough for your shuggie to get into comfortably. A refoodgium will cut down the mess associated with food fights by a ton and make cleaning a a breeze.

How can I make a refoodgium for my sugar glider?

A: Pick up a piece of Tupperware that is 4-6 inch in diameter and at least 3 inches tall. All you have to do is cut a hole that is big enough for him/her to enter and exit regularly and comfortably. Do not make the whole to small or they could scrap themselves or possibly hurt themselves. These are very easy and cheap to make and will cut down there mess by at least 50% promised.

What time should of day should I feed my sugar glider?

A: This will all depend when your pet wake up. Mine wake up around 9pm and end up crashing between 9-11am. I feed mine an hour after they wake up to ensure they get enough protein and energy to work out for the way. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for us and it is the only meal of the day for them so make sure to feed them close to the time they wake up. Do not feed them at noon if they are not going to eat it till midnight. This will just spoil your food and make it unhealthy when they do choose to eat it.

How to figure out if I am feeding my sugar glider to much?

A: If you wake up in the morning and half there bowl of food is still present and the other half appears to be scattered all over the tray, your feeding them too much. Your pets are picky eaters and will make a huge mess while eating. Make sure your only feeding them what they will eat in a 2 hr period of time. Food should not remain in the cage for over 4 hours. All food should be consumed within a 2 hour period of time, what is left after two hours should be disposed of.

How many times a day should I feed my sugar glider?

A: You should only feed them once a day/night. The best time to feed them is right when they wake up. They will always be ready to eat and normally will not leave the food dish till it is gone if your feeding the appropriate amount. Do not leave the food in the cage longer than 2 hours after they start eating. Remove what is left after a 2 hour period of time.

What if my sugar glider has diarrhea?

A: First of do not be alarmed quite yet they can get diarrhea from just eating funny like us. If you gave him snacks or fresh fruits within the last 24 hrs often times they will eat less "good food" causing them to have diarrhea. If they have not eatten anything out of the normal within the last 24 hours make sure to watch and make sure it does not continue. If it does consult a vet quickly, diarrhea causes dehydration which kills sugar gliders fairly quickly.

What if my sugar glider has constant diarrhea?

A: Call a veterinarian now, quit reading an call if diarrhea lasts more than 24 straight hours I would check into the first vet available to do a fecal testing. This will tell you what is wrong much better than me guessing. Diarrhea is a serious problem if it's a constant issue.

What causes a sugar glider to have diarrhea?

A: Awkward eating habits, or lack of water. Diarrhea can also mean parasites or other issues not as common. If diarrhea lasts more than 24 hours consult a veterinary hospital as soon as possible. It could be a life saver because dehydration kills very quickly in these small animals.

How to prevent a sugar glider having diarrhea?

A: Regular vet checkups will ensure the best care for any pet. Also a good knowledge on their diets will also be very important role in preventing your glider from ever getting diarrhea. Avoid feeding foods you have no idea how they will react to. Stick with what you know never think out of the box when a life is involved.

What cages are unhealthy for a sugar glider?

A: Wooden cages if not cleaned 2x a week can cause UTI's and many other diseases. They also are very unsanitary because they absorb the urine and will never actually be removing it all. Normally resulting in an odor.

A: Metal cages are very unhealthy they can cause different metal poisonings such as zinc poisoning. This is as easy as them just walking in there cage and grooming themselves. Avoid all metal cages even galvanized steel and any metal whatsoever $6.

Which cages are healthy for a sugar glider?

A: PVC pipe cages are the best, lightest, and healthiest cages available. This is because with a PVC pipe cage you do not have to worry about anything absorbing urine or any odor. You can also take the PVC cage right into your backyard and hose it off and let it naturally dry. Unlike metal that will rust and wood that will absorb the water, PVC is just very sanitary. Since it is so light often times the entire cage will weigh less than 5 lbs it will get cleaned more and be a safer more healthy place for your exoticpet to live.

What size mesh is safe for a sugar glider cage?

A: If you have an adult 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch mesh will be suitable. If though you have a male and a female hat have the possibility of mating I would just get 1/4inch by 1/4 inch mesh. 1/4 inch mesh will ensure that the babies will not fall out and will also ensure that the babies will not attempt to try to escape.

What size mesh is good for sugar glider babies?

A: 1/4inch mesh is best for young ones because it is small enough they will not attempt to squeeze between it. Most of the time they will attempt to get through mesh that they think is too big. Then they will get there little heads stuck and not be able to get in or out of the cage, they will just choke themselves to death and die. So I normally stick with 1/4 inch mesh just to be on the safe side.

What is the most common reason for a sugar glider to die?

A: Accidents would have to be the leading cause in death. Owners not knowing what these little guys/gals require and people providing them with inadequate conditions.

A: Hind Leg Paralysis (HLP) is the most common condition. This causes them to drag their back legs, and ultimately leading to death. Normally linked to calcium deficiency which causes loss of bone mass.

What to do if you think your sugar gliders are breeding?

A: Find a veterinary hospital close to you that knows how to deal with breeding. Males often bite down on the females when mating and this leads to infection and all mating gliders should have regular check ups. Also females pouches will often turn inside out and get infected if not taken care of properly this can lead to death. So make sure you know what you are doing or know someone who does.

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    • Cathi Sutton profile image

      Cathi Sutton 4 years ago

      I have owned and bred Sugar Gliders for years now, and know from experience that they should NEVER be fed tomatoes or bananas. Please, please stop recommending these foods! Nothing with small seeds should ever be fed. They simply can't digest seeds. So no strawberries, kiwi, and so on.

      Otherwise... good article.

    • Nspeel profile image

      Nspeel 5 years ago from Myrtle Beach

      Lovesugarglider - Thery are handful but its a great experience having them as pets

      A.Holliday - Sorry it took so long been really busy. Heat rocks can be very dangerous they often times find the wires chew them and get a good shock! :( I say pocket pets is bad for the sole reason there out to profit and these people will jeopardize sugar glider lives to make more profit.

    • profile image

      A.Holliday 5 years ago

      I just got two babies. 8 weeks old. I bought them from pocket pets. Why do you say pocket pets are bad? Also, a heat rock came with my pets. It's got a small blanket over it and keeps them warm in there pockets in another small blanket on top of the rock. Can you let me know at ? If there is something I should know I would like to know. ;) Thank you

    • profile image

      lovesugarglider 6 years ago

      i have two one adult and a baby they are sweet i feed them baby food 1st stage

    • Nspeel profile image

      Nspeel 6 years ago from Myrtle Beach

      Dragonrain - updated heat rock section. As for the pocket pet company they are about worthless but still a source non the less. I completely hate direct tv and time Warner cable but if I was writing an article on getting cable they would have to be in article. I'll write a review about pocket pets that way everyone knows where I stand. Thanks for the feedback I corrected a lot about heat rocks.

    • Nspeel profile image

      Nspeel 6 years ago from Myrtle Beach

      Nelson - That is information to me... Where do you recommend getting information then?

    • Dragonrain profile image

      Dragonrain 6 years ago

      Yeah I honestly didn't read through the entire article since it's so long but the few things that I noticed where in the heat rock section - heat rocks don't actually radiate much heat and there are much better & safer ways to increase the temperature in the room your gliders are in. Heat rocks are pretty much garbage & there really isn't anything they are good for other than making companies money when uninformed owners buy them.

      Also you mentioned buying things from Pocket Pets. I don't know if you realize but like Nelson mentioned Pocket Pets is a Sugar Glider mill broker. I, along with many many informed owners, would never buy anything from Pocket Pets nor consider information from their website as trustworthy.

      It looks like you put a lot of time into your article and your off to a great start. That's awesome that your gliders are healthy. But I think you should do some research and double check your sources before passing on the information.

    • profile image

      Nelson 6 years ago

      Congratulations you are now part of the problem- the Pocket Pets conglomerate problem. If you did ANY research into their company you would realize "" is run by the nations largest mill broker. is GARBAGE. THE DEFINITION OF GARBAGE.

      Purely for profit- could care less about the animal.

      Congratulations you're killing gliders. Hope you're happy.

    • Nspeel profile image

      Nspeel 6 years ago from Myrtle Beach

      Nelson - I have kept sugar gliders for many years all of which have regular vet visits. Every time I go to the veterinary hospital they tell me they are the healthiest sugar gliders they have come through there. So what information is bad I would like to look into what you think is wrong? I have accumulated much of my information off of and other trustworthy sites because most sites are garbage.

    • profile image

      Nelson 6 years ago

      This article has no backing and is completely opinion. Not a good source of information on gliders.