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Sugar Gliders

Updated on October 15, 2012

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Owning Sugar Gliders

Sugar Gliders often referred to as flying squirrels are actually marsupials found mostly in Australia.

I have owned and bred these fantastic animals for years and believe me, they make great pets for some but bad pets for most.  Please do as much research as you can before deciding to purchase one for a pet.

A Sugar What?.......

Important things you should know about Sugar Gliders

What is a Sugar Glider?:

A sugar glider(Petaurus Breviceps) is a small marsupial (an animal with a pouch: a mammal, for example a kangaroo, an opossum or a kangaroo having no placenta and bearing immature young that are developed in pouch on the mother's abdomen) They come from Australia and are considered exotic animals. They are not related to flying squirrels

Appearance:

An adult sugar gliders head and body measure about 5 to 6 inches in length with a tail equal in length to aid in balance and gliding. Sugar gliders have hairless ears, that can be moved independently in order to pick up the smallest sounds. Sugar gliders come in a variety of colours but the most common colour you will find is gray with a long black stripe that runs from it's nose to the end of the back, with a cream coloured underside. The last inch or so of the tail is also black. However many different colour mutations have developed while having these animals in captivity. They have large protruding eyes, like most nocturnal animals, to allow for a wider field of vision. A sugar glider has five digits on each forefoot, with sharp claws to help grip branches. The hind feet also have 5 digits, and include a partially fused together 2nd and 3rd digit used for a grooming comb. There is also an enlarged, clawless, opposable big toe. The sugar glider has a patagium, a furred membrane of skin that they spread out while jumping that connects to the wrists and ankles on each side of the glider.

Smell:

There is a smell that comes with the sugar glider, as they do have sent glands. There are things you can do, such as, having a male fixed, using ferret cage deodorizer, or use Elimina or Premira on their food. Also regular cage cleaning is a must. A male may mark you with his scent to claim you as his. Some owners add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to neutralize the urine and musky smell with some success.

Stats:

The life span for a captive sugar glider is about 12-15 years, providing they have a healthy diet and exercise. That means 5,478 nights of, chopping up fresh fruit and vegies, touching bugs, balancing meals, cleaning cages, and spending quality time with your glider. Being that sugar gliders are very social animals, having only one, you must handle it a minimum of 3 hours each night, not doing so can lead to depression, and ultimately other health problems. Sugar gliders weigh about 5 ounces for an average male, and about 4 ounces for a female.

Sugar Glider Diet

Sugar Glider Diet Information

In the wild, sugar gliders have a high energy diet that has a fairly high level of protein. In captivity, they should be offered a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and animal protein. Fruits and veggies can be fresh or frozen but not canned.

Good sources of protein are red meat, poultry, eggs and insects.

- Meat and poultry (skinned and boneless) should be lean cooked (NOT FRIED or with any SEASONING or PRESERVATIVES on it).

-Insects can be live or freeze dried. DO NOT feed insect from in or out of the house that might have come in contact with pesticides, or might have parasites.

-Eggs can be hard boiled or scambled but never serve raw.

do not feed tuna as it can cause severe vitamin "E" deficiency and other problems.

Protein should make up at least 40-50% of your gliders diet.

They should also be given a vitamin/mineral supplement and calcium. Water is critical to sugar gliders; if they are without it for more than a day, they can dehydrate rapidly and die

When it comes to fruits and veggies try to remember that your sugar gliders will really appreciated variety and even if they don't eat something the first time you offer it, keep trying it and they will eventually give it a try. I always try to feed foods that have higher calcium to phosphorus ratio. Here is a web site that gives these ratios for fruits.

Here are some ideas for foods to try with your sugar gliders.

Fruits

Apples, nectarine, melons (water, honey dew, cantalope), grapes, sultanas, figs, tomatoes, grapes, oranges, pears, peaches, apricots, plums,cherries, bananas, avocados, berries, kiwi, mangos, papayas, passion fruits, pineapple.

Veggies

Corn, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut pumpkins, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, squash (butternut, gooseneck, acorn), cucumbers, red & yellow bell peppers, peas, yams.

Other foods they like include:

Applesauce

Yogurt with live cultures, various flavors

Baby foods are also good, if you only have a few gliders -- fruits, sweet vegetables, and vegetable/meat mixtures are all well-received

Foods not to feed your sugar gliders:

Chocolate - It causes a toxic chemical reaction in most animals

Rhubarb - Poisonous

Onion - Poisonous

Garlic - Poisonous

Potato eyes - poisonous

Turnip - poisonous

Cheese - May cause intestinal stoppage or "binding" leading to constipation

Iceberg lettuce - Non nutritional

Fats - you will want to watch the fat content

Some pits from fruits can be poison to sugar gliders

Give some of these recipes a try

Modified Leadbeaters Mix

This is just my staple diet, along with this they get fresh fruits and veggies nightly as well as protein sources like eggs and bugs.

This sugar glider recipe freezes to about the consistency of ice cream, so it's easy to scoop out a serving of it each night

Apple Juice 1/2 cup

Honey 1/2 cup

Gerber Baby cereal (dry flakes) 1/2 cup

Boiled egg 2 (I leave the shell on)

Wheat Germ 1/4 cup

Herptivite Vitamin Supplement 1 tsp

Rep-Cal (Calcium supplement with no phosphorus) 1 1/4 tsp

Store in the Freezer

Sometimes I will add a 1 4oz bottle PREMIXED Gerber juice with yogurt (Mixed Fruit or Banana) or a 2 1/2 oz jar of Stage 1 or 2 Heinz, Gerber or Beechnut Chicken baby food

Special treats

Cheerio Chains:

Using 100 pound test fishing line, attach a bell at the bottom and string Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios and Multi Grain Cheerios together. Tie to the cage--they love it!!

Pancakes:

Crushed, plain shredded wheat and eggs

Mix together and scramble like a pancake.

Chicken omelet:

Cooked shredded chicken, eggs(beaten well)Mixed vegetables, Apple(chopped).

Make omelet, and top with melons, grapes, pineapples and a sprinkling of The Pet Glider Complete multivitamin. Variation: Turkey, sweet potato and apple with sugar snap peas, red bell pepper & peaches. Delicious!

Pina Colada Smoothie Mix:

Frozen mixed fruit, Container Pina Colada flavored yogurt, 1/4 tsp Karo syrup, Apple or orange juice to blend. Blend together and serve! Delicious!

Chicken Pot Pie:

1/2 cup diced chicken breast(boiled, skinned and boneless)

1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, 2 raw eggs,

1 small sweet potato(boiled, peeled and chopped up)

In mixing bowl, combine ingredients well. Spray mini-muffin pans with Pam and fill to top. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until beginning to brown, at 350 degrees.

Sugar gliders Love Crickets

This is the most amazing poster ever, I purchased it from Allposters.com

Another great site

Check out the Sugar Glider Superstore

www.sugar-glider-store.com

Watch a Sugar Glider fly through the air!

Cages

Important Facts About Sugar Glider Cages

Size:

A sugar gliders cage should be as big as you can manage, although no smaller than 30x24x36 inches high for one or two gliders.

Height is a very important thing with glider cages, as they must have room to glide and your glider feels safer the higher up it is. The wire bars of the cage should be no more than 1/2 inche apart. It is better to have enameled wire, never use galvanized wire as its harder to clean and has also been linked to health issues. PVC coated chicken wire is a good choice. Do not use screen for your cage, because their nails can get caught in it.

Cage Location:

The cage location should be chosen carefully. Choose a location where the gliders can hear and see some of the daily activity in the house but that is not constantly loud all the time. Sugar gliders should not be in a room with loud birds, as this will cause stress. Gliders prefer being high up, so if your cage is not a ceiling to floor cage, place it on a sturdy table. Room temperature should be between 65-75 F.

Sleeping location:

In the wild, sugar gliders sleep in hollow trees lined with leaves. Place the gliders sleeping area at the top of the cage as this is where they feel safer. Many people will put two or three sleeping areas in the cage as the gliders like to change spots from time to time. Sleeping pouches are similar to bonding pouches, but have clips to attach the pouch to the side or top of the cage.

Other ideas would be small bird nesting boxes or chinchilla dust bath houses.

Feeding location:

If you are going to use hanging bird dishes, I would recommend placing them high up in the cage as they are less likely to get spoiled by waste falling into them. I also regularly use paper plates so that im not always washing food dishes. Some people recommend having more than one feeding dish if you have 2 or more sugar gliders as one glider could become dominate and not allow the others to eat. This has never happened to me but you may want to observe your gliders.

Branches/Perches/Vines:

Perches of different levels and sizes will allow your glider to exercise his feet muscles. Sugar gliders love natural branches and love to chew off the bark, you must make sure that the wood you use is non toxic to your gliders and that they have not been exposed to pesticides. Plastic or fleece vines are also a great addition and loved by many a glider.

Toys:

Sugar gliders are very playfull and interactive animals. They should always have

Bonding

Some Tips To Help You Bond With Your Sugar Glider

Bonding can be a very slow process. Depending on the glider it could take days, weeks or months. Every glider is different and you have to work at their speed not yours.

Getting that bond with your glider takes a lot of PATIENCE, but is well worth the effort.

Make sure you have a bonding pouch that you can put them in to carry them around in during the day, This is so they can get use to your scent and voice, as that is how they Identify you.

I also recommend getting a small kids tent that you can go into with the gliders. When you're in the tent the gliders end up playing and climbing on and off you and they learn that you are safe to be with.

If you don't have a tent you could use a small room like a bathroom that has been glider proofed.

make sure all holes around pipes, space heaters, and cabinets have been seeled off and always make sure to put the toilet seat down as this is the #1 death trap for gliders.

Introducing 2 Sugar Gliders

So how do you introduce them?

Everyone knows that having 2 Sugar Gliders is best but if you don't get them from the same litter you may have to work at the bonding process.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow

Never introduce an adult male to a juvenile female

Always make sure they are as close to the same size as possible

Never introduce an un neutered male to a neutered male

Don't let them fight

Start with 2 cages side by side and switch out their pouches and toys for a week and allow them to become familiar with each others scents.

If they don't appear to be too upset with each other and are sniffing each other from across the cages you can try to let them out to play together. I recommend using a small play tent so that they will have to come in contact with each other.

After a week of playtime and pouch swapping you can try putting them in a cage together.

Wash all the toys and pouches so that there are no scents and try to place two of everything at opposite ends of the cage.

Its never the best idea to put one glider into another gliders cage, the new glider would be invading the others home and may get attacked, if you don't have a new cage to put them both into then try putting the most dominant one in the submissive ones cage. The best time of the day to do this would be day time as they are most sleepy at this time.

There is bound to be some scuffles so be prepared to separate them if it gets too intense. If everything goes well there should be a round of sniffing and hopefully they will both return to the pouch, cuddle up and go back to sleep.

Have you decided a Sugar Glider is the right pet for you? Here is a shopping list of what you will need.

Shopping For Your Sugar Glider

Cage- the bigger the better, no smaller than 30x24x36 inches high, with 1/2 inch bar spacing, tall is better than long. Be sure that all materials used for the cage are safe for sugar gliders.

Bedding- examples are white paper towels, corn cob bedding, fleece, carefresh, or newspaper (be sure the glider has a minimum of 3 inches of clearance and can not reach the newspaper)

Food Dishes- I like to use paper plates, some people will cover the dishes with plastic containers or plastic igloos to keep the waste out of the food. Other ideas are hanging bird dishes, heavy ashtrays, or heavy small animal dishes.

Water bottle- A water bottle or water dish. I prefere water bottles as the water is less likely to get spoiled.

Diet supplies, ingredients, and products needed for your gliders diet- Research your diet carefully and make a list of everything needed.

Sleeping quarters- They like it warm and dark. Examples are pouches and/or nest boxes

Bonding Pouch- This is important to help in bonding with your new glider.

Wheel- must have a solid running base and no moving parts that can catch the gliders tail or feet. The wodent wheel is a great example.

Toys-gliders love toys! Cat toys, bird toys, hamster toys, even some infant toys. Check to be sure they are safe for your gliders before giving them any new toy. Always make sure that cat toys don't contain any catnip as this is highly toxic to gliders.

Branches and Perches- Very important for any gliders habitat. If using branches from the outside be sure they are safe, non toxic to gliders, sterilized, and not treated with chemicals.

Vet- Not all vets treat sugar gliders. A knowledgeable vet should be located before you bring your glider home.

First Aid Kit- Be prepared!

Before you bring your glider home, make sure you have all the items on the above list. The cage should be set up with food, water bottle, warm sleeping quarters, and a few toys. At this point, don't overdo it with toys, as you don't want a lot of toys to distract the sugar gliders from wanting to interact with you. As the bonding progresses, you can slowly add more toys . You may want to prepare your gliders food the night before.

Check Out These Great Sugar Glider Books

Cute Glider Videos On YouTube

Glider Videos

Glider Videos

Glider Videos

Check out this cool Sugar Glider costume!

Check out this cool Sugar Glider costume!
Check out this cool Sugar Glider costume!

Do you already own or are planning on getting a Sugar Glider? I would love to hear from you.

Suggie Shack Guestbook

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    • profile image

      Ann 5 weeks ago

      I've had my girls for a few years Just found your site Very nice Would be good for new Moms and Dads Thank you

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      A lot of great info! Noticed corn was on the veggie list and wanted to point out that corn isn't a preferable diet item. They can't digest the outer skin on the corn.

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 4 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      I loved in Australia years ago. I saw flying foxes, but never sugar gliders. They look gorgeous, but I think probably a cat or dog would be a less demanding pet.

    • Thankfultw profile image

      Thankfultw 5 years ago

      I wondered what a Sugarglider looked like. There is a slot machine game on Slotomania on Facebook that has a sugarglider on it. So cute.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Shorebirdie: No, they are not legal in California.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      I love these cute little critters - blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • Shorebirdie profile image

      Shorebirdie 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      They're cute, but I've never seen them for sale here or know anyone who has them. Are they legal in California?

    • Afteretc profile image

      Afteretc 5 years ago

      I learned so much from this lens. I really appreciate your emphasis on how much work they really are! All pets take lots of love and dedication.

    • textbookmommy profile image

      textbookmommy 5 years ago

      Great information! I love all the pictures and videos you added.

    • JessyGene profile image

      JessyGene 5 years ago

      These little guys look so cute. And its awesome they live up to 15 years! I'm used to rats, whose only drawback is their short lifespan of 2-3 years.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      OMG! Where do you get this cute costume???! Please tell me :)

    • profile image

      KellyPatterson1 5 years ago

      WOW your whole lens is Fantastic!!!

      You can also see my lens on http://www.squidoo.com/how-to-care-for-a-healthy-h...

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very comprehensive. Summers ago, our neighbors had sugar gliders in their tree but that was the only summer we saw them. Your lens made me know them better. Blessed!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very comprehensive. Summers ago, our neighbors had sugar gliders in their tree but that was the only summer we saw them. Your lens made me know them better. Blessed!

    • miacarter profile image

      Mia Carter 6 years ago from SW Florida

      Sugar gliders are the sweetest little creatures! We had a rescue sugar glider. He was the sweetest ever! I miss him. :-(

    • BoyScoutPopcorn profile image

      BoyScoutPopcorn 6 years ago

      I have two of them. They are a lot of fun!!!

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 6 years ago

      Sugar gliders are SOOO adorable!

    • ellagis profile image

      ellagis 6 years ago

      Lovely animals!!! They make you wanting to hug them, don´t they? I´d love to adopt one, but my cat would be too happy about it. ;)

    • DebonaireExoticA profile image

      DebonaireExoticA 6 years ago

      Brilliant Squidoo Lens, very informative. We have Sugar Gliders and they are amazing animals.

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      Very interesting and I wish we had sugar gliders here instead of the pesky squirrels we do have -- although I sure am glad the ones around here can't fly!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wow, he is so cute. Awesome lens. I will tweet this.

    • Brankica LM profile image

      Brankica 6 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Wow, I had to bless this one, it is such a great lens, great work, you made me want a sugar glider now :)

    • profile image

      mvlaughslots 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Washington is a state that you can legally own sugar gliders :) For more info, go to this site! http://www.sugarglider.com/gliderpedia/index.asp?L...

      It covers all the laws you'd need/want to know. :)

    • profile image

      mvlaughslots 6 years ago

      I have two myself... love them to death! :D Take a lot of loving and care though.

    • lovelylashes profile image

      lovelylashes 6 years ago

      No wonder they are called sugar sliders! They are sugary sweet and cute!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      You will have us all falling in love with Sugar Gliders for sure, they are the cutest of the cute. Excellent instruction on their care, I love the bonding pouches and your idea to use a child's small tent for bonding with you and each other. I would have never have thought that they would eat meat. You are providing great instruction here. We can call it Sugar Glider 101.

    • glenbrook profile image

      glenbrook 6 years ago

      My kid just learned about these on WildKrats. I didn't realize they made good pets. (Please don't tell my son)

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      An amazing lens on something I knew next to nothing about!

    • traveller27 profile image

      traveller27 6 years ago

      So cute!! Nice lens.

    • pixelposy profile image

      pixelposy 6 years ago

      They are so incredibly cute! Thanks for all the info. on them. I don't think I've ever seen one before.

    • Fabio Sanna profile image

      Fabio Sanna 6 years ago

      Wow, superb lens, so sweet and informative! Thanks, I love pets!

      Fabio

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

      Great lens! I saw this in Squidu lens spotlight ...you've got my 'thumbs up' - I like it!!

    • Everyday-Miracles profile image

      Everyday-Miracles 6 years ago

      I just love my girls! I spent nearly fifteen years doing the research before deciding to actually get a pair of females, and I have to say that there are still times that I am stunned by how complex their care can be. I'm glad that we got them and don't regret it, but between diet and bonding, there have definitely been some stressful moments. They have been worth it every step of the way though!

      I have experience with the sugar glider superstore and it was excellent. Shipping was fast, the products were more than what I expected and my little girls just love the toys I bought!

    • Jolyne LM profile image
      Author

      Jolyne LM 6 years ago

      @anonymous: I found 2 adds on www.washingtonsuperads.com that might help you, im located in canada so unfortunately I don't know any breeders there personally. Just look for local pet classified sites and im sure you can find more :)

      I did check on the legal list for sugar gliders and it looks like you can legally own them in WA!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hi,

      My husband would really love a sugar glider as a pet, and while we cannot have one currently, I would still like to know if you know of anyone in WA who breeds them, and if it is legal to keep them in WA? Or if a licence is required?

      Thankyou :)

    • Jolyne LM profile image
      Author

      Jolyne LM 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Write2,

      You can tell if it's a male by his little ball on his underside, if its a female she will have a little pouch....it looks like a hole in her belly.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      We recently was given a sugar glider. the first time we changed his cage he seemed like he got mad. He started barking. We reaslly don't know if it is a boy or girl. We were thinking if it was a boy maybe we took his scent out when we changed his cage. LOL hope it is aboy cause we call him little man. He is precious. deborah

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      i want 1 for free heh

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      i want 1 for free heh

    • PatrioticTees profile image

      PatrioticTees 9 years ago

      I am a new Sugar Glider owner, and I just love my little sweetie already. She's doing really well, they are so sweet, and I am starting to look for a second one! THanks for all the great info... Please stop by my lenses too!

    • profile image

      Kaczie 9 years ago

      This page provides accurate and useful information about sugar gliders. Very nice! ;]

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I've had my gliders for a few years now. Their the coolest pets ever. Your site is the GREATEST, I really like that u put some recipes for ower gliders to try. Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      this is one of the best sites ever!

    • one lear profile image

      one lear 9 years ago

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 9 years ago from Royalton

      Sugar Gliders are soooo cute! Nice lens!

    • profile image

      Marc3ll 9 years ago

      Hi, Thanks for visiting my lens. Your lens really not that bad. 5'Starr for sure :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Thanks a lot for your info and can't wait until this weekend!!! :)

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 9 years ago from Vancouver

      Great content! I learned so much about the sugar glider - a 5* visit!

    • profile image

      ZoeSPEAK 9 years ago

      Thanks for visiting and for your comment. This lens is so interesting, it's nice to learn new things!

    • Gatsby LM profile image

      Gatsby LM 9 years ago

      5* Glad to see someone who knows their stuff! Dog Whisper With Rena

    • DogWhisperWoman1 profile image

      DogWhisperWoman1 9 years ago

      5* You know your stuff! I love to see that. Dog Whisper Woman

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I'm getting my first glider on October 13th, and I'm VERY excited. I've been researching for a few weeks now and thought I'd check out your site when I ran across it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      Nice site!

    • Gail Faulkner profile image

      Gail Faulkner 10 years ago

      Thankyou for visiting one of my lens. Great job had never heard of sugar gliders before. Gail

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      Hey!

      Found this through your link on facebook. Great page! You have some really good stuff on here. I'll definitely be back to check out new info!