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Best Exotic Pets

Sugar Glider

sugar glider exotic pets

Choosing a Sugar Glider: What You Need to Know

It has a moniker that sounds like a cross between an aerial mode of transportation and a dessert ingredient, and in truth, the sugar glider is aptly named: it does have a fondness for nature’s sweets (think sap and nectar, not candy bars), and it can sail through the air, bringing to mind a flying squirrel, although the two aren’t related.

Sugar gliders are marsupials, which means that the other relatives on the family tree include possums and wombats, as well as a couple of Australia’s most iconic critters, the koala bear and the kangaroo.  But there’s a lot more to this intriguing little creature that can fit in the palm of your hand than its sweet name or its means of transportation.

Although this cute exotic animal hails from the rainforests of Indonesia and Australia, for the last 12 to 15 years, the sugar glider has been bred as a domestic pet in the United States.

Don’t tell Rover, but a sugar glider actually has an intelligence level that’s similar to that of a dog, so that they can be taught to come by name when they’re called. They can even learn to do tricks!  There’s a lot to enjoy about these animals, and once you find out more, you’re going to want to get your very own precious pet! Because not only are they smart, curious, and social, but they’re also adorable.

What are the Advantages of the Sugar Glider as a Pet?

They’re playful and curious and they enjoy being with other sugar gliders as well as their humans; in fact, they like to nestle inside a shirt pocket. To a sugar glider, even the clothing that you wear can be a source of fascination. Highly intelligent, they’re easy to train and will provide you with affection and entertainment.

How long is the Sugar Glider Lifespan?

The sugar glider lifespan is approximately 12-15 years. That means that you’ll be able to enjoy having them around for a longer period of time than you’d be able to expect if you have a pet hamster or gerbil, that is, as long as you give them the proper care that they need.

Sugar Glider Price

If you want to buy a young joey or a baby sugar glider, one that’s between 8 to 12 weeks old, you’ll pay from $200 to $500; the exact price depends on the attributes of the pet and the area where you live.  However, an older sugar glider will cost less, from $100 to $150, because they may not be as easy to train as a joey.

What is a Healthy Sugar Glider Diet?

Sugar gliders are omnivorous, eating both animal and plant matter, and when in the wild, they dine on a natural buffet of acadia and eucalyptus trees, pollen, nectar and insects. As pets, their diet should consist of 25% protein, such as crickets and mealworms.  They also need another 25% of their diets to come from green, leafy vegetables and smaller amounts of fruits.  As a source of nectar, commercially available pelleted food should make up 50% of the diet.

Where to get Sugar Glider Food?

Sugar glider food can be purchased at a specialty pet store or in online shops like Amazon, but there are other foods that you have in your own kitchen. These include lean, cooked meat and cooked eggs. Your dear friend likes to have her food in more than one food dish, along with a water supply (dish or sipper) that needs to be refreshed on a daily basis. A balanced diet is very important for your pet, so be sure to keep that in mind.

Are Sugar Gliders Marsupials?

Yes, the sugar glider is a marsupial. Identifying characteristics of a marsupial include carrying their young in a pouch after it is born. Inside the pouch, the baby is nourished on milk as it stays warm and safe.

What are Sugar Glider Pouches?

Since sugar gliders are marsupials, they’re naturally at ease with pouches; they spent their early days inside one, after all, when they were just babies. You can buy a sugar glider bonding pouch and use it when your pet is out of the cage.  The small pet is safe within the pouch, and during this time that you’re with him, he’s also bonding with you.

How to Make a Sugar Glider Pouch

If you’re handy with sewing, you can even make your own bonding pouch. Choose a thick fabric that has batting attached to it.  Cut out two squares of fabric, sew the printed side together on three sides. Turn the pouch inside out so that the batting is on the inside. Hang it from the cage with a chain hook.

Can Sugar Gliders Live Alone?

Because sugar gliders are such social animals, they can actually become depressed if they’re left alone, so it might be wise to have a pair of these exotic pets to keep each other company.  But if you only want one sugar glider as a pet, be ready to interact with yours, because they thrive on companionship.

Sugar Gliders Live Alone

Selecting a Sugar Glider Cage

Your favorite partner is not sedentary, so when choosing a sugar glider cage to house him, remember that he’ll be leaping and gliding up and down. That means that he’ll need enough space in order to engage in his normal activities.

What are the Right Dimensions for a Sugar Glider Cage?

If you’ll only have a single glider inside the cage, the dimensions should be at least 3 feet by 2 feet by 3 feet. The spacing between the metal bars of the care should not be any more than .5 inches apart so that your little magician can’t get out. If there’s too much space between the bars, he is going to find a way to escape.

Can Sugar Gliders Fly?

The sugar glider, as its name indicates, can glide.  It doesn’t have wings and can’t fly. What it does have is something called a patagium, the fur-covered flap of skin between the front and back legs. This skin spreads out when the sugar gliders extend its legs, letting it glide from one stop to the next.

When do Sugar Gliders Smell?

It’s not only important to pay close attention to a sugar glider’s diet for reasons of health, but also for odor.  The higher the levels of protein in the glider’s diet, the more the urine will smell.  If they’re maintained well and fed a proper diet, they have almost no odor. A healthy, balanced diet and of course, a clean cage, will keep your charming friend in good condition.

When do Sugar Gliders Eat?

Because sugar gliders like to be active, they do well with having food being available throughout the day so that they can eat as they feel hungry.  A glider is more of an “eat and run” kind of diner, rather than one that wants to sit down and leisurely enjoy a meal.

Why is Calcium such an Important Part of the Sugar Glider Diet?

A lack of calcium can lead to a condition known as nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism, or metabolic bone disease (MBI). Gliders suffering from this deficiency in their diets have bones that fail to mineralize and are easily broken.

What Conditions May Require Sugar Glider Care

Like any other exotic pet, a sugar glider will need medical attention at some point, whether it’s for the initial visit to the vet soon after you’ve obtained your pet, or for an ailment that may come.  A common malady that these tiny exotic animals suffer from is obesity. They can also be vulnerable to malnutrition, dental issues, bacterial and parasitic infections, traumatic injuries, cancer, organ failure, metabolic bone disease, and conditions caused by stress.

What is the Sugar Glider Habitat?

In their natural environment, the sugar glider habitat is a landscape that enables them to physically glide through the trees as well as find food.  They are at home in eucalyptus forests, rainforests, woodlands, scrub forests, and plantations, for example.  Dense vegetation keeps them safe from predators.

Where are Sugar Gliders Found?

They can be found close to the Australian coastline, in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and the Northern Territory, as well as in New Guinea and some of its neighboring islands.

Baby Sugar Glider

A baby sugar glider is as small as a grain of rice when it’s born.  These marsupials begin the first weeks of their life inside their mother’s pouch, which is called a marsupium. The purpose of the pouch is to keep the baby sugar gliders safe, where they can be nurtured as they grow. Like kangaroos, the babies are called joeys.

Do Sugar Gliders Bite?

If a sugar glider gives you a soft, gentle bite, it’s a sign of affection. But when they’re frightened or threatened, may resort to biting as a means of self-defense. This is not a behavior to encourage, but it’s important to discover what is causing your pet to react this way.

Why Does a Sugar Glider Bark?

In the wild, sugar gliders bark as a warning to the colony to alert others that an intruder is near.  For domestic gliders, the bark is a reaction to an unexpected noise or presence.  But sometimes, it’s just a shared means of communication with another glider.

Why Does a Sugar Glider Hiss?

A hiss from your sugar glider doesn’t have the same meaning that it does when the sound comes from a cat. When gliders are grooming themselves, the sound they make as they spit sounds like a hiss, but they’re actually going to clean up.  Sometimes they hiss when they meet a new glider, or when they’re playing with a fellow glider.

How Often Should You Clean the Sugar Glider Cage?

The sugar glider cage should be lined with either shredded paper or paper-based, recycled bedding.  Proper care requires spot cleaning on a daily basis, and a more thorough cage cleaning weekly.

Where is the Best Place to Locate Your Sugar Glider’s Cage?

The sugar glider cage should be housed in a room or location that’s suited for a glider’s optimum temperature preference; 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit is best, but they can tolerate a temperature that’s anywhere between 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Sugar Glider Accessories Should You Buy?

They enjoy toys, swings, and exercise wheels.  Exercise provides mental as well as physical stimulation, so move the toys around to keep your pet alert. Add a small pouch or a bag, located high up in the cage, so that your nocturnal pet can sleep during the day.

Is Sugar Good for Sugar Gliders?

When trying to satisfy the sugar glider sweet tooth, choose naturally occurring sugars that are found in honey, or in fruit such as apples, grapes, figs, bananas, and oranges to name a few; vegetables that they can eat include tomatoes, broccoli, squash, and some others. Remember:  don’t overfeed your small exotic pet with these foods.  Keep the portions small and the diet balanced. No candy or raw sugar!

What are the Signs of Sugar Glider Dental Issues?

Too many sweets affect their dental health, starting with a buildup of tartar on the teeth and deteriorating into gingivitis, abscesses, infections, and even loss of teeth.  If they have any of these conditions, they’ll eat less, become less active, salivate, paw at their mouths, and lose weight. They are prone to these dental issues, so proper sugar glider care will include regular check-ups with the vet to avoid trouble before it starts.

Do Sugar Gliders Suffer from Stress?

Stress can result if a sugar glider is living too solitary a life, or if they are not allowed to sleep during the day.  Signs of stress include chewing on their skin, overeating, and pacing back and forth in their cages.  Spending more time with your pet can improve his social life and diminish his stress levels.

Are Sugar Gliders Nocturnal?

Yes, and that means that they need to sleep during the day so that they can be active at night.  Providing your cute exotic animal with a pouch in the cage gives them a place to sleep. And schedule a time for them to interact with you; it relieves their stress and it will also relieve some of yours!

Choosing a Vet for your Sugar Glider

Soon after welcoming your sugar glider as a pet, you should bring the pet to the vet for a check-up.  The initial examination will take place with your sweetheart’s new pet contained—gently—in a towel. The vet will review with you instructions on your pet’s housing, behavior, and diet, making sure that you know how to take care of your sugar glider.

When is the Sugar Glider Full Grown?

After 60-70 days, the joey is weaned and is ready to leave the pouch, a time when they are old enough to travel on their mother’s back. They reach sexual maturity between the ages of 8 to 14 months.  When fully grown, the sugar glider is approximately 11 to 12 inches from their nose to their tail and they weigh around 6 ounces.

What Color is the Leucistic Sugar Glider?

The leucistic sugar glider lacks melanin and that absence is what gives them white fur, translucent ears, and black eyes. Ruby leucistic gliders, owing to two recessive color genes, have white fur and red eyes.

Leucistic Sugar Glider

What Color is the Albino Sugar Glider?

Albino sugar gliders lack melanin, giving them white fur, minimal or no markings, with red eyes. The opposite range of the albino gliders are the melanistic gliders, who have solid black skin and darker black markings.

What is the Mosaic Sugar Glider?

Mosaic sugar gliders have random colors and patterns, sometimes white hands, and usually their whiskers are black and white.   The white mosaic glider’s base color is white, with either few or no dark spots, although they may have dark spots on their ears.

What are Other Colors of Sugar Gliders

The most common color for sugar gliders is gray, with a dark stripe running from the top of the head to the tail. Other colors include black face black beauties, piebalds, cremeino, strawberry, platinum, and ruby platinum, white face blond, white tip sugar, and caramel.

Where is it Illegal to Own a Sugar Glider?

When planning to bring your best exotic pets into your home, you should first check with local ordinances to make sure that you are permitted to do so. For instance, in Alaska, Hawaii and California, owning a sugar glider is illegal.  The states of New Mexico, Georgia and New York have specifications regarding glider ownership.

Is the Sugar Glider Endangered?

Even though the sugar gliders has seen a loss in its natural habitat over the previous two centuries, sugar gliders are not endangered.  Its adaptability has allowed it to find a suitable living environment and its survival is not a cause for concern.  There are relatives of the sugar glider, however, specifically the mahogany glider, that are endangered.