Nov 162011
Sugar Glider

Sugar Glider

Download the care sheet here (pdf)

Adult Size
12”, including 6” of tail, 3 to 5.3 oz

Life Span
10-15 years

Male/Female Differences
Sexing sugar gliders is easy: males have a bald spot on their heads. It’s really a scent gland. Females have a pouch.

In the wild, sugar gliders live in groups 15 to 30 strong. In the home, sugar gliders are most compatible when raised together. Older animals may not accept new members into their group.

Australia and Indonesia

70’s to the mid 90’s, temperatures found in tropical forests.

Day Cycle

Average household temperature is fine. Sugar gliders like it warm, so several may pile into their sleeping box together.

Being nocturnal, these animals need to avoid bright lights. Low light situations may help them come out during the day.

Household humidity suits sugar gliders well.

Sugar gliders climb and glide in the tops of trees searching for food at night. They sleep the day away in the hollows of trees. Males will mark their sleeping area with their scent glands.

Use recycled or pelleted paper products or pelleted aspen. Use cloth or mesh bags for their sleeping areas, without any bedding.

Hiding Place/Den
Their hiding place is their sleeping hole. Place it high in the cage to imitate their natural habitat. Use fleece or marble bags, as they are easy to clean.

Cage Type
Large bird cages work very well for sugar gliders. It must give them space to climb and jump around. The addition of branches and ropes will meet their need to explore and play, and a safe running wheel will provide more exercise. Sugar gliders have been known to chew through screen vivariums.

In the wild, their diet consists of various saps, pollens, and insects. In the home, their basic dietary needs are met with specially formulated pellet food. Sugar gliders need proteins like superworms and boiled eggs. Yoghurt is a favorite treat and gives them both protein and calcium. Fruits, such as melons, apples, oranges and peaches, add vitamins and fiber. Vegetable or fruit baby food also makes a nice treat. Give variety; sugar gliders, just like people, need different foods.

Sugar gliders most often have deficiencies in vitamin A and calcium – lizard or bird vitamin/calcium supplements work well. It’s best to dust insects with the supplement – a pinch in a bag with the insect works well. Dietary enzymes help sugar gliders get more nutrition and prevent hair impactions. Honey seed bars are favorite treats.

Diet Precautions
Limit nuts; they’ll eat them and ignore other foods. Avoid chocolate and other foods with caffeine.

Give fresh food in the evening; being nocturnal, feeding during the day will let it spoil. Feed 1/3 to ½ cup food.

Water Source
Water bottles, cleaned and changed daily, offer a cleaner option than a water dish – it’ll soon be tipped over, splashed out, or soiled.

Sugar gliders groom each other as part of their social interaction. Gentle brushing with a soft bristle brush will keep their fur looking good and help with bonding. Weekly rub downs with pet wipes will keep them smelling clean.

Oral and Foot Care
Sugar gliders may need to have their nails carefully clipped. This can be done at home with proper instruction, or your vet or Wilmette Pet can do this. Use safe running wheels to prevent injury to their feet. Offer fruit tree branches for them to chew on.

Proper Handling
Handle daily to help them bond to you. Since they sleep during the day, you can carry them with you in a shirt pocket or a pouch. Spend some time with them in the evening.

Habitat Maintenance
Clean soiled areas of the cage daily. Remove food daily to prevent spoilage. Clean cage weekly, and wash any pouches or hammocks they are using.

Health Concerns
Diarrhea from unclean habitat or poor diet. A limited diet can also cause constipation. Obesity is possible from a lack of the chances for exercise.