Introducing New Foods to Sugar Gliders

Click HERE to view our most recent "Recommendations for Sugar Glider Food & Basic Feeding Guide"

Sugar Gliders are typically finicky eaters, it is normal for them to be hesitant to try something unfamiliar to them. Not all gliders will adapt to eating new diets the first time they are offered. The glider's age and present diet can be determining factors. Some gliders adapt to new diets immediately, but if your glider is reluctant, we list several techniques to help the transition. If your glider is completely avoiding a new food, that means it is not hungry enough to try the new diet. Keep in mind gliders have very small stomachs, about the size of the tip of your thumb. Whatever your normal serving amount of food, cut that serving in half while your glider is transition to a new diet (or about 1 tbsp of food total per day). Sugar gliders are intelligent animals, they will never let themselves starve. This method will simply allow them to be hungrier and more willing to eat that foods available to them.

How to Introduce Exotic Nutrition Diets to Your Sugar Glider:

If you are transition from one pellet diet to another, you can use this gradual method:

Day 1 - 90% old pellet diet & 10% new pellet diet
Day 2 - 80% old pellet diet & 20% new pellet diet
Day 3 - 70% old pellet diet & 30% new pellet diet
Day 4 - 50% old pellet diet & 50% new pellet diet
Day 5 - 25% old pellet diet & 75% new pellet diet
Day 6 - 10% old pellet diet & 90% new pellet diet
Day 7 - 0% old pellet diet & 100 % new pellet diet

If you are transitioning from a moist diet to a pellet diet, we do not recommend mixing the two. Offer Instant-HPW mixed in with the present diet. Instant-HPW is a moist, great tasting, highly nutritious sugar glider diet that can be mixed with your glider's current moist diet. It is flavored with honey and pure vanilla beans, sugar gliders love these flavors. Mix the two moist diets for a few days until you are only offering the Instant-HPW, then gradually start offering a pellet diet along side of the Instant-HPW. 

Day 1 - 70% old moist diet & 30% Instant-HPW
Day 2 - 50% old moist diet & 50% Instant-HPW
Day 3 - 30% old moist diet & 70% Instant-HPW
Day 4 - 0% old moist diet & 100% Instant-HPW
Day 5 - 70% Instant-HPW & 30% new pellet diet
Day 6 - 50% Instant-HPW & 50% new pellet diet
Day 7 - 25% Instant-HPW & 75% new pellet diet

One of the most common daily diet plans our customers choose is comprised of 75% pellet diet with 25% Instant-HPW. Some owners prefer keeping the Instant-HPW and the pellets separate, others mix the two together. If you are trying one method over the other, we recommend making the trial period at least 1 week. 

If your gliders are still not taking to the pellet diet, cut back on the total amount of both Instant-HPW and pellets you are giving. While it is perfectly healthy to feed a pellet diet free choice, paying attention to the small amount of these dense pellets that your gliders eat, will eliminate waste, save you money, and make it easier to recognize that your gliders are indeed actually eating. If the gradual methods described above do not work well with your gliders, we recommend cutting out all other food completely and serving only the new pellet diet. This method will guarantee that your glider begins eating the pellet food and will soon adjust to it as its normal, complete diet. Continue reading for more info...

Picky Gliders Not Getting Accustomed To Pellets?

If your gliders are confused by pellets or are resistant to trying them, we suggest drizzling Honey Sticks over the pellets to intrigue your gliders. If your gliders seem to filling up on the dried fruit (mixed in with Glider Complete), try picking the fruit out for the first week so they focus on the pellets and have nothing else to fill them up. Make sure the pellet diet is the only food provided, otherwise they will fill up on the other food you are provided and never have purpose to try new things. The biggest mistake we hear from owners is that their gliders aren’t getting accustomed to pellets immediately, so they just offer another food. From a realistic standpoint, gliders will take time to get adjusted to pellets if they have been used to eating fruits, treats or a fresh diet. While these foods are healthy, they do not contain all the necessary proteins, fats, or other vitamins and minerals your glider needs to thrive. It is similar to convincing a child to eat their vegetables after months of letting them eat un-nutritious food. If they do not eat the new pellets at first, do not succumb to giving them treats or anything else, feeding a diet too high in fat and sugary fruit can lead to obesity and picky eating. The transition into a healthy high-protein diet of pellets can take time, but patience and trust in the food is key. When offering a pellet diet for the first time, we recommend feeding 100% pellets for 5 days straight, with zero other food options or treats. Replace any uneaten pellets after 24 hours. Even one minuscule piece of fruit can fill them up or discourage them to eat the pellet diet thinking they will eventually be offered more fruit. We hear from many satisfied owners about successful transitions, all of which who say they persisted when their gliders turned their head away from pellets during the first few days, and eventually they came around to trying the new diet once they were hungry enough. Sugar gliders are intelligent animals, they will never let themselves starve. Owners should never feel guilty about offering strictly one diet for this short amount of time, it is one of the healthiest diet options you can provide for your gliders. 

Make sure to only be giving your gliders approximately 1-2 tablespoons of pellets each. Exotic Nutrition's pellets are formed from the exact ingredients listed, there is no extrusion/puffing like other products. Therefore, the finished product is solid and very nutrient-dense. This finished pellet contains an extremely large amount of nutrition per volume. A 1 oz. dish full of an Exotic Nutrition pellet diet can provide as much nutrition as a 4 oz. dish full of an extruded pellet product. It may look like your gliders are eating very little food, but these pellets are so dense that they are getting plenty to eat. Keep in mind gliders have very small stomachs, about the size of the tip of your thumb.

Many people have the opinion that gliders are solely “sap suckers” who can never, and will never eat a pellet. The label sap sucker gives an impression of not chewing anything or not eating anything solid and this just isn’t true. To even get at the sap in trees, gliders rip and tear at the bark until it "bleeds", then they lap it up. If they return to the tree later and the sap has dried hard, they still munch it up. Even with their fruits and vegetables we will often see them chew, suck all the juices out of the food, and then spit out the substance pieces. You will see some gliders eat pellets in a similar way. They chew the food in their mouth, extract the moisture and nutrients, and discard remains. It's called "spittings", they will smush and grind the food down with their teeth to extract everything, then spit out the excess. It's totally normal. This is why some owners think their gliders aren’t actually eating the pellets, because there is still crumbled food left in the bowl (see example of the discarded spittings below).

Another issue is when gliders are used to being fed a wet mix, it's not unusual for them to think of these solid pellets as "toys" and chuck them around. If you are experiencing this problem, we recommend the Press 'N Slide Feed Station. This is a type of ‘glider kitchen’ that allows your sugar glider to enter and feed while containing the mess. 

Example of the "spittings" (discussed in paragraphs above):



Looking for more information? Browse our archive of Sugar Glider Help & Education.

Ready to Shop? Browse Sugar Glider Products. We offer hundreds of sugar glider products such as food, treats, cage, accessories and more.

More Questions? Contact Us. Our customer service representatives are happy to answer questions about our products.

Please Note: Exotic Nutrition is not able to provide specific health and care guidelines on an individual basis. Please contact an accredited veterinarian if you have a pet emergency.