Sugar Glider Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should I keep more than one Sugar Glider?

It is suggested to keep more than one glider together. In the wild, gliders are community animals and they seem to be much healthier and happier while in groups in captivity. Gliders readily adapt to one another's presence and will easily become best of friends. For breeding purposes, it is best to keep one male with two females. We do not suggest putting more than one male with only one female.

2. What should I look for when shopping for a Glider?

The best way to answer this is just to use common sense. You want an animal that is active and will tolerate handling. Be wary of gliders that are skitish, not comfortable with human contact. Signs of good health can be seen through bright, black eyes and a healthy build. A glider should not be underweight or overweight, or seem sickly in general.

If there is any doubt about the quality or health of the animal, don't buy it. A federal license is required in the US in order to sell baby gliders, so also make sure your breeder is an exotic pet license with the US Dept. of Agriculture. If the breeder is not licensed, don't waste your time.

Baby Sugar Gliders versus Adults

Baby gliders (joeys) are always preferable to adults, but sometimes availability (and your wallet) can make them difficult to obtain. Babies are preferable because they will be more willing to bond with you. Plus, the bond with a baby glider you have raised will usually be stronger than a bond developed with an adult. Adults can come around, but if they haven't been handled much, it can be an uphill battle.

3. Will Sugar Gliders get along with other pets?

As a result of being aboreal (tree-dwelling), gliders have practically no fear of any land-dwelling creature. You will have more trouble with your other pets not liking your glider than vice-versa. That being said, gliders should always be kept in a cage, preferably on a raised stand, so that they are safe and away from other house pets like a cat or dog. When handling your glider outside of the cage, make sure the other pet(s) is either in a seperate room or kept at a safe distance. You should never risk endangering or causing your stress for your sugar glider by putting them in harms way of another aggressive animal. Basically, it all depends on your other pet's disposition(s).

4. Do Sugar Gliders have an odor?

Gliders are very dependent upon their excellent senses of smell to identify other gliders, as well as their owners. The main odor given off by gliders is the usual waste smell, but it's not strong and if their cage is kept clean, you should never smell anything. There are products available to control the odors for your Sugar Glider's waste, including Elimina (removes feces odors).

We should mention here, however, that the males do give off an odor before mating.While not really bad,it is a distinct odor, and may take over a room for a week or two. This mating smell can be avoided if your glider is neutered. Male gliders have two scent glands which they use for marking - one is located on their belly and the other on the top of their head (which accounts for the bald spot).

When males grow accustomed to their surroundings, they will mark objects by rubbing their bellies back and forth upon the object. They will also mark any females in their colony by rubbing the female's chin with their head.

5. What is the optimal temperature for Gliders?

Sugar gliders tolerate temperatures from 60°F to 90°F (15°C to 32°C); however, their preferred temperature range is 80°F to 88°F. Sugar Gliders are nest animals that require a safe place to sleep or nap, preferably one that is quite, dark, and warm. Proper nesting material can help reduce stress levels and increase the quality of sleep your pet is getting, all while optimizing their health. The temperature of the room or area should be maintained between 70-90 deg. F. The cage should be located in an area free from drafts and vents. A nest box, acrylic house, plastic dome or any type of nesting place can be used to provide your gliders with a comfortable living space. You can use a cage cover to avoid drafts from entering a cage or cage heaters to provide extra warmth.

6. What noises do Sugar Gliders make?

Sugar Gliders (as far as we can tell) make 4 distinct noises. The first is the 'get away from me noise'. This has been described as sounding similar to an electric pencil sharpener. The sound is also referred to as 'crabbing'. You may hear this noise a lot at first, but after a month you will learn what they like and don't like and you may never hear this again (hopefully).

The second is a happy chirp, which they make when excited or happy. The third is a quieter chirp which we have yet to find a purpose behind (other than simple communication). The fourth noise is a loud sharp barking. We believe this is some sort of call for other Sugar Gliders or just for attention from human owners.

7. How long do Sugar gliders live?

Life Span in captivity: Sugar Gliders will live for 10-15 years if they are cared for properly.

8. How do I supply their water?

Water should ALWAYS be available for your glider to drink. Use either a shallow water dish or a water bottle designed for small mammals. Make sure your glider(s) knows how to use a water bottle with straw before leaving them alone without another water source. Glass bottles and ceramic dishes are the most sanitary option for pet use. See our food and water dishes for gliders. When outside the cage, never leave the toilet seat up! Gliders drown quickly. Make sure there are covers on all large drain holes.

9. How often do I feed?

Food should be available to your glider at any time of the day or night. Most people prefer to change out the food every morning, after gliders have ate throughout the night and gone back to sleep. You should have a pellet diet available at all times throughout the day, in case your glider wakes up in the middle of the day for a snack. The pellet should be removed and refreshed in the morning, or after 24 hours. Fresh foods like fruit, vegetables, Instant-HPW, Gumivore-fare, etc. should be served in the evening around the time your glider is waking up, then removed from the cage the next morning, after about 12 hours. This feeding schedule will allow your glider to eat food when it is fresh, prevent any staleness or mold growth, and keep fruit-flies or smells away.

10. What shouldn't I feed?

Never feed them chocolate, or allow them to eat houseplants or give them access to chemicals or toxins. Don't feed them cat food or foods made for another animal species. Check the ingredients or guaranteed analysis of the food. If that information is not available, consider switching to a more reputable brand that provide full details on the food you are feeding. Never trust a company that doesn't list product ingredients.

Bonus: Some other important health information to know ...

Calcium deficiency can cause paralysis and even kill. Make sure that your glider has vitamin/calcium supplements.

A normal weight range is from 90 to 150 grams, with males weighing more.

Healthy eyes are black with no flecks of white or clouding. They should be bright, alert, and responsive, and not sunken in.

A healthy nose is pink and moist with no discharge or crust. Any noise while breathing is a sign to take your glider to the vet.

Gums and membranes should be pink, should be free from lesions, and not appear or feel dry.

The ear should always spring back to its original shape. No wax should be present. Look for ear mites.

Feet should be pink and soft. Check for injured toes. Trim toenails with small toenail clippers, or use a Sandy Trimmer Wheel.

Coat should be smooth without any missing patches. (This does not include the "bald spots" on males where the scent glands are).

Be aware of diseases and illnesses found in Sugar Gliders. Diabetes, pneumonia, urinary tract blockages, and other maladies are a few of the things to which gliders are susceptible. Gliders usually only show signs of ill health when they are near death, so it is important to react quickly when abnormalities are noted.

You should have a vet before any health problems occur. Ask your vet if they have treated gliders before, and what training have they had specifically geared towards treating gliders. This link: accredited veterinarian may be of help to you in finding a vet who knows what he is doing where your glider is concerned. If you notice any of the following symptoms rush your glider to the vet as quickly as possible:

  • Legs not moving correctly
  • Feet not grasping, or stumbling
  • Glider moving around blindly, banging into walls, or acting as though he cannot see
  • Vomiting, diarrhea or constipation
  • Self mutilation
  • Losing hair in patches
  • Flaky dry skin


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Notice: Exotic Nutrition cannot provide specific care guidelines on an individual basis. Please contact a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitation clinic.


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