7 Facts about Sugar Gliders!

You know that incredibly cute animal at the flea markets that they call a sugar glider or honey bear?  Well, they’ll sell you that adorable critter without telling you some REALLY important information!!

Before you spend your hard-earned money on a tiny creature that “isn’t any trouble at all”, make sure you read this!! 

First, what IS a Sugar Glider? “Petaurus breviceps” is an Australian marsupial mammal about the same size as a Northern Flying Squirrel “Glaucomys sabrinus”. They have a pouch like a kangaroo. Their babies are the size of a grain of rice when they’re born, and they have to climb up mamma’s fur to get to the pouch, and attach to a teat for milk. Here’s a photo:

Photo by andyround62 via pixabay

1) Sugar gliders are naturally nocturnal.  This means that they come out at night, and that’s when they generally want attention, food and water.  Some gliders will adjust to being awake during the day, but their biological clock tells them to be up at night. If you aren’t a night person, think about how that will affect your home life.  They WILL run around in their cage, run on their wheel, and they do BARK when they want something!! 

2) Sugar gliders require a special diet to stay healthy, and they can easily live 15 years!  This means you will have to make batches of food ahead and freeze it in ice cube trays, in order to feed them properly.  The ingredients aren’t hard to find, and it’s not difficult to make, but you can’t just feed them dry food like you can a dog or cat.

Cute sugar glider at home

3) Sugar gliders are not usually a good pet for a small child.  They will nip or bite if they get scared(like any animal), and they have very sharp teeth!  They can also nip you accidentally when you are giving them treats, and they can draw blood easily! If your glider hasn’t been well-socialized as a baby, they’ll be startled by a child’s quick movements and loud noises, and some gliders won’t ever get used to that.

4) Sugar gliders really need daily handling.  If you are a person who gets tired easily or has to travel a lot, this is probably not the pet for you. You MUST get them out of their cage EVERY DAY to play, jump and climb on you. This is SO important to keeping them tame and friendly.

5) Gliders do NOT potty train (as a general rule).  They will mark you as their territory and this means you get pooped and peed on every day.  If you are very picky about this sort of thing, this is not the pet for you!

Thomas, Comet and Ivory taking over my back!

6) Male gliders CAN and SHOULD be neutered. They will continue to breed the females as long as they are alive.  Neutering ensures that you don’t end up with a colony of 30 from the original 2 or 3 you brought home (True Story)!

7) Gliders love company! You should always get two, preferably same sex pairs who have grown up together. In the wild, they live in colonies of ten to a hundred or more, and living by themselves isn’t natural for them. One human doesn’t replace all that interaction that they’re designed for!

And besides all that, they need some other things.   A REALLY BIG special cage, designed for gliders or small birds, in order to have lots of toys and branches to play on while you are busy is an absolute necessity.  A veterinarian who has training in exotic animal care to get your male gliders neutered when they are old enough and for annual checkups.

And, yes, sugar gliders do have a “musky” odor.  If you don’t get your males fixed, they can be pretty strong. Most glider people don’t mind the little bit that remains.

Ivory is a Leucistic glider; she has black eyes but all white fur.

There is a lot of information on the Internet, but honestly, you really have to dig to find ACCURATE stuff.  There are multiple glider rescues out there who are in the business of helping people who get overwhelmed with life,for instance they end up having to move, only to find out that the state they’re moving to has a law against owning gliders. It’s very easy to work with these people and they will educate you on all the things you need to know!

There are plenty of reputable breeders out there who are doing a great job of tracking where their babies go and who’s breeding with who.  If you decide that you want a baby, PLEASE find a GOOD responsible breeder!  This means that you won’t end up with a glider whose parents were siblings, has multiple health problems or who will die just as you really get attached.  A good breeder will always want to keep in contact and help you out.  They can help you find a local veterinarian who does annual checkups, neuters and answers questions!!!

There are several reputable Glider owner and rescue groups on FaceBook, many of whom will assign you a “Glider Mentor” to answer your questions and help you out.  If you’re not sure where to look, drop me an email at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com and I will be happy to get you hooked in!  Also, I recommend “My Sugar Glider Journal”, (available on Amazon at  https://amzn.to/2xlars6  ) as a way to get some more information, and to give yourself time to decide if gliders are right for you!

In conclusion, Sugar gliders are NOT for everyone, but if you decide you want to be one of those special people, PLEASE be responsible and do it right.  There are too many gliders out there who suffer in terrible conditions, and you don’t want to make it worse, do you?

As always, thanks for reading! Comments, complaints, corrections or criticism is welcome at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com

With Grace and Gratitude,

LeslieAnne Hasty

Copyright LeslieAnne Hasty

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2 Comments on “7 Facts about Sugar Gliders!

  1. It’s so important people educate themselves about any animal they’re considering as a pet. They’re going to be caring for the creature for its entire life, or at least that’s what the intention should be – its welfare will be entirely in their hands. Thanks for this informative article.

    Liked by 1 person

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