Sugar gliders are little marsupials that have been taken as exotic pets in many countries. These creatures are different from normal pet rodents like hamsters, mice and rats. They have character, mood swings, emotional bonds and the sweetest nature for a pet that comes in such a small package. Commonly mistaken as flying squirrels, Sugar gliders can be both easy and hard to take care. Their general care is much more complicated than pet rodents and they require a lot of affection and attention from its owners. Look at it this way, gliders are like 3 year old kids.... they act cute and can annoy us sometimes while at the same time needs our total attention and bond.
Sugar gliders are tiny gliding opossums from Irian Jaya, New Guinea and Australia. Wild sugar gliders live in colonies of 6 to 15 animals in tree hollows or other nests made of vegetation. They are nocturnal so will mainly spend most of their day time asleep, only waking up at early dawn and late at night to forage for food.
An adult sugar glider is about the size of a flying squirrel, approximately 5 to 7 inches long from tip of nose to base of tail. Adults in proper body condition weigh between 3 and 4 ounces. The tail is fluffy, often curls on the end and usually is longer than the body length.
A young sugar glider is silver-gray with a black stripe that starts just above the nose leather and extends over the forehead, down the neck and back and joins the black tail. A dark stripe also runs from the outside corner of the eye to the ear. Captive-raised sugar gliders remain this color throughout their lives. Wild sugar gliders are born this color but usually become stained cocoa brown from the vegetation and tree sap in their nests. Their new coats will come in silver-gray after shedding the old coat.
The sugar glider's belly is a soft white, meeting the gray exactly at the outside edge of the fully furred gliding membranes. This gives a unique scalloped effect when they are relaxed. The sugar glider has four fingers and an opposable thumb on its hands and feet. The thumbs on the rear feet are without claws. Toes and fingers have small pads that help the animal grasp food and branches. Each toe and finger ends in a sharp claw that can hook like Velcro to nonslick surfaces.
Sugar Gliders as Pets
Sugar gliders are, without a doubt, the true pocket pet. A tame sugar glider is delighted to be in physical contact with its owner's body. It will sit on your shoulder, ride in your hair or nap in your shirt pocket. It is an indescribably delicious sensation to feel this warm, living creature lightly move in your pocket as you surf the net, wash the dishes or fix the car.
You will fall in love with the sugar glider's attitude. This animal is not a pushover and cannot be trained to do anything with negative reinforcement. Isn't a shame that all pets do not have the sugar glider's degree of self confidence? Treated with kindness and love, your sugar glider will choose you as the most safe and desirable tree in the forest and treat you as an equal, somewhat larger, sugar glider.
You will love the sugar glider because it is such a unique adaptation of nature. A huge portion of its existence in the wild is spent in trees. Because of this habitat, the sugar glider developed the gliding membrane that allows it to travel from tree to tree without ever touching the ground in its entire life. Likewise, a sugar glider that is bonded to you will glide back to you, its one true and safe haven if placed on a stranger's shoulder or on top of your bookcase.
Properly fed and exercised, sugar gliders can live between 10 and 15 years in captivity. If you're looking for a charming, interesting pet, look no further than the sugar glider.
Adult gliders can tolerate a temperature range of 18C-31C. At the low end of this range they definitely need warm bedding and a small enclosed space where they can cuddle to keep warm. You can use bird houses, coconut shells or any other thing that's suitable for the gliders to sleep in. It is better to use hiding places made of absorbent material like wood, fabric, etc. Absorbent materials keep humidity from building up inside, and also "breathe" so that moisture and smells don't build up. If you use materials such as plastic or glazed ceramic, your gliders will eventually take on a brownish tinge as their fur is stained by the trapped moisture, and they probably won't smell as nice as they should.
The cage should be at least 3 feet for adult
Natural branches or rope perches for climbing are good additions to your cage, but make sure any branches you use are free of pesticides and are not from a plant that could be toxic. Fruit tree branches are good. If you can find the large size exercise wheel made for guinea pigs, your gliders might learn to use it for exercise, but be sure not to get the smaller hamster size, as gliders can get their long tails caught in those, causing some serious injuries.
Other decorations and toys that you can include for your gliders are bird swings, ladders, fake plants, vines and many others as long as they cannot harm your gliders.
Food dishes and water bottles made for birds can be used for gliders.
You can use wood-shavings (NO CEDAR OR PINE!), newspaper, cloth and corn cob as the substrate at the bottom of the cage.
Bonding and Socializing
The first day in a new home for your glider will be quite scary. Once you've brought home your glider, leave it in its cage for a day so that it can get familiar with his new home. Playing with the new glider immediately will cause stress so it's best to leave the glider alone for awhile. Keep the cage in a dark and quiet place. You can even place a cloth or a t-shirt over the cage so that the glider will feel more secure.
I personally find that the best way to bond with your glider is to keep it close to your body. During the day, keep them in your shirt pocket or in a pouch that you can hang from your neck. The glider will get accustomed to your smell. The breathing and warmth is also comforting to them. Bonding with a glider doesn't mean playing with the glider all the time. Gliders can get stressed when overplayed with. In the late evening or early morning (gliders are nocturnal meaning that they are active during the night), spend some time to socialize with your glider by letting it explore your body, hang it upside down and hand feed it.
Tame and bonded gliders can respond to their name and follow simple commands like "come here" or "let go" or "NO!" when commanded by their owners. They will also be very clingy and loyal towards their owners.
There are 2 types of gliders in the market. Baby gliders and adult gliders. Many people are excited over the cheaper prices of adult gliders but they do not realize that most of the adult gliders sold are wild gliders that has not been tamed from young and can be very very difficult to tame. Instead of a pocket pet that snuggles up to you, you'll get a scratchy, crabby and bitey glider. When you're considering sugar gliders as pets, make sure that they are either tamed or babies. Babies bond much better with their owners and they are much easier to tame. Even if they do bite and scratch at first, it won't be painful.
It easy to carry gliders around even when you go out to public places. They will snuggle in their pouches or shirt pockets. Use pouches that are made out of breathable fabric.
Must Sugar Gliders be Kept in a Pair?
There are many cases against keeping sugar gliders along due to their nature in living in a colony of gliders. Keeping gliders in at least a pair is recommended because many people cannot give half of their time to their gliders.
Gliders can die from loneliness so there is no way to keep a glider alone locked up in the cage for most of its life.
Gliders can certainly be kept alone if the owner is able to spend tons of time with the glider (we're talking about at least 12 hours). This is easier than it's been made out to be. Gliders kept singly will only require 1 hour of play-time but snuggling up to their owner, seeing them every hour or two, receiving strokes murmurs from their owners is what keeps the glider from being lonely. Being pocket pets, gliders can be brought to almost everywhere so they're easy enough to keep by your side for 12 hours or more.
Male sugar gliders have a scent gland in the middle of the top of their head, which causes the typical bald spot in the center of the wide part of the black stripe there. Another gland is located in the middle of their chest. A third gland, an anal one, is shared by males and females alike. The females also have a scent gland in their pouch.
The male's forehead and chest glands are used in marking his territory and his mates with his scent. Gliders produce at least three distinct odors. One is a sweet, flowery smell; another I don't know how to describe, but it is not really offensive. It can get relatively strong at times, when they are breeding, but after a few days it dies away again. The third is a pungent smell that is produced by the anal gland when a glider is afraid.
Gliders use urine to mark their territory, so you will need to clean their cages and furnishings periodically. Otherwise though, they are very clean little animals
In the wild Glider diet consists of insect and plant exudate such as nectar, pollen, tree sap, manna, honeydew and in some species fruit and seeds. Protein is supplied through the consumption of insects, moths, beetles, pollen and occasional small vertebrates. It is very difficult to duplicate this exact diet because the exact plants are not commonly available in stores. However, there have been diets that have been used for several years that seam to provide all the nutritional value required for healthy gliders.
Gliders take variety food. The ideal diet for them would be a glider mix food (with various glider-safe ingredients), fruits/vegetables and pesticide free insects.
Many gliders in captivity suffer from malnutrition because there are not many staple food that are well-balanced in the market and many keepers are misinformed on what to feed gliders.
Best nutrition and most widely accepted foods
apple (and apple juice), banana, blueberry, cantaloupe, carrot, cherry, chicken (boiled without skin), coconut, cucumber, eggs (hard boiled or scrambled no added butter or oil), fig, grape, honey, honeydew, insects (farm raised to be used as food such as crickets and meal worms), kiwi, mandarins, mango, melon, papaya, Peach, pear, pineapple, plum, prune, raisin, raspberry, squash, strawberry, sweet potato (not cooked), wheat Germ
Good Foods but should not be used every day for long periods
beans, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, cottage cheese, grapefruit, greens (mustard, kale, collard, celery, stalks, turnip), kale, nectar, oranges, parsley, peas, spinach, turnips, low fat yogurt( fruits flavor only or recommended plain coz low preservative)
Foods to avoid
caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate etc..), canned foods fruit or meat (most contain added salt and sugar), canned fruit, cheese May cause intestinal stoppage or "binding" leading to constipation, chives, chocolate It causes a toxic chemical reaction in most animals, fat (any food with high or added fat), Fire Fly (lightning bugs) or any other insect that was not farmed raised for food, fried foods, garlic, iceberg lettuce (non nutritional), insects that are wild caught, keels, milk, millet (or other very small seeds), nuts (possible exception of a uncooked, unsalted peanut for very rare extra special treats), onions, phosphorus stay away from foods high in phosphorus. use a calcium that does not contain phosphorous., pinkys(small mice) (although very nutritious we choose not to feed pinkies because of a few items that suggest feeding pinkies may increase the possibility of mothers eating their joeys.), pits (from fruit), processed meat, raw eggs, raw meat (except for live insects), rhubarb, salt (any food with added salt), scallions, sugar (foods with added sugar), sugar (refined sugar, table sugar), tofu / soy products (Even though tofu has been thought of as the perfect protein you may want to avoid this or use it very limited because of several recent articles which suggest "The facts are stated clearly - soy products in the diet of the studied animals is believed to have harmful effects on the body's digestive and reproductive systems."Why take the risk of Tofu when there are many other forms of protein
1. Garlic, onions, scallions, chives, leeks, ramsons, (any member of the Allium genus).
These vegetables have been known to cause anemia in many domestic animal species.
Warning: Some baby foods contain onion or garlic powder. To be safe, always thoroughly scan the ingredients of prepared baby foods before purchase.
This popular item for birds is a definite no-no for Sugar Gliders. These small granules will likely cause intestinal impaction if too many are consumed.
3. Fruit Seeds
The seeds and pits of various fruits are sources of extremely potent toxins. To be safe, thoroughly check all food dishes before dinner-time to ensure you haven't mistakenly included any seeds, pits, stones, etc.
With the exception of the occasional Brazil nut, avoid offering nuts. Nuts are high in fat and also oxalic acid, which interferes with calcium absorption. Nuts have also been linked to other health problems in Sugar Gliders.
Any benefits nuts have to offer can be derived from the rest of the diet, provided it is well-balanced.
Although many Sugar Glider owners offer avocado flesh, this fruit is extremely high in fat and contains toxins. I recommend never offering this fruit to your gliders.
6. Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons, etc.)
Although offering citrus fruits on occasion will benefit your glider's health, overdoing it will result in diarrhea (which leads to dehydration and a host of other health problems).
7. Sunflower Seeds
Do not offer these seeds in excess. They are loaded with fat and may contribute to intestinal problems.
8. Peas, peanuts, and some plants belonging to the family Cruciferae (Brassicaceae) --- which include broccoli, kale, cauliflower, turnips, mustard, and Brussels sprouts --- have been known to repress the production of thyroid hormone in animals. Do not completely avoid offering these items (although peanuts should be avoided for other reasons as well); just limit your offering of them, and be aware of their potential interactions within the body.
9. Spinach, parsley, rhubarb, beets (and their greens), Swiss chard, mustard, kale, collards, celery stalks, turnip greens, many beans, and plants of the genus Rumex (sorrel, dock) contain oxalic acid, a chemical that binds with calcium and renders it unavailable to the body. (When offering leafy greens, try to stick with Romaine lettuce or other selections not listed above.)
This sweet vegetable is relished by most Sugar Gliders, but do not offer this as a staple, because it is loaded with phosphorous. An excess of this mineral in the diet may compromise proper calcium absorption. A few kernels or a small cob once and a while is fine.
11. Milk Products (yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.)
A Sugar Glider can tolerate lactose in its diet, but some individuals will be less tolerant than others. The keys are moderation and individual attention. Do not feed straight milk or overfeed lactose-rich foods. Observe what each of your gliders eats each night, and take note of how their bodies react to it. Even though it will be difficult to keep track of which gliders are producing which bowel movements, you can figure this out by close observation, or by temporarily separating an individual you suspect to be having a problem for a few hours.
For any quires, u can email me or give me a call or text...and better if u can add some supplement such as HPW, gliderade and many more. u can buy it at the petshop. i can guide u...thanks