Care PDF Print E-mail

Owning Sugar Gliders can be a fun, wonderful, and rewarding experience but there are many things to keep in mind before deciding to make this commitment.  Gliders require a specific diet, large cages, a variety of toys, lots of out of cage playtime, and vet care.  Their needs can be expensive and extensive. You must be able to commit to many years of meeting these needs.  These animals, once bonded to their owners, bond strongly. They are very emotional and can suffer from depression if that bond is broken by rehoming.  As with all other animals, if you take them into your home, take them in for their entire lives.

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HOUSING
:
When choosing a cage, choose the largest that you can afford and that you are able to handle during cleaning time. The minimum height cage for 2 to 3 gliders is 36 inches.  Bar spacing should be 1/2 inch or less and the bars must be powder or pvc coated.  Reptariums are also suitable but not if you have chewers as gliders have the potential for escaping if they chew a hole. Here at our house, we have a 5 foot tall powder coated cage that houses 4 gliders. Photos of our cage can be found on the 'Tips For Super Fun Cages' tab of this site.

ENRICHMENT:
Sugar Gliders are smart, emotional little animals that need and thrive on enrichment. If kept in a cage without proper toys and stimulating playthings they can and will incur stress and depression, aggressive or withdrawn behavior.  Ideal sugar glider toys are those that have a diverse amount of texture and that encourage the natural foraging instincts. Having three or more toys in the cage at all times and rotating them weekly, will likely prevent boredom and provide the proper stimulation they need. Fleece vines and safe branches encourage climbing exercise. Manzanita and grapevine branches can be found at most local pet stores. Toy safety is very important as well as having a safe wheel which is a must for a healthy and happy glider.  Store bought wheels designed for small animals are not safe for sugar gliders. The center mounted bar can and often does cause tail injury and amputation. 
My gliders and I prefer the Stealth Wheel found here: http://www.atticworx.com or the Custom Cruiser found here: http://customchoicecruiser.all4gliders.com/

Chewers. Gliders often love to chew things. It's fun for them. Better for them to chew replaceable things, than things that you don't want them to chew! This is why some type of hanging toy bin is very beneficial. Fill it with cheap, safe, and replaceable chew toys. Toys like: cut up straws, plastic jacks (no metallic), plastic army men, plastic barrel of monkeys, a little wiffle ball or two, and my gliders favorite chew toy...some washed and rinsed milk and juice rings that have been cut off of the bottles/jugs. The cut is also a must for safety, as gliders love to try to 'wear' these and they could get them caught around their heads or waists.

PLAYTIME:
While having a larger cage is beneficial, gliders also need 'out of cage' time. I have a small glider safe room but lots of glider owners also use tents. The most popular is the Genji tent. Some use a glider-proofed bathroom. (towel under the door, toilet lid and any drains closed, etc.) If you can't devote a decent amount of time, please at least compensate for a larger cage and more interactive toys. 
DIET:
There are a few different trusted diets we've tried but these are our favorites:

http://sugarglider.info/staple-diets/ohpw/

https://www.thepetglider.com/glider-care-info/nutrition-system#Recipe


ORGANIC MEALWORMS are a sugar glider favorite! My gliders get a tiny handful every day as a treat. If you have a glider with a weight problem, watch their intake a little more.

Our absolute favorite mealworms store is here:
http://vita-mealie.weebly.com

NAIL HEALTH:
Many glider owners do not realize how important keeping up with nail growth is until it is too late. Without consistent upkeep with nail trimmings, gliders can get caught on fabric and cage items. Disfigurement and cases of death are often the outcome of this. However, many people are afraid or don't know how to trim their glider's nails, or are not aware that trimmings need to be done every few weeks.  Here is a short video of one of my gliders during nail trim time. This was made to help any owners who are apprehensive in trimming their own glider's nails:
http://s683.photobucket.com/albums/vv200/Suggietrio/Videos/?action=view&current=NailClipping004.mp4

VET CARE:
It is important to have an established glider vet for routine fecals. (One who is well versed enough to deal with glider emergencies as well)
Sugar gliders can and often do contract parasites. I am speaking from experience, I had to deal with Giardia as a new owner. It is critical to have a fecal float/smear test when bringing home a new suggie and a SNAP test for giardia is always a good precaution. Owners should check for parasites w/gliders just like they would with a puppy or kitten. Without the proper treatment, parasites can and most likely will cause death. Have fecals done yearly, even for healthy gliders.
*The care suggestions on this site is not intended to replace the professional care a licensed vet can and should provide*

A FEW OTHER QUICK GLIDER FACTS:
*Sugar Gliders are not rodents. They're marsupials and native to parts of Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia.
*They are pouch bearing, (the females) similar to koalas, kangaroos, and possums.
*They have gliding ability due to a membrane (called the patagia) on both sides of the body that extend from their front to their back feet.
*They have been known to glide up to 50 feet in the wild.  Here at our house, we have one that has and does glide about 9 feet.
*They can live up to 15 years in captivity.
*They are nocturnal. They sleep during the day and are active at night.
*They can be very noisy. They often bark at night (like puppies) so if you are a light sleeper, try to house their cage away from your bedroom. Personally, I find their barking adorable!

Here is a link to an informative site that I have found helpful.
THE SWEET SPOT - http://thesweetspot.forumotion.net - An online forum for glider health and help. A good place to ask questions.

Sugar Glider Care and Research Groups:
The Sugar Group - If you are a current glider owner, please complete the online surveys available.
http://www.sugargroup.org/
The Glider Initiative
http://www.thegliderinitiative.org/store/store.php

Rescue Sites:
If you're thinking about getting sugar gliders, before you buy, look into rescuing a few in need of good, loving homes:

KINGDOM KRITTERS - http://kingdomkritters.webs.com/

THREE SISTERS EXOTIC RESCUE & SANCTUARY - https://www.facebook.com/TTSERAS/ or email Jennifer at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

SOUTHEAST SUGAR GLIDERS - http://www.southeastsugargliders.org/


A FEW PICTURES OF OUR GLIDERS!








 

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