Since sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps) began getting domesticated 15 years ago, they’ve become a staple pet for many households across the United States. Why? Because these darling animals make fantastic little pets.
They’re highly affectionate and social creatures known for their insatiable hunger for sugary foods like fruit.
Many people assume that sugar gliders are rodents, but they’re actually marsupials. As a result, a sugar glider care guide reads differently than one for hamsters, gerbils, or even guinea pigs.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at sugar glider care tips, which will help you decide whether these pets are right for you and your family.
Sugar Gliders 101
Sugar gliders are marsupials hailing from Indonesia and Australia. Mothers care for their young in pouches on their bellies similar to kangaroos. Because sugar gliders are nocturnal, they spend days sleeping and remain active at night.
Once you own a sugar glider, you’ll quickly understand where the “sugar” portion of their name derives from. These cute pets love to devour sweet treats.
What you may not realize about them, however, is that they have a thin membrane stretching from their ankles to their wrists. This membrane is similar to that of a flying squirrel, and they use it to jump and glide.
In the wild, sugar gliders soar like kites from tree to tree, traveling distances of 150 to 165 feet. Hence the “glider” part of their name.
Fun Facts About Sugar Gliders
A full-grown sugar glider weighs little more than four to five ounces and measures on average 12 inches from head to tail. More than 50 percent of their length is comprised of tail alone.
Vocal creatures, sugar gliders make barking noises like miniature dogs, and they can live for upwards of 15 years when cared for properly.
They’re social animals that typically reside in colonies of between 10 and 15 individuals in the wild. For this reason, you should always purchase them in pairs.
Because of their friendly dispositions, sugar gliders bond well with entire families and make excellent pets for children, too. They connect most closely with the individual in the family who cares for them and handles them the most.
Sugar Glider Care: Fruits and Vegetables
Sugar gliders LOVE to eat fruits and vegetables. The sweeter, the better.
Seventy-five percent of their overall diet should consist of produce. The last quarter must provide protein.
Which fruits and vegetables do sugar gliders like best? Pet owners report success feeding their beloved pets:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet potatoes
Sugar gliders can be very picky eaters. So, keep this list handy. That way, you’ll have a few tricks up your sleeve if your babies get difficult about their daily fare.
What about meeting their protein requirements? Let’s take a closer look.
Sugar Glider Care Info: Protein Options
Which protein sources will keep your tiny pets happy and healthy? Options include:
- Small pieces of cooked, unseasoned lean cuts of chicken, turkey, etc.
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Cottage cheese
- Peanut butter
These foods should make up about 25 percent of your glider’s diet, ensuring they remain healthy, muscular, and energetic.
Sugar Glider Care Instructions: Additional Treats
There are also a variety of treats that you may wish to consider feeding your sugar gliders. Remember that these items are high in fat and should only be offered occasionally.
Purchase them live from a pet store. Don’t feed your pets anything collected outside as these insects might contain pesticides. Treats include:
- Other live insects
Still not sure what to feed your pets? Read about sugar glider food for more options and alternatives.
Besides the treats listed above, make sure your sugar gliders always have access to fresh water. That said, you may not see them partake of this water often as the majority of the moisture they absorb comes from consuming produce.
When should you feed your pets? Many owners do so once per day at dusk, while others prefer to offer two meals per day, morning and night. The best option will depend on your pet’s interests and routine.
Apart from these guidelines, never feed your pet chocolate, raw sugar, or sugar substitutes.
Habitat for Your Sugar Gliders
What else do you need to know about keeping your sugar gliders in tiptop shape? You must provide them with an appropriate habitat.
Start by finding them the largest cage possible. The taller the cage, the better. as they need plenty of climbing and gliding space. A single sugar glider should be in a container no smaller than 20″ x 30″.
Make sure the cage has metal bars or mesh close enough together that your pet can’t squeeze through. You’ll want to place this cage in a quiet spot during the daytime since that’s when they’re busy catching their Zzzzzs.
Avoid keeping pets in direct sunlight, although you will want to have some sun coming into the room. What about ambient temperature? Keep it between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Attach food bowls near the top of the cage since gliders prefer to eat while sitting up high. They also love playing, so keep plenty of toys handy. Excellent choices include chew-toys, bird toys, bells, ladders, tunnels, balls, and exercise wheels.
Add non-toxic pieces of wood to the cage for your pets to climb, too. You’ll need to remain proactive about swapping these out as gliders will soil them.
The Complete Sugar Glider Care Guide
Our sugar glider care guide outlines the steps you need to take to ensure your pets stay healthy and robust. While sugar gliders do require specialized care, keeping these pets also proves deeply rewarding.
These affectionate and social creatures fit in well with families. They offer a fantastic option for those in search of a gentle, loving pet for their children.
Are you interested in learning more about the best family pets? Browse our blog for more great options.