Before deciding to own a sugar glider as a pet, it's important to consider factors such as specialized care, socialization, and proper nutrition. While it can be a rewarding experience, it also requires a significant commitment. In this blog, our vets in Clarksville review everything you need to know about sugar gliders.
Did you know that sugar gliders are actually marsupials, just like kangaroos and koalas? Although they may look like rodents, they have pouches for carrying their young and skin folds stretching from their wrists to their sides, allowing them to glide between trees in the wild.
These fascinating creatures are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night and typically weigh between 2.5 and 5.5 ounces. While wild and "classic" sugar gliders have a distinct black dorsal stripe and white belly, those bred in captivity can come in a variety of colors and patterns.
In the wild, these social animals live in groups of 6-10 and have an average lifespan of 6 to 7 years.
Are Sugar Gliders Good Pets?
Sugar gliders can make great exotic pets, and you can purchase them from shelters, pet stores, and breeders across the United States. They are very caring, social, and curious animals who often form lifelong close bonds with their families.
Before bringing a sugar glider home as a pet, it's important to understand that they require a significant amount of time and care. Our veterinarians at Clarksville strongly advise taking the time to educate yourself about this animal and their needs.
So, what exactly are the requirements for caring for a sugar glider?
Bonding With Your Sugar Glider
You may have heard that a bonding process is necessary when introducing a sugar glider as a companion animal. Daily handling and playtime is essential for them to get comfortable with their owners to prevent them from becoming nippy.
As a result, sugar gliders may not be suitable for families with young children. These small creatures have a fondness for pouches, and they frequently curl up in pockets or specially designed-sugar glider pouches.
Stimulation & Housing
To ensure the well-being of your sugar gliders, it's important to provide them with a spacious cage where they can engage in activities like jumping, leaping, and gliding. The minimum recommended cage size for these pets is 3 feet by 2 feet by 3 feet. Additionally, since sugar gliders are known for their escape artist skills, it's crucial to ensure that the bars of the cage are not too far apart.
Your gilder's cage should include a number of platforms, toys, and stimulating activities like bird toys, swings, and rodent wheels.
Also, you should almost never keep just one sugar glider as a pet. These animals are very social by nature, so in addition to daily handling and playtime, they will need a companion to keep them company.
The Nutritional Needs of Sugar Gliders
It's important to meet the specific nutritional needs of sugar gliders to keep them healthy. Contrary to popular belief, they don't consume a lot of fruit.
To ensure a balanced diet, we suggest dividing their daily intake into three parts.
Half of it can be commercial pellets; a quarter should consist of green and leafy vegetables, and the remaining quarter should be a protein source such as cooked egg, lean meat, or insects.
It's crucial to include diversity and variety in your sugar glider's diet, regardless of the specifics.
A Sugar Glider's Medical Requirements
Like any other pet, sugar gliders are prone to various illnesses and conditions. Dental health issues, weight problems, and stress-related diseases are among the most prevalent health conditions in sugar gliders.
Improper nutrition is often the root cause of issues such as oral health and weight problems. The consumption of overly sugary foods can lead to obesity and tooth decay, while an inadequate diet can result in malnourishment.
Furthermore, if your nocturnal sugar gliders are not given sufficient opportunities to rest throughout the day, they may develop stress-related disorders and conditions.