Sugar Gliders

Basic Facts

Originally from eastern and northern mainland Australia (as well as being introduced to Tasmania) and is also native to New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago.
Not legal to be kept as pets in Pennsylvania and California
Size:
  • Body is 7 inches and Tail is ~8inches
  • Males: 115-160g
  • Females: 95-135g
Live span: 12-15 years
Diet
  • Invertebrates
  • Plants: eucalyptus, pollen, honey dew, nectar, acacia gum
  • Hard to replicate natural diet
Nocturnal
Social Animals- 2 or more, same sex pairs or groups with neutered males
Sexual Maturity: Females 8-12 Mo, Males 12-15 Mo
Gestation Length: 15-17 days, then fetus migrates into pouch and stays there for 50-75 days
Young: Joeys begin coming out of the pouch at approximately 40 days, the begin coming out more regularly then eventually leave the pouch completely, Joeys begin eating the same food as their parents at approximately 35-60 out of pouch and can leave their parents around 50-70 days out of pouch
Sugar Gliders as pets
Pocket pets- enjoy cuddling and curling up with owners and in their shirt pockets
owners must be prepared to spend 2+ hours/day interacting with their sugar glider
Husbandry
Housing
  • Arboreal- Climbing!
  • Nocturnal- hide boxes for daytime
  • Cage
  • 20”x20”x30” for 2
  • PVC coated wire is preferable over epoxy, paint, powder-coated, or galvanized wire due to potential health and safety hazards.
  • Openings should be no larger than ½” x 1” (1.25-2.5cm) rectangles. Cages consisting primarily of vertical bars (ie. bird cages) are not recommended for babies or juveniles.
  • Below is a list of common house hold hazards and recommendations for avoiding them.
Temperature: 75-80F, A supplemental heat source is often needed for a healthy glider, can withstand temperatures up to about 88F
Diet
The two most common pellet foods are: Glide-R-Chow™ (www.sugarbears.com) and NutriMax™ (www.vetspride.com)
A healthy diet should consist of 75% pellet food, 25% fresh fruits/vegetables.
Supplements:
A calcium-based multivitamin formulated specifically for sugar gliders is also required. The two most common multivitamins are: Glide-A-Mins™ (www.sugarbears.com) and VitaMax™ (www.vetspride.com).
When should my Sugar Glider see the Veterinarian?
Any new pet should be examined by a veterinarian, then have bi-yearly check-ups with a veterinarian as long as they are healthy
Below are some common problems seen in Sugar Gliders and recommendations of when to see your veterinarian. If you are ever concerned about the health of your pet do not hesitate to call.

Common problems with Sugar Gliders and Signs to watch for:
  • Diarrhea- Extremely mushy, or liquid stools. An excessive amount of excretions.
  • This can be caused by changing diet or adding new foods, infections, either bacterial or viral, Stress, Parasites, Inability to process certain foods such as dairy, Bowel disease
  • Sugar gliders with diarrhea or soft stool should be evaluated
  • Malnutrition and poor care practices
  • Signs can be very diverse and can include
  • Hind-limb paralysis, blindness, dehydration, cataracts, obesity, and seizures, or Hair loss
  • If you observe any of the above please have your sugar glider evaluated
  • Respiratory problems including pneumonia
  • Signs include: discharge from the eyes/nose, increased respiratory rate and/or effort
  • If you observe any of the above please have your sugar glider evaluated
  • Lameness
  • Can be caused by trauma, obesity, or a nutritional deficit
  • If you observe that your sugar glider is having trouble climbing, is not using its limbs normally, or you observe any swelling he or she should be evaluated
  • Mutilation
  • Can be self inflicted (especially in isolated males) or due to stress, or it can be caused by aggressive cage mates
  • If you notice any wounds on your sugar glider he or she should be re-evaluated
  • This list contains common problems seen in pet Sugar Gliders. If your Sugar Gliders is not eating, is acting lethargic, or if you are at all concerned call your veterinarian, they can assist you in determining if and when your pet should be seen.
  • Sugar Gliders are susceptible to toxicity poisoning and a wide range of household hazards due to their keen senses and highly-inquisitive nature. The most common cause of injuries or death in the home include:
  1. Drowning in open containers of fluids, such as toilets, sinks, bathtubs, or buckets
  2. Burns from landing on stovetops, light bulbs, toasters, coffee pots, etc.
  3. Poisoning from fruit-scented air fresheners, or fruit-scented cleaners such as Lysol™.
  4. Poisoning from insect or rodent baits.
  5. Poisoning from pesticides sprayed in rooms or on foods.
  6. Poisoning from residues left on hands or under fingernails.
  7. Poisoning from chemicals contained in tap water used as drinking water.
  8. Accidental contamination of food or water with spray cleaners such as Windex™.
  9. Chocolate or caffeinated drinks
  10. Contact with toxic houseplants or holiday decorations

Most mistakes can be avoided simply by:
  1. Closing toilet lids and bathroom doors
  2. Using only bottled water as drinking water.
  3. Avoiding unsupervised excursions in the home
  4. Removal of all fruit-scented air fresheners, candles, insect and rodent baits.
  5. Temporarily moving the cage to a different room when cleaning,
  6. Thoroughly washing your hands – including under the fingernails – prior to handling the animal.
  7. Washing all foods thoroughly prior to feeding.
  8. Making sure all chocolate and caffeinated beverages are secured.
  9. Making sure all houseplants and holiday decorations are safe.



Resources:
The Association of Sugar Glider Veterinarians
www.ASGV.org

The Sugar Glider Vet
www.thesugarglidervet.org

Pocket Pets
www.sugarbears.com

The North American Sugar Glider Association™
www.mynasga.org
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