What is a sugar glider?
Sugar gliders, or petaurus brevicus, originated in Australia. Marsupials such as sugar gliders [as well as kangaroos, possums, and koalas] are interesting in that the females have pouches on the abdomen where the baby, or joey, grows. Extremely intelligent, they are very similar in appearance to the North American flying squirrel, though there is no relation and their anatomy is actually very different. Adult gliders are about six inches from head to rear, with another six or so inches in their tails. Sugar gliders have only been pets in the US since about the late 1980s or early 1990s. Gliders can live up to 15 years or even longer, though due to accidents and illnesses, the average is thought to be about 5-7 years.
What are sugar gliders like?
Gliders are nocturnal, meaning that they are primarily awake at night. Typically, daytime is “bonding time”, the time to carry them in a pouch, and night-time is “play time”, the time to play in your tent or glider room with them. Gliders are a commitment, but it is a worthwhile one. Sugar gliders are also colony animals, and thus are very social. This has two sides to it: On one hand, that means that gliders are very likely to bond to their owner; however, that means that a single glider can very easily get depressed and self-mutilate. Because of this, it is highly suggested – and with some breeders, required – to adopt gliders in pairs and house them together.
What do sugar gliders need?
When considering adopting gliders, be sure to research the vet approved diets. Pellets are not considered a proper diet for gliders, though they can be fed in addition to an acceptable diet.
Also, you’ll need to look for an appropriate cage, which can be larger and more expensive than new owners may expect. However, gliders are not hamsters – they are active, hugely intelligent, and have a gentler psyche then most passersby would realize. They need the space to jump, play, and run, as well as toys that require time and thought to stimulate them. Too small of a cage will typically drive a glider into depression, and certainly cause multiple gliders to fight.
Why are sugar gliders so expensive?
When considering adopting gliders, keep in mind that sugar gliders are exotic animals that need specific supplies, diet, vets, and care, not to mention the time invested in them, and, as such, do not generally have low prices. You are not getting some animal that was bred and fed and processed out, you’re getting a loved family member.
Also, keep in mind where you should NOT buy a glider – in a mall, kiosk stand, flea market, or pet store. The majority of these locations sell joeys from millbreeders, and the joeys will sometimes be underage and ill, not to mention overpriced. You should always look for a reputable breeder or rescue.
Do gliders need shots?
Vet checks are certainly necessary for gliders, but shots or preventive medications are not needed like they are for cats and dogs. If you ever notice anything “different” or “wrong” with your glider, get them to a vet immediately, as gliders are excellent at hiding illnesses. Otherwise, a check-up once or twice a year with a fecal and urinalysis will do just fine.
Will they bite me?
I think this is the question I get the most. Well, gliders do have teeth. And they do have the free will to try to use them. However, if they are not scared or startled, then they will most likely not bite. Therefore, I see it as my fault if I get bitten – I pushed their boundaries, so I deserved it. Some gliders will “nip”, which isn’t very painful, but is used as a way to get your attention if you’re not listening to them. Then there’s the grooming. Everyone has seen monkeys groom each other – it’s a way of “accepting” another into their colony, and gliders are the same way. They will grab your hand and lick you, but they will also use their teeth to scrape at your skin. Now, if you had fur, it wouldn’t be so bad, but without, it does hurt sometimes.
Are gliders good for kids?
As a pet for them to take care of? No. Definitely not. Sugar gliders need a responsible adult as their primary caretaker. In addition, gliders move quickly and can startle a young child into accidentally hurting these fragile animals. But it is okay to have gliders in a home with children, so long as they are well taken care of and the children are supervised. Same goes for other pets: It’s okay to own a cat or dog as well as sugar gliders, but I would never, ever introduce them or expect them to get along or anything of the sort.
If you’re still reading, please, feel free to contact us to find out more about gliders. Thank you!