A sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps) is a small arboreal nocturnal marsupial. That means they live in trees, are awake at night, sleep in nests during the day and have a pouch (like a kangaroo) for their joeys to stay in as they develop! They are native to Australia and New Guinea. Sugar gliders can now be found all throughout Northern and Eastern Australia, along with the surrounding islands of Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. Sugar gliders are colony animals in the wild. A typical colony consists of 1 dominant male, 2 subbordinate males, 4 adult females and their joeys. It is best to keep 2 to 4 together in captivity. Their diet consists primarily of insects, small birds and mammals, and the sap of eucalyptus, acacia and gum trees. In captivity, they should be fed in the evening and need fresh food and water daily. There are several acceptable diets that people feed gliders and all consist of a protein source, fruits, vegetables plus vitamins and calcium. These diets have been developed by people who know what gliders should have in their diet and who understand the calcium to phosphorus ratio (2:1) required by them. It is important to choose a good diet to help them thrive and also to avoid medical issues. When you adopt a sugar glider they should become a member of your family. They need interaction with others of their kind as well as their human family, more commonly known as their "slaves" in the glider world. Being inquisitive and very smart, it is good to have lots of toys and things for them to do in their cage. A glider safe wheel is a MUST to help them burn energy and stay healthy! Gliders can get depressed and hurt themselves or even die if they are lonely. They hide sickness well so suggie slaves need to be attentive. It is extremely important, in my opinion, to have no less than two gliders together. You need to be prepared to spend lots of time with them and gliders need at least one glider companion! Because they can live up to 15 years in captivity they are definitely a long term commitment. They develop strong bonds with their cagemates and their slaves (that's you!) so be prepared to love them Forever! Sugar gliders should NOT be kept in small cages! At minimum a pair of sugar gliders should have a cage that is 2'x3'x3'. Bars should not be more than 1/2" in spacing anywhere or they will escape! These guys are very industrious and can find ways out of things you wouldn't ever imagine that they could! Certain materials are more safe for them than others. Powder coated metal cages, pvc coated cages, reptariums or homemade cages crafted from pvc pipe and landware cloth are all acceptable. Galvanized metal is a definite no-no! Wood can become saturated with their scent and will make your house smell. Being nocturnal, they will play and make noise during much of the night. If you are a light sleeper take this into consideration before you get gliders not after! Sugar gliders love running on their wheel, bouncing from toy to toy and talking to each other. They make many different sounds including barking, crabbing, psssst sounds and many more! They communicate with their cagemates and slaves with their sounds. There are certain glider safe materials and many unsafe ones! Please, consult with myself or other glider knowledgeable people before getting toys, toy making parts, pouches or anything else you may want to use to entertain your sugar gliders! They like to glide in their cages and if given the opportunity to do so outside of the cage they definitely will there too! That means you need to have glider safe locations play time. A tent is a great, safe place to interact with your glider. Any room that you let your glider into should be glider safe. Small holes, drains, spaces under doors should all be covered. Gliders are tricky and can get into very small spaces! Toilets or standing water are death traps for sugar gliders. They cannot swim! Please, keep lids down and make sure other animal water bowls are not in areas where your glider plays.
Sugar gliders, like anything with teeth, can bite! They are beautiful, cute and cuddly looking little animals but when frightened, untame, sick or in contact with other animals they percieve as a threat they can be ferocious. They are not afraid to lunge and bite something or someone they feel is a threat, no matter the size. Sugar gliders do not make good pets for young children and should not interact with your other animals. Despite their attempt to appear as a worthy opponent, they are fragile and can look like toys to some larger animals too. Please keep in mind that they should never be housed with any other species.
These little ones are not the perfect pet for everyone! We strongly suggest parents plan to be the primary caretakers of sugar gliders and understand the possible financial responsibilities, if they are considering them as pets for their minor children. If you are still reading, they might be for you!