Sugar Glider Care
Sugar gliders need a large cage with dimensions of at least 24" x 24" x 36". A cage of this size can house up to 2 gliders. The bigger the better, so choose the largest cage you possibly can.
The bar spacing must be no more than 1/2 inch.
Make sure the cage has secure latches. Sugar gliders are escape artists!
Since there are not cages specifically made for sugar gliders, most owners use bird flight cages. Cages intended for other animals often come with platforms and ramps, which are not necessary for sugar gliders and will only get in the way when your glider tries to glide or jump from one side of the cage to the other. If your cage comes with these, simply remove them.
Sugar gliders are extremely active, so a safe wheel for exercise is very important. Avoid the wheels with metal bars commonly found at pet stores, as these can injure your glider. Also, avoid enclosed wheels with a solid track, as these will accumulate feces and urine inside over time and can be extremely unsanitary. We use and recommend raptor wheels or stealth wheels. These wheels are only sold online, but are the best and safest choice for your sugar gliders. As you can see in the photo to the right, these wheels have a mesh track that allows waste to fall right through. As a bonus, these wheels are also completely silent!
Toys are another important item to have in your sugar glider's cage. Bird toys work very well. Sugar gliders especially enjoy foraging toys, which hold food for them to find. Toys that make noise are another favorite. Make sure that any toy you choose does not have small parts that could easily be swallowed, or strings that could catch on your glider's nails.
Sugar gliders enjoy sleeping in pouches. Fleece is the best material to use as it does not fray. Sugar gliders like to sleep together, so the pouch should be large enough to fit all of your gliders.
Many sellers will sell pouches in a set with multiple other items such as fleece hammocks and fleece vines. Fleece cage sets are a great, safe item for your sugar glider's cage.
If you have multiple sugar gliders, it is also a good idea to provide multiple food dishes and water bottles.
Feed your sugar glider at night, right around the time they wake up. Sugar gliders need a staple diet containing protein, along with fresh fruits and vegetables. The list below contains a few of the most commonly fed fruits and vegetables, but is not a complete list. Offer a variety of different foods from this list every night along with a staple diet.
We feed and recommend the HPW diet. For a list of other approved staple diets, see our list at the link to the right.
Pellets are not a suitable staple diet. The majority of pellet foods contain nothing but fillers and will not fulfill your sugar glider's nutritional needs. Pellets may be offered as a snack, but should never the main part of your sugar glider's diet.
Broccoli (Spears & Sprouts)
Cabbage (Green & Red)
Passion Fuit (Purple)
Avoid feeding onions, garlic, rhubarb, and raw lima beans, as these are toxic to sugar gliders.
Bonding & Handling
Sugar gliders bond by scent, so handle your sugar gliders every day and spend as much time with them as possible.
A zippered bonding pouch is a great tool for bonding as it allows you to carry your sugar gliders around without allowing them to run away. Simply carrying your sugar gliders around with you will strengthen your bond.
Playing with your sugar gliders in a glider-safe area will also help with bonding. Make sure the room is free of other pets, unsafe household items, and furniture that the glider could potentially hide behind. The bathroom is usually a good choice as most bathrooms are small enclosed areas without many places to hide.
When you first get your sugar gliders, they will be cautious and may not want to come to you right away. Do not grab a sugar glider, as this will scare them and can hurt the bonding process. Hold out your hand and allow the glider to come to you on its own terms. Offering treats will help them learn to trust you.
Some sugar gliders bond in as little as a week, and some can take years. It all depends on how much time and effort you put into it.
Sugar gliders are extremely clean little animals and will groom themselves. Do NOT give your sugar glider a bath. Bathing is not necessary and can actually be dangerous as sugar gliders are not good swimmers, and have a hard time regulating their body temperature when wet. If your sugar glider appears dirty, you can wipe them with a damp cloth.
Nail trims are generally recommended every 2 weeks, or sooner if needed. You can use nail trimmers made for pets or humans. Cut only the tips. If you cut too far you may hit the quick, which will cause bleeding. Luckily, sugar gliders have opaque nails, which makes it very easy to see how far to trim.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do they bite?
Any animal with teeth can bite. Generally, gliders are pretty good about not doing so.
- Do they smell?
Females and neutered males have no smell, but intact (not neutered) males do have an odor and will mark their cage.
- How long do they live?
Sugar gliders live about 10-15 years on average.
- Do they get along with other pets?
While sugar gliders can coexist in the same household as other pets, for safety reasons it is NOT recommended to allow them to interact with other animals.
- Do they need vaccinations?
No, they do not need vaccinations. However, yearly wellness exams are highly recommended.
- Do they make noise?
They can make a variety of noises, including barking, crabbing, and hissing.
- Can they be potty trained?
Unfortunately, no. They usually go potty right after waking up, so if you make sure they go potty in the cage before taking them out, they will be good for a few hours.
- Should I get more than one?
Absolutely! They are very social and need a companion. We offer a discount on adoptions of pairs.
Should I get a pair of boys, pair of girls, or a male/female pair?
All are great, just make sure that if you get males to neuter them. This is especially important for male/female pairs as they will breed. Breeding is not for beginners and should not be attempted without careful consideration. For this reason we require a non-breeding contract on all joeys.
- Can they play outside?
We do not recommend taking your sugar glider outside unless they are secured in a carrier or pouch. They can easily jump up a nearby tree and decide it is more fun to explore than come back to you. Sugar gliders are quick and difficult to catch. Although we occasionally take our gliders out with us while they sleep in our pocket, I would not try this until you have completely bonded with your glider and can trust that they will not come out.
- How much do they cost?
Prices start at $250 and go up to $1,000 depending on color, sex, age, and lineage. Click here for a detailed price list. All joeys go home with a free sleeping pouch, food sample, and treats.