Sugar gliders are part squirrel, part hang glider—and all the way adorable. These inquisitive and energetic animals are increasingly popular as pets.
What is a sugar glider?
Sugar gliders are originally from the tropical forests of Australia and Southeast Asia, where they soar from tree to tree using a specialized flap connecting their front and hind legs. They have a super soft, thick coat that is accented with a black stripe that runs the length of their body.
Like many small tree-dwelling marsupials, sugar gliders live nocturnal lives, and have large eyes for seeing in the low light.
Fun facts about sugar gliders
Sugar gliders are marsupials, like koalas and kangaroos
They can glide up to 148 feet
In the wild, sugar gliders live in large colonies of 20 to 40 individuals
Male sugar gliders have a bald spot on their head that is actually a scent gland
Sugar gliders as pets
Sugar gliders are very social animals that can bond closely with human families if given the right enrichment and socialization. Gliders can be highly vocal at times, and live up to 15 years, so they’re best cared for by dedicated pet parents.
In the wild, sugar gliders live in the forest canopy. To recreate this natural habitat, many glider parents invest in tall bird cages that are fitted with places for their gliders to climb, explore and hide out. These enclosures shouldn’t have vertical bars—which can cause injury—and should be equipped with natural plants and branches that can be chewed safely.
Gliders need enrichment to keep them happy and healthy. A selection of shelves, swings, running wheels and bird toys that can be rearranged from time to time will give them the stimulus and exercise they need. Gliders also require a good amount of privacy and rest, so be sure to provide nest boxes and poches for safety and comfort. Keep your glider enclosure away from bright sunlight, which can result in eye damage.
Caring for sugar gliders
A sugar glider’s diet should be highly varied in order for them to thrive. Captive sugar gliders may receive commercially available glider-specific pellets and nectar supplements. In addition, they should receive fresh fruits, vegetables and insects. Talk to your veterinarian about creating a diet for your pet’s needs.
Finally, sugar gliders need a warm environment to stay healthy. Your glider enclosure should stay around 75-90° F and should never drop below 70° F at night. Many owners will provide additional heat sources during winter months to meet their glider’s heat needs.
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