Sugar Gliders: How to Care For Them

 In Exotic Pet

Sugar gliders have stolen the hearts of many animal lovers with their captivating appearance. Those large, black eyes peering out from a cloak of velvety-soft, striped fur are undeniably adorable. But beyond their cute looks lies a fascinating creature unlike your average mouse. In fact, sugar gliders aren’t rodents at all! These marsupials, hailing from the tropical rainforests of Australia and Indonesia, are distant relatives of kangaroos and koalas. Their most remarkable feature? A furry membrane stretching from their front to hind legs, allowing them to glide effortlessly between trees, much like a miniature flying squirrel.

While their affectionate nature, meticulous hygiene, and potential lifespan of 15 years are certainly appealing, it’s important to remember that sugar gliders are exotic pets with specific needs. Here’s a helpful guide to ensure your little glider thrives in your care:

Creating a Glider Paradise:

Sugar gliders are arboreal creatures, meaning they love to climb and explore. When selecting a habitat, bigger is definitely better! Aim for a cage at least 20″ x 20″ x 30″ tall. Bird cages can work well, but there are also specialized sugar glider cages available.

Now, let’s furnish their new home! Here are some essentials:

  • Bedding: Soft wood shavings or shredded paper provide a comfortable base for your glider to burrow and explore.
  • Hydration Station: A hanging water bottle ensures your glider has easy access to fresh water throughout the day.
  • Dinnerware: A flat-bottomed food dish attached to the cage side minimizes spills and promotes a tidy eating space.
  • Jungle Gym: Climbing branches are crucial for exercise and mental stimulation.
  • Entertainment Corner: Swinging toys, ladders, and bird toys keep your glider playful and engaged.
  • Cozy Corner: Provide a secure and quiet sleeping pouch or nesting box for your glider to retreat to when seeking rest.

Fueling Your Feathered Friend:

Sugar gliders, as their name suggests, have a sweet tooth. However, a balanced diet is key to their health. While replicating their exact rainforest diet might be tricky, you can provide a nutritious mix that keeps them happy and healthy:

  • Protein Power: A commercially prepared insectivore mix forms the foundation of their diet. Consult your veterinarian for recommendations on brands, serving sizes, and feeding schedules. Supplement this with occasional raw, unsalted nuts.
  • Sweet Treats: Sugar gliders enjoy a nectar mix, providing them with essential sugars and hydration.
  • Fresh Produce: Offer a variety of chopped fruits and vegetables like leafy greens, tomatoes, and carrots to add vitamins and fiber to their diet.
  • Supplement Savvy: Calcium deficiency is a common concern in domestic sugar gliders. Combat this by including a multivitamin containing calcium and vitamin D3 in their diet.
  • The Occasional Treat: Live insects like crickets and earthworms can be offered a few times a week for enrichment. Limit mealworms due to their high phosphorus content. Other acceptable treats include bee pollen, sweet fruits like grapes and melons, and lean, diced, unseasoned meat like chicken or turkey.

Expert Care at Andres-Straley Veterinary Hospital:

If you have questions about your sugar glider’s habitat, diet, or overall health, don’t hesitate to contact Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital. Our team of exotic pet specialists offers a wide range of services, including diagnostic testing in our in-house lab. While we can’t provide a rainforest for your sugar glider, we can ensure they receive the top-notch care they deserve to live a long and happy life by your side.