- Scientific Name: Petaurus breviceps
- Lifespan: Approximately 12 – 15 years.
- Handling: Any time after he/she gets use to you. He/she may bite or make a very loud noise if frightened. Once your sugar glider gets use to you, he/she will require human interaction with you.
- Size: About 5 – 7 inches, with their tail being an additional 5 -7 inches long.
- Care: Easy/Medium
- Community: Yes, it is recommended. Most sugar gliders should be kept in pairs to live a happy life. They are very sociable and will usually seek companionship if kept alone. If you are not a breeder, make sure to get a pair of the same gender to avoid problems later on. If getting two of the opposite sex, just make sure to neuter the male at your nearest vet. Sometimes, most pet stores have this already done for you so be sure to ask.
- Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.
Note: I will be explaining on how to take care of ‘sugar gliders’ rather than a ‘sugar glider’ due to the fact that most people will be housing multiple sugar gliders as it is recommended for the sake of the sugar gliders lifestyle.
There are a variety of enclosures out there for sugar gliders, but only a select few are made to house sugar gliders happily. Those are the BIG ONES! Sugar gliders may be small, but their enclosures shouldn’t be. They are so active at night that it would be cruel to keep them in such a confined space. Think of a squirrel. Think of how energetic, how fast, and how much room a squirrel takes up in the outdoors in a single day. You will rarely see a squirrel in once place just relaxing. They are always chasing one another, jumping from tree to tree, and using all the space they can. This is exactly how a sugar gliders are. So just think of it like this… The bigger, the better! No space is too large for a sugar glider.
Having that said, let’s talk about some enclosures. The best enclosures that suit them best are the multilevel barred cages. When choosing this type of enclosure, remember to get one with bars that are close together, to avoid escapes like in the picture below. The picture below shows what a nice sugar glider set-up should look like. This is just something to think about before getting your pair of sugar gliders. If you can not afford a setup like this, nor afford to put an enclosure this size in your house, then you should think twice about getting sugar gliders as pets. There’s plenty of cute animals out there that don’t need such large enclosures. Just find one that suits you best.
Minimum enclosure size : 36″x24″x18″
Most people have enclosures reaching 6 – 7 feet in height. Remember… THE BIGGER, THE BETTER!
Sugar Glider Cage, photo by Billy
The more, the better, but also give them room to roam around the enclosure to run and jump around. Things that you are going to want to include…
- Multiple ‘pouches’ where your sugar gliders will sleep in. Pouches should be spread out throughout the enclosure to allow for separate sleeping areas. In the picture above, we have 3. One pink one on the left hand side which they both love to sleep in everyday and two white ones on the right hand side. We also included an igloo on top of a soft bed which they love to run into when we come to see them.
- A wheel or two to exercise on. It is recommended to get a solid wheel, rather than a wired wheel to avoid their feet from getting caught in the wired bars. In the above picture, we have included two wheels, one on the top and one on the bottom of the enclosure. And believe me, they make use of them both!
- A few climbing materials to allow them to jump onto when running around the entire cage. Very often, we will see our sugar gliders doing back flips on the the soft material that you see on the top of our cage shaped in a “U”. They make use of everything that you put in the enclosure.
- Any other toys you think your sugar gliders will have fun using. But make sure to get ‘toys’ made specially for sugar gliders.
A few things you may want to know…
- Sugar gliders will pee on everything, no matter what it is. It is recommended to wash things out at least once every two weeks to avoid bacteria build up. When washing things out, make sure the materials are free of any soap. Make sure to clean thoroughly.
- The bottom tray should be cleaned out weekly or a pile of food and poop will start to build fast.
- Yes their pee is a smells bad, but if you keep the enclosure cleaned as mentioned above, you will cut the smell to a minimum. I assure you it will get really bad if you become lazy and lay off cleaning for a while.
- Make sure to get a carrying pouch or case to put your sugar gliders into while you’re cleaning their enclosure.
Temperatures should stay between 64 – 86 °F. It is necessary to keep these temperatures accurate to avoid any stress. If you cannot maintain these temperatures naturally because it is too cold, try using a ceramic heat emitter or red heat bulb for night time, and a heat lamp for the day time. Up the wattage if the temps are still not getting reached. However, most houses reach these temperatures naturally, not having you to buy any lighting or heating.
Your sugar gliders will eat a variety of foods consisting of fruits, vegetables, and insects (protein). Variety is key! You are also going to want to keep a premixed food specially made for sugar gliders in the enclosure at all times. Most of the time, sugar gliders will eat their main course for that day which will be your fruit, vegetable, or insect(s) and will just munch on the premixed food throughout the rest of the night. All feedings should be at night when they are staring to wake up. If you insert the fresh fruit and vegetables in the morning for them to eat at night, I assure you it will not be fresh when they get to it at night.
Fruits and Veggies – feed every other day throughout the week. Make sure to give one piece of whatever your feeding to each sugar glider directly to ensure that each one them are at least eating a piece of whatever your serving.
Note: All fruits should be fed without seeds. The amount that should be fed should be about half of an apples size. Make sure to get rid of any uneaten food the next morning. If you see that all the fresh fruit/vegetable has been eaten, feed a little more the next time. If you see that a lot is left over, feed a little less.
Silkworms : 3-4 medium, or 1-2 large per sugar glider
Crickets : 3-5 per sugar glider
Mealworms : 10-12 small, 7-10 medium, or 3-5 large per sugar glider
Grasshoppers : 1 per sugar gliders
(For Joeys/Baby sugar gliders) Gerber chicken baby food mixed with applesauce or sweet potatoes
Note: You should have a bowl in the enclosure to put all your insects into to avoid escapes. A normal dish, will just allow escapes for your insects. If your insect can jump or climb, crush the heads on your insects so their half dead (still moving) so your sugar gliders can get to them easily. Make sure that you see each sugar glider eating their fair share of insects. You do not want one being left hungry.
Water must always be available to your sugar gliders 24/7. A glass water bottle made specially for small animals is the best route to go because most small rodents will chew right through the plastic ones. Make sure to clean out and replace the water weekly to avoid bacteria build up. Make sure to check the water levels every other day to re-assure that there is still water available to drink. Some days it will be full, others it will be all gone. You do not want your sugar gliders becoming dehydrated. Remember, they are very active which means they will drink a lot.
Newspaper is the best option to go with as most sugar gliders will try to reach for the bedding to try and eat it. Do not use any of the scented substrates, because the odds are, your sugar gliders will somehow get to it and start eating it, which will then be very toxic for them and can lead to sickness.
Note: The information on this sugar glider care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care.