by Jessica Drew
Sugar gliders are considered exotic animals and over the last few years have become popular pets in the US. Sugar gliders can make a wonderful companion for the right person, but others should avoid keeping a sugar glider as a pet. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering acquiring a sugar glider as a new pet.
Sugar Gliders: Basic Info
- Sugar gliders are native to Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea and are marsupials, meaning they live in their mother’s pouch when very young, like koala bears.
- Sugar gliders have flaps of skin between their wrists and ankles, which allow them to glide from tree to tree.
- Wild sugar gliders live in groups in forests and are extremely social creatures.
- The lifespan of a sugar glider is 12 to 14 years.
- Sugar gliders are omnivores; meaning they eat both plants and meat, but must adhere to strict, balanced diets. Owners of sugar gliders who do not know how to properly care for their new pet can deprive a sugar glider of calcium, which leads to a paralysis disorder in sugar gliders.
- In general, sugar gliders cannot be house trained.
- Domesticated sugar gliders will need at minimum a cage to live in that is 24 inches wide by 24 inches long and 36 inches high.
- Inside their cage sugar gliders will need several toys and things they can climb such as ropes and ladders.
- Sugar gliders should ideally be acquired in pairs, since they are such social creatures.
Who Should Get A Sugar Glider
Responsible adults who have the time to devote a substantial amount of attention to their sugar glider are good candidates for providing a domesticated sugar glider with a happy home. Since sugar gliders are highly social, they easily bond with humans, but they need a lot of attention to thrive. Sugar gliders thoroughly enjoy being carried around in their owner’s shirt pocket for the greater part of the day since they crave the companionship so much. If sugar gliders are neglected and do not have much contact with their owner, they can actually die. Even if you get two sugar gliders together, an owner will still need to give both gliders a lot of attention on a daily basis.
Adults considering a sugar glider as a pet should also be aware they will need to clean a cage at least once a week and pay close attention to their sugar glider’s strict diet and health. Adults who work very, very long hours and are gone the vast majority of the day should not get a sugar glider.
Sugar Gliders Are Not Good Pets For Young Kids
Sugar gliders as pets for young children are a bad idea for a few reasons;
-Sugar gliders are small and fragile, young children usually do not yet have the sensibilities to handle sugar gliders in a fashion that is gentle enough.
-Sugar gliders have very sharp claws and teeth. Sugar gliders that have not been previously owned and domesticated scratch their new owners a lot, although not intentionally. Sugar gliders are not aggressive, but will use their sharp teeth to inflict painful bite wounds if they feel threatened, such as if a young child handles them too roughly.
-Sugar gliders need daily social interaction to live and young children with wayward attention spans cannot usually give this type companionship to a sugar glider.
Older, responsible children can make good caregivers to sugar gliders with the help of their parents.
Jessica Drew is a freelance writer and pet enthusiast who writes interesting tidbits about pets, lifestyles, student loans, cheap flights and just about anything she finds intriguing.