Caring for a Sugar Glider: Sugar gliders are nocturnal marsupials that make unusual and rewarding family pets. They are communicative animals that bond closely with their human caretakers. They need considerable social interaction and ideally another sugar glider for company. Given appropriate care and handling, sugar gliders can live up to 12 years.
General: A sugar glider can be easily handled once it learns to trust you. When it has gained confidence through gentle daily contact, your sugar glider will enjoy being cuddled and petted, and you can even carry it around in your shirt pocket. Children should always be supervised when holding a sugar glider, they are fragile and care must be taken to prevent falls or rough handling.
Housing: A cage for one Sugar Glider should be at least 20 in x 20 in x 36 in high. Choose a cage with metal mesh no larger than 1 in x 1/2 in, a solid floor and a securely latching door. Fix a nesting box up high in the cage so your sugar glider can sleep in the daytime, away from sunlight. Place the cage in a draft free area of between70-90 deg. F. Cover the floor of the cage with bedding such as dry moss, leaves from a live branch, or Aspen shavings, rather than pine or cedar shavings which contain harmful oils. Your pet will enjoy live branches to climb on and chew, but avoid Almond, Apricot, Black Walnut, Cherry, and Peach as they are toxic.
A healthy diet is based on 75% fresh fruits and vegetables and 25% protein. Good choices include: apples, apricots, bananas, berries, carrots, corn, grapes, melons, peaches, plums and pears. Eggs (boiled or scrambled), mealworms, crickets, low fat turkey and boiled and skinned chicken are good sources of protein. Fresh water should always be available in a sipper bottle.
Cleaning: Remove soiled areas daily and change the bedding weekly. Wash food dishes, water bottles and the cage bottom weekly. Always rinse and dry the cage well before returning your pets.
Fertility: Females reach sexual maturity before one year of age and males early in their second year. It is possible to have male Sugar Gliders neutered by an experienced exotics veterinarian, to avoid unwanted babies.
Find a veterinarian with experience in treating Sugar Gliders and be alert for signs of illness or injury such as: lack of appetite; changes in droppings; noisy breathing, sneezing or wheezing; discharge from eyes or nose; diarrhea; lethargy; excessive scratching; bald patches or unkempt fur or difficulty using hind legs.
Warnings: Prolonged exposure to sunlight can be fatal to Sugar Gliders.
Sugar Gliders, by Caroline MacPherson. Barron's.
International Sugar Glider Association: www.isga.org