So we went to the inhome consult and met the 6 little Sugar Gliders and oh my gosh they are fascinating to watch. The owners are very committed to taking care of these little animals and that commitment and dedication is important when deciding to take care of an exotic animal.
This got me thinking about whether Sugar Gliders would make good pets for anyone. So, if you are trying to decide whether a Sugar Glider is right for your family or not, here are some things you should know before bringing home a Sugar Glider. Always do your research first before bringing home any new pet.
- Sugar Gliders are not legal to own everywhere so before purchasing, make sure it is legal to have them in your home.
- Sugar gliders are very playful, entertaining pets. They are very social, and ideally they should be kept in pairs or groups, and they should have a good deal of social interaction with their owners.
- They are fairly clean and do not have complex housing requirements. They can live to be 12-14 years in captivity so make sure you are committed to taking care of them for the rest of their lives.
- They do need a good amount of interaction (even if it is just riding around in a pocket all day), and aren't great housetraining candidates.
- Their nails are sharp and will scratch if they need to dig in while climbing or landing on you so keeping them well trimmed is a good idea.
- They do have sharp teeth and though they are not aggressive, will bite if they feel threatened or frightened. If your new Sugar Glider is not already tamed and used to be handled, it may take a great deal of time and patience to get them to the point where they are cuddly. When they do bite, it is very important that you DO NOT flinch or move your hand away. It is important that you actually "take the bite". Eventually the biting will stop once your Sugar Glider realizes that biting you is not scaring you.
- Gentle and frequent training sessions will eventually allow bonding of the glider to its owner. Gliders adore being near their owners, inside a shirt (hint wear two shirts and let the glider hang out between them, or else their claws will tickle or scratch!) or in a pocket. They will become great companions, who view you as an equal. Sugar gliders do not respond at all to punishment or domination, so treat them with respect, gentleness and understanding, and you will be rewarded with a devoted companion!
- Sugar Gliders do have fairly strict dietary requirements. Make sure you get information from the breeder about the recommended diet for your Sugar Glider. A potential problem in sugar gliders is paralysis stemming from an imbalance of calcium to phosphorus in the diet (i.e. too low in calcium and/or high in phosphorus). This disease (called nutritional osteodystrophy) can be prevented by proper diet and vitamin/mineral supplements.
- As for housing your new friends, a cage of 24 by 24 inches, by 36 inches high is a good minimum size for a pair. This is a minimum, though - bigger is better and for sugar gliders the height is more valuable than floor space. The cage wire should be no more than 1/2 inch wide, and horizontal cage bars allow climbing. The interior of the cage should provide lots of interest with toys, and exercise wheel, nest box and/or glider pouches. Branches, ropes and ladders provide lots of opportunity for climbing and exercise.