Sugar Glider

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(144 Reviews)

Other name(s): Suggie; Sugar Bear

Scientific name: Petaurus breviceps

The basics:
The notion that a small, nocturnal, gliding marsupial would take the exotic pet trade by storm might seem bizarre, but that is just what the Sugar Glider has done. Once relatively unknown outside of its native range, this sociable little creature makes a great choice those seeking a hardy, friendly, small mammal companion.

Sugar Gliders are native to northern and eastern Australia, Papua Guinea and nearby islands. They have been introduced to Tasmania. Five related species (the Flying Phalangers) are known. Inhabitants of wet and dry forests and overgrown agricultural land, they are highly arboreal and rarely descend to the ground.

Appearance / health:
Sugar Gliders measure 11-12 inches in length (with tail) and tip the scales at 4-6 ounces. They are attractively clad in black-edged blue-gray or brownish-gray, and sport white underparts. A unique skin membrane (the patagium) between the front and hind limbs allow these little acrobats to glide for over 200 feet following a single leap.

The average lifespan is 10-15 years. With proper care, Sugar Gliders remain remarkably healthy. Ailments associated with improper nutrition (calcium deficiency, obesity) are the most common concerns. Periodic veterinarian exams, including checks of the nails and teeth, are necessary.

Behavior / temperament:
Sugar Glider personalities vary, but they are by nature very social, and often transfer those tendencies to their owners. If habituated to people at age 7-12 weeks, most enjoy and will seek out human contact. They are nocturnal, but awaken early in the evening, and are then very active, and eager to explore. New owners should seek advice on proper handling, as Sugar Gliders will bite when distressed.

Single animals need a great deal of human contact if they are to thrive. Same sex or neutered pairs or groups are preferable.

A multi-level commercial wire Sugar Glider cage or custom/homemade enclosure of at least 3x3x4 feet (L x W x H), but preferably larger, feet (but preferably larger) makes a good home. Frequent exercise time in a Sugar Glider-safe room is appreciated. The cage should be furnished with ropes, toys, an exercise wheel, and secure nest box. Aspen or other hardwood shavings may be used on the cage bottom.

Sugar Gliders tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but are best kept at 75-80 F. A ceramic heater or black/red reptile night bulb can be used to provide heat if needed.

A variety of diets have proven useful. A dry commercial Sugar Glider diet should be available round-the-clock. Some owners use this as the main source of nutrition, supplemented by small offerings of fruit, vegetables and a protein source. Others provide diets comprised of dry food, 40-50 % protein (crickets, mealworms, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, chicken baby food) and a daily piece of apple, yam, or other produce. Vitamin/mineral supplements should be used per manufacturer’s recommendation. Water is best provided via metal-tubed bottle.

Sexual maturity is reached by age 8-10 months, but breeding is best forestalled until age 12-14 months. Female Sugar Gliders may produce up to 4 litters of 1-2 “joeys” per year, but should be limited to 1-2 litters. The young are born 16 days after mating, emerge from their mother’s pouch at age 70-80 days, and are weaned at age 4 months.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


energetic, cuddle, rewarding challenge, nice bonding experience, sweet little creatures


large cage, mild skunky smell, liquid glider excrete, painful bites, specialized diet, sharp shriek


bark, little pouches, nocturnal animal, fresh fruit everyday, daily outofcage time

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