Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Do Sugar Gliders Make Good Pets

Do Sugar Gliders Make Good Pets
There are many things to take into consideration when trying to decide on getting a pet and what kind of pet works best for you and your lifestyle. Owning a pet brings several added responsibilities into your life. Feeding, grooming, walking, and attention are all things to consider before diving into being a pet owner. Pets are a lot more than a fashion accessory.

One animal that not a lot of people consider when choosing a pet is the sugar glider. Sugar gliders are considered an exotic pet but they are very social and tend to bond tightly to their owners. Glider owners often carry their pets in a pocket or bonding pouch, as well.

That all sounds great but what, exactly, is a sugar glider?

A glider is a marsupial. After birth, they are vulnerable and very dependent on their mothers. They spend most of their time inside their mother's pouch during this time.

They have opposing thumbs which they use to grasp branches and anything else they can climb on. Gliders love to climb and will need vertical space inside of a cage to do so.

From their wrists to their ankles stretches skin, or pantagium, which is used as their glider in the wild. They are often seen gliding from tree to tree in their natural habitat. However, this pantagium is very flexible and allows for normal walking and climbing.

Sugar gliders are native to Indonesia, Australia, and Pap New Guinea. A full grown glider has a body around six inches long and a tail that is also about six inches long. An adult glider weighs about 5 ounces. Their lifespan in captivity is from ten to fifteen years. They are also nocturnal so they will sleep most of the daytime.

Sugar gliders are very sociable. If you have time to give them ample attention they will do very well. If you don't have constant attention to spare you might consider buying gliders in pairs. Be aware that pairs of the opposite sex that are not neutered will procreate rapidly, though.

Gliders make great pets and are quite easy to care for. With the right person they provide the perfect companion.

The author invites you to visit:

Sugar Gliders: Tiny Acrobats

Sugar Gliders: Tiny Acrobats
In the last decade or so, the popularity of sugar gliders as pets has grown considerably. The small size of these furry acrobats, their personalities, their plush fur, their large eyes, their agility and their ability to bond closely with humans have attracted legions of new sugar glider devotees.

What is a sugar glider and where did they originally come from? Sugar gliders are small marsupials and members of the possum family. They are found in Australia, Tasmania, Indonesia, and New Guinea. Their scientific name is Petaurus breviceps. Most sugar gliders these days are captive-bred and not wild-caught.

Like their larger marsupial cousins, kangaroos, sugar gliders have a pouch where their infants grow and develop. Their young are called "joeys," as are the young of kangaroos. You may come across the term OOP while researching sugar gliders on the internet. OOP means "out-of-pouch" and it indicates how long the joey has been completely out of his mother's pouch. Joeys are ready to go to a new home at approximately 8 weeks OOP.

Sugar gliders are approximately chipmunk-sized, measuring about 9 to 12 inches long (including their long tail), and they weigh about 3 to 6 ounces as adults. Their normal color is steel gray to brownish with a black stripe down the back, but selective breeding in captivity has brought out other color variations, including albinos. In captivity, they can live as long as 15 years, although 8 to 12 years is more usual.

Learn more at:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Health Concerns


Blindness / Cataracts

In another article in the August 1994 issue of Exotic Market Review Linda Watkins told about her discovery that overweight mothers can produce offspring that have white eyes, or white spots "floating" in their eyes. The ones with white eyes were completely blind. Her vet determined that the white was fat buildup, and she felt it is probably due to too much fat in the mother's diet.
In a July 1995 article she also talked about babies born with "white" (no black tip) tails. For some reason, these babies seemed to develop cataracts when they get older. Linda found that feeding the parents diluted (half water) carrot juice every day until the baby was weaned seemed to help prevent the cataracts from developing. The babies were given the carrot juice until at least a month after weaning.

UPDATE : There are subspecies of gliders (Petaurus breviceps ariel, I believe) that have white-tipped tails. I doubt it was really linked to blindness, more likely her gliders had some ariel bloodlines!

I've seen paintings of three subspecies, in an old old book owned by another breeder. One of them was more tan in color, with yellowish undersides, and one had white-tipped tails. The third looked more like the gliders we have. My friend was so intrigued when she first saw the book that she actually traveled to Indonesia to see the gliders there. She told me she saw many different subspecies of sugar gliders. Ours are probably a mixture, so it's not surprising that oddities like white-tipped tails and tan gliders crop up once in a while.

Picture By : hamsteronline.com



You will find that gliders do not offend the nose like other small pets such as hamsters or gerbils. They do have their own distinctive scents, but usually these are very faint and you won't even smell them unless you are right up next to the cage.
NOTE : If your gliders smell bad there may be a problem with their diet. If you overfeed them vitamin supplements, for example, their urine will develop a very strong odor and even daily scrubbing of their cage and all accessories won't keep it under control. Try cutting out all vitamin supplements completely; the smell should disappear within a couple of days. Then add the supplements back gradually until you determine how much you can give without making them smell bad.

Male sugar gliders have a scent gland in the middle of the top of their head, which causes the typical bald spot in the center of the wide part of the black stripe there. Another gland is located in the middle of their chest. A third gland, an anal one, is shared by males and females alike. The females also have a scent gland in their pouch. The male's forehead and chest glands are used in marking his territory and his mates with his scent. Gliders produce at least three distinct odors. One is a sweet, flowery smell; another I don't know how to describe, but it is not really offensive. It can get relatively strong at times, when they are breeding, but after a few days it dies away again. The third is a pungent smell that is produced by the anal gland when a glider is afraid.

Gliders use urine to mark their territory, so you will need to clean their cages and furnishings periodically. Otherwise though, they are very clean little animals. See the housing section for more on the topic of cages.

Picture By : hamsteronline.com
Article By : http://www.sugarglider.com/archives/ruth/scent.html

Emergency Information


If your sugar glider is exhibiting any of the following, get to a veterinarian experienced in treating sugar gliders right away -- if you are unsure, take the glider to a vet. Lethargy, head hanging, ears down, severe shaking, weakness, not drinking, not eating, falling over, diarrhea, seizures, vomiting, sores, bleeding, hair loss, excessive sneezing. NOTE : It is very important that you take your sugar glider to a veterinarian experienced in treating sugar gliders. For instance, an IV should only be inserted subcutaneously. This is done by inserting the iv needle just under the skin usually on the back near the neck. Do not allow an emergency vet to attempt insertion of an IV directly into a sugar glider's vein.

Picture By : hamsteronline.com
Article By : http://www.affinitysugargliders.com/page15.html



Yes, you can train your Sugar Glider in a couple different ways, to a certain extent. First of all, decide if you want a pet that stays on you at all times or, one that will freely roam your house. Once you have made this decision, you can begin training. If you want a personal Glider, you need to teach them to stay on your person. As you carry them around they may jump off. Gently pick them up and put them back on you or in a pocket until they settle down. It is ok to let them jump from person to person but not on the floor where they can run away from you. If you want one as a house pet, start in one small room and let him explore. Try to lure him back with treats and then let him continue to check out the room. After you have mastered the small room and feel comfortable calling him back, move on to a larger area. After awhile your pet will run off and explore, climb curtains, jump on you, and then take off again to play! I do not suggest in any way that these animals should have complete freedom in your house. They do need to be SUPERVISED AT ALL TIMES when out of their cage.

NOTE : Make sure that your toilet lid and any other water holding devise is closed! I know of some Sugar Gliders that have drowned in an open toilet by jumping in and not being able to get out!

Picture By : hamsteronline.com
Article By : http://www.animalsexotique.com/sugargliders.html

Monday, November 12, 2007

Female Sugar Glider Anatomy


The Pouch

Female Gliders have a ventral abdominal pouch that opens forward. There are 4 teats in the pouch, but most females usually only give birth to 1 or 2 babys (2 being the most common). After a gestation period of 15-17 days, a female Glider will give birth to tiny embryonic offspring (about 5mm long). After making the trip to the pouch, the tiny embryonic offspring will remain inside the pouch for 60-70 days, where they will continue to develop and grow. Once OOP (out of pouch, after the 60-70 days...) the joey will continue to nurse and grow untill it can safely be weaned. (It is highly recommended that a joey is weaned no sooner than 8 weeks OOP.)

Female Privates

Both Males & Females have a Cloaca in which the reproductive, urinary, and gastrointestinal tracts open. (Meaning - (to put it bluntly :-) They use the same hole to urinate/deficate, have sex, and give birth.)

General Female Info

Weight - 3.5-5 oz (Average adult weight, although some are lighter/heavier.)
Body Length - 6-8 in.
Tail Length - 6-8 in.
Sexual Maturity - 8-15 months (although it could be a little sooner or later)
Heart Rate - 200-300 Beats per minute
Respiratory Rate - 16-40 Breaths per minute
Rectal Temperature - 97.2 F
Scent Glands - Paracloacal (alongside the cloaca), pouch, surface of the paws, corners of the mouth, inside surface of the external ear. Life Span- 5-7 Years in the wild. Up to 15 Years in captivity. * Both Males & Females have a Cloaca in which the reproductive, urinary, and gastrointestinal tracts open. (Meaning - (to put it bluntly :-) They use the same hole to urinate/deficate, have sex, and give birth.)

Picture By :
Article By : donovanssugargliders.com

Male Sugar Glider Anatomy


Head Scent Gland

Alot of people refer to the Head Scent Gland as "The Bald spot", it is not really a "bald spot", they actually do have a full head of hair,errr um, fur. The scent gland that is present on the top of the head produces an oily substance that slicks down a little patch of hair where the scent gland is, creating that handsome balding look. ;-) The Male Head Scent Gland, one of a few scent glands, develops during puberty. Theywill rub their head all over whatever they think should belong to them. :-) (marking) Soif you get "rubbed", its a good thing! The Head Scent Gland (as well as the Chest ScentGland) will disappear and be hardly/not noticeable at all after a male Glider getsneutered. (Neutering also cuts down on the smell- Males do tend to be a little smellierthan the females.) * Sometimes the Head may appear to get a little crusty or yucky from the buildup of oils from the scent gland. If this should happen, you can take a soft clean cloth or Q-tip and dip it in warm water and gently clean the buildup from the scent gland :)

Chest Scent Gland

The Male Chest Scent Gland, one of a few scent glands, develops during puberty. They will rub their chest all over whatever they think should belong to them. :-) (marking) So if you get "rubbed", its a good thing! The Chest Scent Gland (as well as the Head Scent Gland) will disappear and be hardly/not noticeable at all after a male Glider gets neutered. (Neutering also cuts down on the smell- Males do tend to be a little smellier than the females.)

Male Privates

The Male Glider has a long bifurcated penis...meaning- the tip of the penis is split in two or forked. (So no, your glider's penis is not mangled or disfigured, it is very normal. :-) At times the male will let his penis hang out pretty far and some have even seen what appears to be their Gliders, Ummm, weeell, flossing their teeth with it!!?!! (both of which are very normal) When a male Glider is relaxed the scrotum can hang down further appearing as though the testicles are barely attached by a tiny amount of skin. (this too is normal) If for some reason you see that your Gliders penis is NOT retracting (going back in) for a long period of time, then you can use a water soluble lubricant (IE: KY Jelly, etc...) to keep it moistened until you get them to the vet soon for a check. :-) * Both Males & Females have a Cloaca in which the reproductive, urinary, andgastrointestinal tracts open. (Meaning - (to put it bluntly :-) They use the same hole to urinate/deficate, have sex, and give birth.)

General Male Info

Weight - 4-5 oz (Average adult weight, although some are lighter/heavier.)
Body Length - 6-8 in.
Tail Length - 6-8 in.
Sexual Maturity - 8-15 months (although it could be a little sooner or later)
Heart Rate - 200-300 Beats per minute
Respiritory Rate - 16-40 Breaths per minute
Rectal Temperature - 97.2 F
Scent Glands - Paracloacal (alongside the cloaca), forehead, sternal (chest), surface of the paws, corners of the mouth, inside surface of the external ear.
Life Span - 4-5 Years in the wild. Up to 15 Years in captivity. * Both Males & Females have a Cloaca in which the reproductive, urinary, and gastrointestinal tracts open. (Meaning - (to put it bluntly :-) They use the same hole to urinate/deficate, have sex, and give birth.)

Picture By :
Article By : donovanssugargliders.com

Sugar Gliders Anatomy


Glider ears...Like two little radar dishes perched on either side of the head. Glider shave amazing hearing and can often hear things we can not. Don't be surprised if you hear your Glider barking at night, and think they must be crazy because you cant find any good reason for such racket, they might be trying to tell/warn you all about a noise they hear in the distance! :-) (Other barking reasons- wants attention, warnings, hungry, scared). Gliders tell alot with their ears...for instance: Sticking straight up happy/playful/ALERT, cocked in a certain direction - listening intently to a noise comming from a certain direction, layed/slicked back against the head - stealth / or reeeally alert mode, laying down or drooped - sleepy/waking/ill...etc...etc... You gotta' love those little radar dishes perched on their fuzzy little heads! So when you hear them bark in the middle of the night over some noise they hear in the distance, while your trying like mad to catch some Zzzzz's... go whisper to them that you love them and tell them how much you love their little ears. ;-) *If you notice your Glider/s pawing/itching their ears alot, or shaking their head alot, and you also notice tiny white moving flecks in their ears/fur, they may have Mites. A vet can easily diagnose and treat Mites. (If their exhibiting any of the above mentioned behaviors frequently... a Vet check-up might be good. ;-)


Those big beautiful deep dark brown eyes...who can resist their bug-eyed look! Gliders have avascular retinae, with only a small residual tuft of fluoresceinimpermeablevessels projecting from the optic disc into the vitreous, suggesting superior night vision.Due to the number of rods and cones in the eye, the Sugar Glider only sees in shades of greys (like an old black & white movie) and the color red. *Eyes should always be bright, sparkly and clear.... There should never be a discharge or they shouldn't look dull. If you notice any change in their eyes...have a vet check it out. (I have heard of several Gliders that are completely blind :-( , due to one reason or another (ie: genetics, diet, accidents...), and they get around just fine, are very happy and healthy, and some even live quite happily with a cagemate and even have little fur-babys of their very own...and they do just fine with life. Gliders really are amazing creatures! These Gliders I hear, have some very special Humans (owners) who take extra special care to make sure their lives are as comfortable and happy as possible, by making their cage/home easy to navigate, by leaving it the same for the most part, so that their blind little buddy can remember where things are. ;-) (they also know too that change is important for stimulation, even if the Glider cant see... so, they change things around...but only a little bit at a time.) In situations like this where the Glider is blind, if treated properly, they dovery well and learn rather quickly to adapt, using all their other senses (smell, taste, touch, sound...)... they can still be very good little friends/petseven though they have a slight handicap! ;-) (Someone once said to me "what would be the use of a blind Glider?"... ???)


Ahhhhh, the Nose knows.... :-) Gliders have an extremely acute sense of smell, and smells are extremely important to a Glider! A glider will go around marking everything that he/she thinks belongs to them...so that any other Gliders nearby will realize what evers marked is taken...so Stay Away, unless they smell the same! * If you ever notice your Glider has a runny nose or is sneezing frequently (not grooming, but actually sneezing with no grooming) then you might want to get him/her to a vet, especially if their acting ANY differently, it is possible for a Glider to catch a cold.

Teeth & Tongue

The Sugar Glider uses its sharp incisor teeth to gouge holes in trees to expose the sugary sap and uses its tongue to lap nectar from blossoms. The Glider has 40 teeth, and unlike rodents, Gliders teeth do not continue to grow. Gliders are sap suckers by nature. (They will chew/suck the good stuff out of their food and spit out the rest. If you watch them eat, you will see them do this, its perfectly normal. :-)

Lips & Smiles

Ok, I couldn't help it, had to have a lip and smile page. I mean really, have you ever looked at your Glider and thought "My gosh! Would you look at that! Their smiling!" If you have any "smiles" on camera that you'd like to share send them to me!I'd love to put them up for everyone to see! Lips are for KISSING


Gliders have a beautiful grey coat with dark interesting markings. Their fur is extremely soft and silky feeling (comparable to a Chinchilla or a Bunny Rabbit.) (Gliders do come in a few different coat colors... Blondes, Cinnamons, Platinums (silvery color), & Albinos....) * Gliders do not need to be bathed. They usually do an excellent job of keeping themselves groomed and clean. If for some reason however, your Glider has something in/on the fur that they don't seem to be able to clean, or for some reason there is an accident and your Glider needs to be cleaned, you can take a washcloth or q-tip dipped in comfortably warm water, and gently rub the areas that need cleaning. When your done, make sure you bundle your little Furry friend up in a warm blankie/pouch and pat/rub them dry a little. Keep them warm and cozy until dry! :-)


A Glider's furry tail helps it balance when gliding and climbing. Its weakly prehensile- meaning it is capable of grasping and carrying nesting materials curled up in its tail. Most Glider tails are equal to or a little longer than the length of their body.


I only trim my little ones nails when I see that they are getting hung up or snagged on something, and then I watch and only trim the nails I see getting snagged/stuck. I figure if the other nails don't getting snagged, then don't worry about it. (If it ain't broke, don't fix it!) I do take a quick look at their nails regularly, just to make sure none are too long. They can get so long that they curl around back into the toe, and can be quite painful for the Glider. Usually I can just give my fuzzys a treat and they will sit still long enough for me to quickly but carefully trim the nail/nails. Sometimes you may have to hold a glider still for few a seconds while you clip the nail/nails, sometimes two people help make it easier, or gently wrapping the Glider in a towel with the head covered, and gently pull out one hand/foot at a time. (make sure and give lots of affection and a treat or two afterwards!)

Trimming Nails

look carefully at the nail. You can see where the quick is...the pink area of the nail. At the very very tip of the nail/nails clip off a tiny bit where its white/clear (I usebaby nail clippers.). Be sure and AVOID cutting into the quick (pink area), it will bepainful and bleed. Its good to have some Styptic Powder (available at most big pet stores,drugstores, etc...) on hand in case you accidentally cut to far and it bleeds. If you do nothave access to Styptic powder, applying flour or mud (from a clean area outside) willwork in an emergency. The point is to stop the bleeding. *If you are afraid to trim the nails yourself, most vets are willing to trim them for a very reasonable price, and they can show you how. This is a good option if the Glider is hard to work with and your afraid to get bit.:-)

Patagium/Gliding Membrane
  1. Leap... The sugar Glider leaps from a branch, thrust by its hind legs. As it does, the gliding membranes spread out to support it.

  2. Glide... By altering the shape and tension of the membranes and angle of its tail, it is able to adjust the flow of air and steer a course.

  3. Swoop... About 10' from its target and a split second before landing on the tree trunk, the Sugar Glider swoops upward to slow down.

  4. Touchdown... It makes a fourpoint landing on the tree trunk, sinking claws into the bark to avoid being bounced off by the forceful impact.

Picture By : hamsteronline.com
Article By : donovanssugargliders.com

What Sugar gliders will need


1. Proper cage

should be at least 2x2x3 and should be taller than long. The larger the cage, the better. The cage should be constructed of vinyl or plastic coated wire with spacing no more than 1/2" between wires. The larger the cage the better. Always go for higher than wider. Don't purchase an aquarium to house your sugar glider (no place for them to hold on to the glass -- hard to hang toys).

2. Water Bottle (2)

You can use a gravity ball type.

3. An exercise wheel

I use Stealth and Wodent Wheels. However, there are several other safe exercise wheels out there. Please make sure you do not use a classic hamster wheel with a cross bar, as your glider's tail or worse may be caught in the cross bar resulting in injury or death.

4. Food dishes

There is a wide range of food dishes. You may use dishes that hook up high on the cage, but I prefer to feed out of plastic or ceramic cat dishes or similar low profile dishes on the bottom of the cage. Your glider will tend to sit on the edge of their dish to eat and it shouldn't tip.

5. Juice crock

I always provide a crock of diluted apple juice or Gliderade, or Gatorade with each meal. Again make sure they won't tip.

6. Pouches

You will need a fleece (or some other soft material) pouch or plastic box or tub for your glider to sleep in as well as a bonding pouch. Gliders love pouches and plastic nesting boxes where they can hide and sleep during the day. Always check your pouches for loose strings that can entangle and injure a sugar glider. If you don't get an immediate response, e-mail me directly as her computer goes down sometimes.

7. Toys, toys, toys!

Sugar gliders are intelligent little animals and they need stimulation. Your glider will grow to love you and play with you, but they still need toys to play with when you are not with them. Bird toys make great sugar glider toys, so do plastic baby chains and plastic vines. (Plastic vines from dollar store work well as long as there are no wires) Check out my "Valuable Links" page for more information on toys.

8. What you absolutely do not need is a heat rock.

Heat rocks have caused serious injuries and in some cases death to sugar gliders. Here in Arizona, we are warm the majority of the year. If your home temperature falls below 72 degrees, you may want to consider getting a ceramic heat emitter for your sugar gliders.

Picture By :
Article By : affinitysugargliders.com