Sugar gliders are a highly sought-after, fascinating little marsupial. Given that they’re not native to North America and they have cute faces, many people feel it would be super cool to own one. The only problem is these little guys require specialized care and are not a good fit for a lot of people.
If you are looking at adopting some sugar gliders, keep in mind their lifespan is 10 to 15 years. Also, you will want to adopt at least two gliders as they are social animals and can become lonely/depressed if kept solo, which can lead to health issues. On top of the topics of lifespan and social grouping, becoming bonded with your gliders can be a long process requiring lots of patience and understanding for these creatures, especially when you consider they are nocturnal.
Sugar gliders require quite a bit more room than you may imagine; the minimum cage size you should be going for is 3 feet tall and 2.5 feet wide/deep with a bar spacing of no more than 0.5 inches. Said cage should have a glider-specific wheel, a sleeping pouch, a glass water bottle, a non-tip food dish, and plenty of toys. You also may need a heat lamp to keep temperatures between 70 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit if your house stays on the cooler side.
You’ll also need to glider-proof your house, covering any small holes they can get to and crawl in. Keep in mind you cannot use a harness with sugar gliders due to the skin membranes they have that allow them to “fly.” You will need a “bonding pouch” of some sort to keep them close by if you do not want them running off to do their own thing from time to time.
One of the hardest parts of caring for a sugar glider is their diet. Gliders are omnivorous animals and require a specific and balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, and proteins. With sugar gliders having a specialized diet, it also means too much of any one food is a bad thing; their diets need to have a high variety of smaller amounts of food.
As far as veterinarian care goes, sugar gliders are easy. There is no vaccine schedule for them, they have a high resistance to fleas and mites, and they are hypoallergenic. It is still highly recommended to get these guys yearly check-ups because they are prey animals and if there is anything wrong, they do their best to hide it. When keeping multiple sugar gliders together, you will want to get the males neutered to help stave off aggression and territorial behaviors. Females cannot be spayed due to their small size and the invasiveness of the procedure.
While sugar gliders are super cute little animals, they are deceivingly high maintenance. We highly recommend doing a lot of research and thinking for the long term before seriously considering these chatty, rambunctious marsupials as pets.