B a s i c s
Please take the time to check this page out. There is a LOT to know before getting your first glider(s)!
- Many people think they are similar to a hamster or mouse and only live a couple years.. this is the furthest thing from the truth. They're actual marsupials, not rodents. They can live for 15 years and sometimes even longer with proper care and attention. This is important to keep in mind if you plan on moving a lot, having kids or going away to school.
- Most sugar gliders don't wake up until late in the evening and usually stay up until late morning. This is difficult for many people as some are students or work early in the morning. With a LOT of time and patience they MAY adapt a bit to your schedule but I'd initially plan on having to be up in the evenings or very early mornings. Each glider is very different, though, and follows their own schedule, usually.
- Some people will tell you that you can train them but thats really not true. If you give them a few moments after waking up/coming out of their pouch they will typically go RIGHT away! Then they'll be good to go for a few hours, normally.. But if they need to go again, they will not hesitate to go ON you.. On your arm, your head, your pants, your couch, really, ANYWHERE. Most owners just keep tissues with them and prepare for this, it isn't something you can break them of. It's part of being a glider parent. Also, gliders, especially males, will mark you. Males will use their scent glands to rub on you a bit to mark you as theirs and they will also leave a few little drops of pee on you once in a while. So if you smell foreign to them or unusual they may do this to make you smell 'normal' again!
- In the wild gliders are VERY social animals, they live in colonies and sleep together to keep warm. They vocalize with eachother quite a bit in the form of clicks, hisses, chirps and little barks. They also groom eachother, play together and so much more. While we can spend good deals of time with them we can't provide them with the same level of companionship that another glider can. A lone glider can suffer from depression and actually begin to over groom, pulling out their fur or even start to chew on their tail, hands and feet. This can result in VERY costly vet bills or even passing, sadly.
- They don't do well with small children because they are very fast and fragile. Typically they like to explore and move around, they won't normally sit still and enjoy being coddled by a child. Also they can be spooked and will bite if they feel it's necessary. Don't let anyone tell you they won't. They have teeth and CAN bite! This often scares kids and causes them to squeeze, drop them or throw them. That could easily be the end of a sugar gliders life, unfortunately. Typically they're best as adult pets or family pets where the adults/parents take most of the responsibility.
- You can't simply buy pellets or a bag of feed at the store for these little guys. They're sap suckers by nature so they need a specialized diet. Most people buy one or two ingredients online, depending on the specific diet, and spend about 5-10 minutes a day making their gliders food. Some people spend a little longer and then freeze it and you're good to go for a month. So once you get the hang of it it's VERY simple to do! Many suffer from internal problems due to pellets, some from liver failure, etc. They don't live nearly half the long life of 15 years that they should. So if someone tells you they can live off apples and a bag of pellets don't fall for it!
- Sugar gliders are just that.. gliders! They're tree dwellers. They enjoy climbing up high and gliding from place to place. That said, it's best to keep them in cages at least 2ft x 2ft x 3ft, height is always most important. Many people have cages that are 3ft(wide) x 2ft(deep) x 6ft(high), so by no means is 2x2x3 the max, many people go above and beyond.. there really isn't a 'too big' for gliders. So plan on having a good deal of space dedicated to them. They can't be kept in small bird cages or tanks.
- They need to be fed fresh food nightly so you can't easily leave them alone for long periods. Being a bit busy and not being able to take them out for playtime as often is one thing.. but many people plan to leave and go on vacation for days, weeks, sometimes even months.. Gliders need fresh fruit each night so you can't easily up and go. It's best to have a babysitter or family member to come and take care of them while you're away.
- Some people say they 'never need vet care' but it's far from true! While gliders don't need the typical shots or vaccinations that other household pets do it is still best to take them in for yearly exams and fecals. Also, if they do somehow get an injury or illness it could cost hundreds. Gliders are considered 'exotics' so their vet bills can be quite pricey. A simple neuter can range from 50 dollars to 400 dollars depending on what part of the country you are in. It's best to have a 24 hour vet too since they're nocturnal and if a mishap does occur it may be in the middle of the night.
- Many people have a sort of allergic reaction to sugar gliders climbing on them.. this is typically because their nails are very sharp and will kind of poke in to cling to you. You can fix this by clipping them gently with a small or baby size nail clippers. But without regular clipping they can scratch a bit like a kitten might. They can't 'sheathe' their nails so they're always out and being used to climb. Some sites sell 'trimming' tracks for wheels but honestly.. they still need an occasional clipping. That's more for MAINTAINING them once they're clipped. Definitely don't plan on relying on a wheel to trim your gliders nails!
- Sugar gliders are actually marsupials, not rodents! The two main points with this are that their young spends most of it's time growing in the mother's pouch and that sugar gliders NEVER need their teeth trimmed. They do not continually grow like a hamster's teeth. They enjoy chewing on some items because they peel bark in nature to get to sap and bugs, but they do not EVER need to be trimmed. Some vets that are not knowledgable on gliders may offer this service, DO NOT ACCEPT IT! They will NEVER grow back and it will cause your glider a great deal of pain.
If you have any more questions about sugar gliders please feel free to take a look through the rest of this website, join us in chat or to join our forums, we welcome any type of questions and we're always happy to help out a new or potential sugar glider owner! :D
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