Sugar gliders are amazing little pocket pets. Tiny bursts of gliding, playful, cuddly fun — what’s not to love?
But owning a sugar glider is no easy feat. They are high-maintenance animals that require a lot of effort and work. If you’re not armed with the proper knowledge and don’t put in the effort, you’ll have a depressed, lonely, and sick sugar glider on your hands.
If you’re wondering how to raise a sugar glider and the most important things to know before buying a sugar glider, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading to arm yourself with everything you need to know about raising a happy and healthy sugar glider.
1. Sugar Gliders Are Active at Night
These adorable animals are nocturnal. This means that if you have a sugar glider pet, you’re likely to be kept up many nights.
The active and awake hours of sugar gliders are typically between the hours of 8 pm and 8 am, so you’ll only have a couple of hours each day to interact with your pet.
They make a lot of noise in the night, both as a result of their activities as well as their vocals. Expect to hear chirping, hissing, and barking at all hours. If you’re a light sleeper, keep their cage as far from your bedroom as possible.
A bonus of the nocturnal behavior is that your sugar glider will be asleep when you’re at work, so there’s no risk of separation anxiety.
2. Specialized Food for Sugar Gliders
One of the most difficult aspects of raising a sugar glider is their very specific diet requirements. Sugar glider food is not just any old pet food and you cannot stray from the sugar glider diet if you want a healthy and happy pet.
These animals have specific nutritional needs which they satisfy with insects, mealworms, and tree sap.
To replicate this, you’ll need to ensure that 75% of your pet’s diet consists of various fruits and vegetables. The other 25% needs to be protein.
You may have to feed them supplements to boost nutrition as they are very fussy eaters.
3. They Are Very Social
In the wild, sugar gliders live in colonies of 10-15 members. So, naturally, they are extremely social animals and depend on social interaction for their wellbeing.
They require company and can become depressed and sickly if they feel lonely. Companionship is very important, and you might not be able to provide the constant company that they need because of their nocturnal habits.
This is why it is recommended to adopt more than one sugar glider so that they can keep each other company. This way you ensure a happy and healthy pet.
4. Sugar Gliders Need a Special Environment
Sugar gliders require a specific habitat to survive and thrive. It’s unlikely that you have the capabilities of providing their Australian natural habitat, so you’ll have to do your best to replicate it. ‘
The cage of your sugar glider should change in size as your pet grows. Baby sugar gliders need a small cage in order to feel safe. As they grow, the cage needs to be bigger to provide enough space.
It’s very important to create a stimulating environment as sugar gliders get bored easily which also leads to depression. There should be physical stimulation options, such as a sugar glider-safe exercise wheel, as well as mental stimulation, such as foraging toys.
As they are tree-dwellers, a content sugar glider needs a large enclosure with a lot of vertical space to move around.
5. It’s Not Legal Everywhere to Own a Sugar Glider
Some states have completely banned sugar gliders as pets, while other states have placed bans only on specific cities. In addition, you’ll need a permit to own a sugar glider in some states, and no documentation at all in others.
It’s vital that you do the research and find out the legality of owning a sugar glider in the state that you live. It is not the breeder’s job to ensure that they are selling to someone living in a state where it’s legal. So you need to make sure of it before bringing one home.
6. They Live a Long Time
This is a huge bonus of having a sugar glider pet, as you’ll have many happy years together — 12 to 15! However, it’s also a big commitment, and you need to be sure that you have the capacity to care for a sugar glider for over a decade.
It won’t be easy to find another adoptive parent if you become unable to take care of your sugar glider. It would also be very cruel as sugar gliders become very attached to their human companions.
7. Sugar Gliders Need an Exotic Veterinarian
There are a lot of potential medical issues that sugar gliders face. Many of these issues stem from an improper diet, such as calcium deficiency or constipation and diarrhea from a lack of roughage.
These animals are also susceptible to injuries, parasites, and stress. Throughout your lives together, there will definitely be times when your sugar glider needs to visit the vet.
However, most regular veterinarians don’t treat sugar gliders and don’t have the knowledge about exotic animals to do so. You’ll need to locate an exotic vet in case there is ever an emergency situation.
Educate and Prepare Yourself Before Buying a Sugar Glider
Sugar gliders are adorable, cuddly, and playful pets. However, as they are exotic animals, looking after them is complex and requires a lot of thought and work. They are by no means low-maintenance pets. If you want a happy and healthy companion, educate and prepare yourself before buying a sugar glider.
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