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Information About Sugar Gliders: A Fun and Unusual Pet

Thomas is interested in all types of animals and pets, from reptiles to sugar gliders.

Have you ever met a sugar glider? It is an unusual marsupial that is becoming very popular in the United States. This sugar glider is named Snowball.

Have you ever met a sugar glider? It is an unusual marsupial that is becoming very popular in the United States. This sugar glider is named Snowball.

Sugar Glider: An Interesting Pet

These unique little creatures are called sugar gliders because they simply love sweet things. They are native to Australia and New Guinea and were also introduced to Tasmania. You can also now find them in Indonesia. Most in the United States come from Indonesia, where they are found in the wild.

Diagram of a sugar glider in flight.

Diagram of a sugar glider in flight.

How Do They Glide?

In the wild, they eat the sap from eucalyptus trees. It is common for sugar gliders to glide as far as 150 feet from treetop to treetop. They use their tails to guide themselves and determine where they will land. They, however, cannot use their tail to swing or hang from branches. They use a gliding membrane that is part of their bodies to assist them in gliding.

Basic Information About Sugar Gliders


The sugar glider is a marsupial. The female has a pouch that her babies grow in until they are ready to come out. They have one or two babies, which are called joeys. It usually takes two months for a joey to be fully weaned from its mother. Sugar gliders are sexually mature between the ages of 8 and 14 months of age.

Size, Coloration, and Activity

Sugar gliders measure 11 to 12 inches from the tips of their noses to the tips of their tails when grown. They are usually gray with a white stripe down the back. They have white stomachs. Their eyes should be clear and black, never cloudy or foggy. As a rule, they are nocturnal, which means they are more active at night, though yours may be awake for periods during the day.


Your sugar glider will make various sounds. They usually make a noise called crabbing when they are frightened. You should approach yours slowly and carefully so you do not frighten it. If they put their hands up like a boxer, you need to back off and come back later. Once it gets used to you, you may hear it make a sound like a puppy barking. It does this to try to call you to it. When this happens, you will know your sugar glider has accepted you.

Diet and Life Span

Sugar gliders love fresh, sweet fruit. Ask your seller what they have been feeding yours before you bring it home. Please note that it will need a calcium supplement. Do not give it coffee, corn, chocolate, raw sugar, or anything that contains garlic or onions. Give them only bottled water. Do not give them water from the tap as it contains chlorine. Keep in mind that well-cared-for, healthy sugar gliders can live for 15 years or more.

Male sugar glider sitting on a table

Male sugar glider sitting on a table

Physical Characteristics

Sugar gliders have squirrel-like bodies with long prehensile tails. You'll find that males are larger than females. When full-grown, their bodies are usually five to six inches long. Their total length with their tail, though, is 12 to 13 inches.

They have a thick, soft fur coat. While they are usually blue-gray in color, they can also be found in albino, yellow, and tan. Various color variations are now showing up in the pet trade.

Unique Feet

They have five digits on each foot and an opposable toe on the hind feet. On their hind feet, the second and third digits are partially fused together, and these digits are used for grooming. All of their digits except the opposable toes have a claw.


If you have a female sugar glider, you'll find that she has a pouch on her stomach to carry her young, just like a kangaroo or opossum. This is where the young will live when they are first born.

Little-Known Facts About Sugar Gliders

  1. In the wild, sugar gliders live in groups of up to 15 or 30.
  2. Females have a pouch similar to kangaroos or opossums. Their joeys live in their pouches for 60 to 70 days. At about three months of age, the young are able to live outside the pouch on their own.
  3. When they live in the wild, sugar gliders live in trees and rarely, if ever, touch the ground.
  4. When they are in the wild, sugar gliders nest in old-growth trees. They usually live in holes in the trees. They mark their nests and trees with their urine.
  5. Sugar gliders can glide through the air for over 150 feet, using their long tail as a rudder. When it launches itself from a tree, it spreads its limbs to be able to glide through the air more easily.
  6. They only weigh about four ounces as adults.
  7. In case you're wondering how they got their name, it's because of their love of sugar and their ability to use their bodies and tail to glide through the air.
Have you ever met a Sugar Glider. They are a really unusual marsupial that are becoming very popular in the United States.

With Pets, Bonding Is All About Trust

Sugar Gliders bond easily when they are tame, and it won't be long before they are hiding in your pocket. You will find that they love attention and that the more time you spend with them, the better they will like it.

  • If you don't have a lot of time to spend with them, you should adopt two so they can be company for each other. Owning a sugar glider can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. You have not lived until you have a pair that has bonded with you. You will be their best friend, and they will come to you for all their wants and needs.
  • Bonding is all about trust. The more your sugar glider trusts you, the more it will bond with you.
  • As you get to know your pet, you'll find that there are times it will want to be held and petted and times it will want some alone time.
  • Children and sugar gliders usually get along fine, but small children should be watched carefully to make sure they don't squeeze it to hard or hurt it.
  • After some time, you'll discover where on its body your sugar glider will like to be petted and scratched. Most of them—though not all—love to be scratched under the neck.
  • You'll also discover that they are very curious and they like new things. I move strings of little bells around the house and let the sugar gliders find them. Hide their little treats in your pocket, and they will discover them.
  • When first bonding with your sugar glider, offer them treats several times a day. Back off, though, if it starts getting too heavy.
  • You'll know your sugar glider is accepting you when it moves towards you when you approach its cage.
  • Keep in mind that in the wild, sugar gliders are nocturnal, meaning they sleep in the daytime and play and explore at night.

Use a Bonding Pouch

It's important to start any sugar glider off with a bonding pouch. You can make one yourself, or you can buy one already made.

  1. At first, firmly rub the outside of the pouch and let the little sugar glider inside get used to you.
  2. As it gets used to you, start putting your fingers inside the pouch and rub the sugar glider. Don't be frightened if it nips a little or gets upset when you touch it.
  3. Just keep it up and be firm, and in no time at all, your sugar glider will be used to you.

Before you commit to buying any pet, please do your own independent research. You should learn everything you can about any animal before you bring it home.

I would suggest you visit a pet shop or other seller and spend some time with one before bringing it home with you.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2009 Thomas Byers


JustNope on April 11, 2018:

- Sugar gliders make great pets!

- - No they don’t.

- they need a buddy

- - because they will usually die of depression without a companion. Don’t worry about mentioning that, god forbid you scare customers off from sales.

- - It’s harder than you’d think to find a vet that will see small animals & does so often enough to know more than bare basics. They’re an exotic marsupial from Australia, why the hell do you think any random vet is gonna be well informed on them??

- Ask your seller what they have been feeding yours before you bring it home.

- - They’re so easy & cheap to feed with this ~vet-approved~ glider chow! Sure, if you want them to look & feel like shit because kibble is actually completely inappropriate for an animal that mostly eats insects, nectar, sap, fruit, and pollen. They need handmade diets that need a variety of unusual ingredients.

- They’re nocturnal ….and they’ll probably keep you up all night while they jump around their cage & bark at each other. Hope you’re a deep sleeper!

Just... leave _wild_ animals where they belong. Stop "buying" pets as if they were merchandise. If you want a pet then just go _adopt_ one in need of a home like yours. Loving animals is not about screaming in front of a cute animal video, be responsible.

Madison on February 05, 2018:

I used to have sugar gliders but l moved so we have to gave them away. But l didn't want to because l love my cats, my dogs, and sugar gliders with all my heart!?. I won't let go if my cats and dogs l miss my sugar gliders with all my heart?

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on September 11, 2012:

Thanks for the comment.

shamani67 on September 06, 2011:

Great and informative Hub. Keep up the great work.

AMD2 on July 09, 2011:

Very nice article, enojed reading this and enjoyed the videos.

I wrote my own hub on sugar gliders you can take a look at;

Bykkshuerr on January 11, 2011:

I plan to buy Glider it's ok I buy 1?

Cathi Sutton on February 28, 2010:

Nice Hub! And I agree with you about owning sugar gliders being a very rewarding experience! We absolutely love ours, and continue to be surprised by their ways!

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on December 19, 2009:

I usually do not approve comments with links but that is an excellent article. Very well researched and written.

Midasfx on December 19, 2009:

I love sugar gliders, they look so cute. But I would never own one. too much work. I actually wrote about some exotic pets to own and the sugar glider was #4

check it out

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on December 18, 2009:

Sugar Gliders are wonderful pets. I have five of them and they are great pets with a lot of interaction. I enjoy how much they love to hide in my coat pockets and how they will start to call to me as soon as they hear me drive up in my truck.

Georgiakevin from Central Georgia on December 18, 2009:

What a great hub! I have 4 dogs but after reading your hub you made me think I might like to own 1 or 2.