Information About Sugar Gliders: A Fun and Unusual Pet

Updated on March 2, 2016
Have you ever met a sugar glider? It is an unusual marsupial that is becoming very popular in the United States.
Have you ever met a sugar glider? It is an unusual marsupial that is becoming very popular in the United States.

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.

In the wild, they eat the sap from eucalyptus trees. It is common for sugar gliders to glide as far as 150 feet from tree top to tree top. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Close-up of Snowball, a sugar glider.
Close-up of Snowball, a sugar glider. | Source

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.

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

  1. In the wild sugar gliders live in groups of up to 15 or 30.
  2. Females have a pouch like 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 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.

Male sugar glider sitting on a table.
Male sugar glider sitting on a table.

Basic Sugar Glider Information

Diagram of a sugar glider in flight.
Diagram of a sugar glider in flight.

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 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 it's cage.
  • Keep in mind that in the wild sugar gliders are nocturnal, meaning they sleep in the day time and play and explore at night.

Make 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. At first firmly rub the outside of the pouch and let the little sugar glider inside get used to you. 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. Just keep it up and be firm and in no time at all your sugar glider will be used to you.

Coloring Pages

Sugar glider coloring page. Print out for your child.
Sugar glider coloring page. Print out for your child.
Two sugar gliders.
Two sugar gliders.

How to Bond With Your Pet Sugar Glider

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 you bring it home with you.

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Madison 2 months ago

        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?

      • crazyhorsesghost profile image

        Thomas Byers 5 years ago from East Coast , United States

        Thanks for the comment.

      • shamani67 profile image

        shamani67 6 years ago

        Great and informative Hub. Keep up the great work.

      • profile image

        AMD2 6 years ago

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

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

      • profile image

        Bykkshuerr 7 years ago

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

      • Cathi Sutton profile image

        Cathi Sutton 8 years ago

        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!

      • crazyhorsesghost profile image

        Thomas Byers 8 years ago from East Coast , United States

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

      • Midasfx profile image

        Midasfx 8 years ago

        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

      • crazyhorsesghost profile image

        Thomas Byers 8 years ago from East Coast , United States

        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 profile image

        Georgiakevin 8 years ago from Central Georgia

        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.