Are Sugar Gliders Good Pets? Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy!
What is a Sugar Glider & Where Did They Come From?
“Sugar Gliders” are small marsupials in the same general family as a Kangaroo or Koala Bear.
They are originally from the rainforests of Australia and Indonesia , and have been domestically bred as household pets in the United States for the last 12-15 years.
They got the name "Sugar Gliders" because they:
- like to eat almost anything that is sweet, especially fresh fruit & vegetables, and
- they have a gliding membrane (similar to a flying squirrel) that stretches from their wrist to their ankles, allowing them to glide - not fly - from tree to tree
In the wild they primarily live in trees in "colonies" of 10-15 other Gliders. Their "scientific" name: Petaurus Breviceps, and their specific Taxonomic Classification is:
- Class: Mammalia
- Infraclass: Marsupialia
- Order: Diprotodontia
- Suborder: Phalangerida
- Family: Petauridae
- Genus: Petaurus
- Species: P. Breviceps
Do they REALLY make good pets? Aren't they "rodents"?
Sugar Gliders are NOT “rodents”. They are marsupials, in the same general family as a Kangaroo or a Koala Bear.
As such, they are proven to have several distinct advantages over other household pets such as hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, squirrels, etc.. For example, when cared for properly, their life-span is typically 12-15 years – similar to many dogs or cats.
They also have roughly the same intelligence as a dog, in that when trained properly they can learn their name, come when they’re called, and even do tricks.
Another distinct advantage over “rodent” type pets is that Sugar Gliders – when fed the proper diet – have almost no noticeable smell
They also keep themselves impeccably clean and never require bathing.
One of the biggest problems of owning any “rodent” as a household pet (ie. mice, hamsters, gerbils, etc..) is that they are destructive by nature and constantly have to “chew” on things. This is due to the fact that all rodents have teeth which constantly grow – and therefore must be “worn” down.
Since Sugar Gliders are NOT rodents, they do not instinctively need to chew on things and are not destructive by nature.
Probably one of the most unique things about Sugar Gliders as household pets is how strongly – and permanently – they bond to their human “families”.
Once they are fully bonded to you and your family – they can go almost everywhere with you in public without being caged, (shopping, groceries, movies, etc..), and they will not want to leave your shoulder or pocket.
In this aspect – especially – they have exactly the opposite “mentality” of a rodent; in that once they are fully-trained and bonded with you, they normally won’t “hide” or run away because they instinctively want to be with their “family” more than anything else.
Sugar Glider as a Pet: The Pros & Cons from a Veterinarian's Perspective
How Big Will Sugar Gliders Get?
Baby Sugar Gliders are called “Joeys” (just like Kangaroos) and they are about the size of a grain of rice when they are born.
They spend the first few weeks of their lives in their mother’s pouch (again, like a Kangaroo) – and fully-grown they are about 5-7 inches in length (not including their tail) and weigh about 6 ounces..
How Much Time Do They Require?
As mentioned earlier, one of the most unique things about Sugar Gliders as household pets is how strongly they “bond” to their human families. Bonding is a “process” that can take anywhere from a few days – to two or three months – and just like human children, no two Gliders are exactly the same.
For that reason, we provide all our new “moms & dads” with proven, step-by-step instructions (including lots of special “tips & tricks” we’ve learned over the last 15 years) that DRAMATICALLY speed-up the bonding process – and create a deep, lasting relationship of love and trust between you and your new babies ( see free special report on Sugar Glider Bonding for more info).
The single most important factor in bonding with a Sugar Glider is their AGE – and that is precisely WHY we only sell babies when they are between eight and twelve weeks old.
In the wild, Sugar Gliders normally live in “colonies” of 10-15 other Gliders – and when they begin the “bonding phase” of their lives (approximately 9-12 weeks out of the pouch) they “instinctively want” to bond to a whole GROUP.
In other words, they are not just a “one person” animal. When brought into a family setting with children and other pets, they will normally consider everyone (including the pets) to be their “colony”, and will bond to that group for life.
While they bond to everyone in the family, each glider will almost always have a favorite person (usually the person who holds them the most) that will be their “primary bond”.
Contrary to what some internet “expert” sites and “chatrooms” try to claim, bonding is NOT a time-consuming, exhaustive “ordeal” that requires 12-19 hours a day. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
As previously outlined, for many years now the team of pros here at Pocket Pets™ have successfully placed literally FIFTY+ THOUSAND of these little darlings into loving homes all around the country – and we provide all our new “moms & dads” with very simple, detailed instructions that make the bonding process both FUN and REWARDING. (see free special report “Bonding” for more info). It’s a small, up-front “investment” that will reward your entire family with countless years of love and companionship.
How to Bond with a Sugar Glider: Tips From the Veterinarian
What kind of Cage do they need?
One of the most common “mis-truths” about Sugar Gliders is that they “must” have a very large cage in order for them to be happy.
Since they definitely DO love to jump and play, a larger cage is fine for older, adult Gliders. However, as young babies and adolescents, a large cage can actually be counter-productive to the bonding process.
For this reason, we ONLY sell baby Gliders with the appropriate-size cage and all their necessary food and supplies ( see free special report on Sugar Glider Cages for more info ). This way we are SURE all our animals go to a home that is set up properly. When your Gliders reach maturity in 7-10 months, many of our customers choose to purchase one of our larger cages simply to give them more room for toys and playthings. This type of cage is very durable, and will typically last many years.
Will They Get Along With My Other Pets?
Once your baby gliders have started to bond with you and your family, one of the most rewarding things about watching them grow up is observing “first-hand” how they form lifelong bonds with the OTHER pets in your home.
For many people, even the IDEA of a dog or cat “bonding” to a Sugar Glider (instead of eating it) seems almost unbelievable. However, the simple fact is that almost ALL the babies we sell here at Pocket Pets™ go into homes that already have cats and/or dogs in them – and as long as you follow the step-by-step “pet bonding” instructions we provide – we’ve never had a single problem.
The short answer “WHY” is simply because Sugar Gliders are MARSUPIALS – not “rodents” – which means that even though they may “look” like a mouse to some humans – they do not instinctually SMELL like “food” to most cats or dogs. Instead, they just don’t know WHAT to make of them.
Now, if somebody was to just throw a Sugar Glider on the floor in front of a strange cat or dog, they would almost always try to go after it – simply because of the “movement”… However, when introduced to each other using the proven, step-by-step instructions we give all our new “moms & dads”, don’t be a bit surprised if before long they end up becoming “best buddies” with the other pets in your home.
Generally speaking, when introduced properly, sugar gliders will bond to most household pets – except reptiles like snakes (for obvious reasons)… In addition, they can also be very afraid of some species of large birds in the beginning – since in the wild they are commonly preyed upon by large birds (ie. owls, hawks, eagles, etc.).
In many ways, once they bond with each other, it’s kind of like having a “pet FOR your pet” – in that they’ll often end up eating together, sleeping together, and generally just “hanging out” everywhere they go.
Now, if you’re still thinking, “Well, you don’t know MY cat/dog!”… just check out this cute letter from one of our customers, and look through all the following pictures and home-video below. We know it might seem hard to believe at first, but like the old saying goes… a picture is worth a THOUSAND words …
Sugar Gliders and Other Pets: Tips from the Vets
What do Sugar Gliders Eat? Is their diet complicated? Is their food expensive?
One of the funniest questions we often get is that people sometimes hear that feeding a Sugar Glider and giving them the proper nutrition is an extremely costly and time-consuming process. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
Over the years, we’ve come across sites that claim it costs as much as $2,000 per year to feed a single Glider – and that “any owner who really cares about their Gliders” will spend several HOURS a day chopping exotic fruits, gathering LIVE insects, and preparing extremely complicated and expensive meals for them.
Well, (to be quite frank), these are the same “kind” of people who dress their poodles up in $1,000 costumes – and then claim that anyone who DOESN’T do the same is somehow “neglecting” their animals. They’re certainly entitled to their opinions, but you can judge for yourself what is appropriate.
Fortunately, thanks to tremendous scientific advances in nutrition over the last 10 years, caring for Sugar Gliders is very inexpensive and easy to do. In fact, there are only three basic components to a healthy Sugar Glider’s diet, and as a ball-park estimate, it typically costs a total of around $3/month to feed a single animal. 20% of your glider’s daily food will consist of fresh fruits or vegetables, and almost anything you already have around the house (like a slice of apple per day) will do just fine.
The other 75% of their diet consists of protein and vitamins. In the wild, this would normally come from eating things like insects and eggs, but when Sugar Gliders eat “animal-based” proteins, they can develop a musky smell.
This problem is easily eliminated by feeding a scientifically-balanced, pelleted Sugar Glider Food - called Glide-R-Chow™, which is specifically formulated for Sugar Gliders.
When fed this diet, your Gliders will have almost no discernible smell whatsoever. For more detailed dietary information, see this free special report on the proper Sugar Glider Diet.
Watch this short video to learn more about Sugar Glider Food & the easeist way to keep them happy and healthy!
While we’re on the topic of “eating”, one of the most interesting things about Sugar Gliders in general is that they don’t have “FEET”. Instead, they have four little “hands” just like ours – and each hand has an opposable thumb on it, just like us.
This makes it INCREDIBLY entertaining to watch them eat things – since they hold food EXACTLY like we do. If you’ve never seen a Sugar Glider “eat” before, you’ve got to check out the following this short little clip. As you’ll see, they’re just incredibly intelligent little animals.
Where do they go to the BATHROOM?
Contrary to what some people believe, Sugar Gliders cannot “technically” be potty-trained. HOWEVER, the good news is that they are extremely clean and VERY predictable little animals.
For example, even as little babies, they instinctually will never want to poop or pee where they sleep. This means that they will almost never go to the bathroom when they are in your pockets (unless of course they can’t get out, and have an “accident” ).
Will They Need Veterinary Care Like Cats and Dogs?
One of the best things about owning Sugar Gliders is that once you get them home – you’re pretty much done spending money.
For example, unlike dogs or cats, Sugar Gliders don’t require ANY vaccinations – because they don’t carry any known diseases.
Another important fact for potential new “moms & dads” to consider is that Gliders don’t typically require any ongoing vet care; because they don’t carry heartworms or other ailments that are common to many other household pets.
Will they affect my allergies?
Another important benefit of owning Sugar Gliders is that they often make excellent pets for people with “allergies”.In fact, for many of our customers, this is the ONLY pet they’ve ever been able to have since they are allergic to everything else.
Bringing loving pets into the lives of people who otherwise can’t have them is one of the most fulfilling things we do. Just click on this letter to read what one grateful “mom” has to say.
If you or anyone in your family is allergic to pets, the best thing to do is just come see us at an event near you – and “put it to the test”. We will be happy to let you handle some of our Gliders to make sure they are the right pet for you. Just be prepared to be PLEASANTLY surprised.
Do they Smell?
Basically, it all comes down to knowledge and EXPERIENCE.
As outlined earlier, the simple FACT is that the team of pro’s here at Pocket Pets™ has more than 15 YEARS of experience raising literally TENS of THOUSANDS of Sugar Gliders – and placing them in thousands of happy homes all over the country.
As a fully-licensed and regulated USDA facility, our team regularly works with the best Veterinarians and Research Facilities in the world – many of whom specialize almost exclusively in Sugar Gliders.
As such, our team is constantly on the “cutting-edge” of every aspect of Sugar Glider research, and are always working on new ways to improve the health and care of our Gliders.
For example, over the years our team has been instrumental in developing an “all-in-one”, scientifically-balanced diet that makes feeding Gliders as easy as ANY other household pet – and prohibits them from developing a strong, musky odor ( see free special report “Feeding” for more info ). We’ve also spent years perfecting “groundbreaking” training and bonding techniques that allow our “moms & dads” to maximize the INTELLIGENCE of their little darlings – and transform them into amazing “companion pets” whose abilities are comparable to many cats or dogs.
By contrast, almost all the internet “expert” websites and “chatrooms” out there nowadays still rely on very old – and extremely out of date – care and dietary information that we purposely stopped using MANY years ago.
These sites simply REFUSE to embrace any new advancements – and instead resort to spreading false rumors and innuendo about anyone who disagrees with them; all the while passionately clinging to the claims that “their way” is the ONLY way, and that doing anything else will harm – or even kill Gliders.
Unfortunately, even well-meaning Veterinarians are often still left to rely on out-dated care and dietary information – most of which has been around for well over 10 years.
As such, we are currently working on a joint project with some of the most qualified Veterinarians and Research Facilities in the country to develop a comprehensive “Sugar Glider Veterinary Care Guide” designed specifically for use by Veterinarians and other animal-care professionals. It will soon be distributed to Veterinary Clinics worldwide.
Where Can I Buy A Sugar Glider? Why Don't You Sell More Babies Online?
The sad truth is, the internet is full of self-proclaimed, Sugar Glider “expert” websites that claim they will ship “beautiful hand-tamed joeys to an airport near you”.
Many of these same sites also “bait in” uninformed customers by promising discount prices as low as $100-$150 per animal.
The simple truth is that in today’s internet age, ANYBODY can “look & sound” professional. However, in reality, whenever you buy any animal over the internet, you never KNOW for sure what you’re REALLY going to get – and as the old saying goes: “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”…
By contrast, at Pocket Pets™ we PREFER not to “ship” individual animals. Instead, we like to hand-deliver each baby to our new “moms & dads”; and personally meet each of them face-to-face. We do this not only because it is extremely expensive to “ship” a baby and all their supplies (usually an additional $200-$300) – but much MORE importantly because it is easier on young babies to be hand delivered.
At Pocket Pets™ we strongly feel it’s important for new “moms & dads” like yourself to actually “meet” the people you are dealing with – especially when buying a Sugar Glider, who will be part of your family for the next 12-15 years. This is why we travel all around the country every week introducing people to these wonderful little pets.
As such, if you’ve just come back from seeing us at an event near you – (and are in the middle of “doing your homework” right now) – we strongly suggest you come back and see us while we are still in town. Our professionals will be more than happy to PERSONALLY answer any questions you still have – and help welcome these adorable little pets into your home.
However, if you are absolutely certain that you are ready to buy a sugar glider - visit our adoption headquarters to get more information about our Preferred Adoption Program. We must let you know that demand is at an all time high, but if we have available babies you'll be able to request consideration for adoption..
Are Sugar Gliders NOCTURNAL? Don’t they make a lot of NOISE at night?
Sugar gliders are nocturnal by nature – meaning that they generally like to stay up at night. However, you can train them – like a child – to be on whatever schedule fits your lifestyle. Over the years, we have found that most people actually LIKE to leave their Gliders “nocturnal”, because this way when they are at work or school, the Gliders are just sleeping and not “missing” their owners. Then when you get home, the Gliders are happy to see you. If you can carry your Glider(s) with you during the day they are even happier; since they get to sleep in your pocket or pouch, and be with their “mom” or “dad” at the same time.
Since they naturally like to play in their cage at night like little “acrobats”, the main thing you will want to consider – as far as “noise” goes – is the type of TOYS you get them. Gliders typically do not make much noise themselves, but they WILL definitely play with whatever you put in their cage. That's why we've got a variety of GliderSafe toys on our website that will make it easy on you to keep your sugar glider entertained :-).
Here's an example of one of our amazing Sugar Glider Toys, the Hide-A-Treat.
Do I HAVE to get two babies, or will one be ok by itself?
The simple fact is that ANY household pet is always going to be happier if they have a buddy to play with – especially when their owners aren’t around. However, with Sugar Gliders it’s generally NOT a “life-or-death” issue, so we don’t “require” it. Nowadays, there is a lot of mis-information out there on this subject which claims that Sugar Gliders will actually “die of loneliness” or “torture themselves” if you don’t have at LEAST two.
Well, in addition to loving our babies – this is also our “business”. As such, we would LOVE to be able to honestly tell our customers that they HAVE to get two, but this simply would NOT be the truth… The fact is, Sugar Gliders are just very affectionate animals who love company. They are age-appropriate for children 6 years and older; however, younger kids can be fine with adult supervision. They also tend to make excellent full-time companions for seniors who live alone and want a loving, relatively low-maintenance pet to keep them company.
Now, again, there’s absolutely no doubt that ANY pet is always going to be happIER if they have a playmate, and because of this we always encourage people to get two or more if their budget allows. For this reason, we always give our new “moms & dads” a discount on additional animals.
Which is BETTER - a male or a female?
Unlike ferrets or other animals where one gender can be more aggressive than the other – both male and female Sugar Gliders have equally sweet temperaments. Just like human children, every baby has its own unique personality – and (again, just like with children) how much time you spend with them when they’re young determines their temperament much more than gender.
Having said that, two or more boys (or girls) will usually get along just fine in the same cage; simply because they are instinctively “colony” animals and LOVE having the companionship….just check out these two making their “getaway”.
Practically speaking, when males (which have not been neutered) reach maturity, they will occasionally “mark” their territory (like almost any animal). However, if they are being fed the correct diet, this normally will not result in an offensive odor - see free special report “Feeding” for more info. Alternatively, female Gliders will “cycle” twice a year, but there normally aren’t any outward manifestations at all. In other words, the only ones who will know what’s happening will be the Gliders themselves.
Can any VET work on them?
Although Sugar Gliders aren’t normally susceptible to many illnesses, if anything should ever happen to one, almost any local Veterinarian who works on small animals will already be familiar with them.
Since they’ve been domesticated as pets here in the U.S. for about 15 years now, Sugar Gliders are nothing “new” to most Vets. However, the reason why most people in the general public have never actually seen one in person is simply because they breed SO slowly.For example, as you can see in this photo , the mother has a “pouch” just like a Kangaroo. In this case, the mama actually has TWIN babies in her pouch – and on average she’ll only have 2-3 babies a year. In other words, it’s nothing like the responsibility of having “rodents” as household pets – which can often have dozens of babies in a single year.
Incidentally, this is also the reason why you will almost never see Sugar Gliders in “pet shops”. Because they breed so slowly (again, only 2-3 babies/year on average) it’s not really lucrative to breed them commercially.
How are they with TRAVELING? Can I leave them home alone for several days at a time?
Because they become loving members of the family SO quickly, many people actually prefer to travel with their Gliders. Compared to almost any other household pet like a cat or dog – Sugar Gliders tend to be excellent companions when traveling. This is largely due to their small size – and the fact that their Travel Cage and supplies don’t take up a lot of space. Like traveling with any animal, you just want to be responsible and call ahead to make sure that your destination (ie. hotel, etc..) allows pets.If you are going to be away from home for a few days – and can’t take your little one(s) with you – the best thing to do is just take your cage over to a friend’s house. Being very social animals, they will enjoy having other people around – and since they are relatively simple to care for, (and don’t “stink” like hamsters or gerbils), most “babysitters” won’t mind having them in their house for a few days.
How COLD can they get?
For example, since most homes keep their thermostats set in the mid-to-low 70′s, we always include a “heat rock” as a part of the cage setup that comes WITH every baby we sell ( see free special report “Keeping Healthy” for more info ). This heat rock acts like a “furnace” in their house, and you just leave it plugged in all the time. Since they’re not rodents, they won’t typically chew on the chord, and if they ever happen to get cold while in their cage, they’ll just “snuggle-up” close to it.
Now, whenever they’re outside of their cage, a fully-bonded Sugar Glider will almost ALWAYS be “hanging out” somewhere on your body. Since their natural body temperature is 99 degrees Fahrenheit – and ours is 99 degrees Fahrenheit – we are basically just one big “heater” to them. Therefore, if they ever get cold they will just climb inside your shirt or pocket and use YOUR body heat to stay warm. They are just EXTREMELY intelligent little animals, and they make excellent year-round companions in almost any climate.