THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU GET A SUGAR GLIDER AS A PET!

 

Of course you already may know the great things about sugar gliders: They are adorable, soft , furry, fun to watch, and can make loving and rewarding pets.

But here is a little checklist of some of the  not so great points about Sugar Gliders. You should be fully informed before you make a commitment to bring a glider, or any pet, into your home.

Please make note of all points discussed and keep an open mind.  We do not claim to know everything but we can share our experiences with you.

 

Read Carefully!!!!!!!!

How to Buy a Pet Sugar Glider

When we first bought our gliders we were misinformed.  My advice to any potential glider owner is to do as much research as possible.  It can be done on the web, through books, and now through video and audio.  Sadly we do rescue work on gliders that have been abuse, abandoned, or just can not be handled.  Most of the time it is not the owner’s fault. They were just misinformed and did not do the recommended research.  These little guys are not a pet hamster!  They need a lot more attention, caring, handling, and feeding.

One point we must discuss is your consideration of the sex.  There are lots of varying opinions.  I must say that each and every glider, no matter what sex, has their own personality.  Here at our glidery we have not found one more sweeter than the other.  Like people, these guys will have their days.  Some points to consider: males will mark their territories and get a bald spot on their heads, unless fixed from an early age.  But make no mistake about it, girls can also mark their territories, it just seems not to be as strong.

When you decide to purchase a glider please check your local area for veterinarians.  We recommend not waiting until you are in need of one.  Another point is to check out the facility and breeder you are buying from and make sure to see their USDA License.  All breeders must have a license to sell gliders.

Our checklist of items to have prior to bringing home your glider: a nice size cage with vinyl/pvc coated wire, cage pouch and/or nest box, 2 food bowls that will not tip over, leak proof water bottle, bonding/caring pouch, glider cereal, cage toys, running wheel, branches, ropes and/or chains for the cage.


Here are some bad points to consider

Here are some important points to consider when thinking about buying or adopting sugar gliders. They are great animals, but not the ideal pet for everyone.

 

If you feel that you can live with all of these points then you are that special someone to own a Sugar Glider!

 

  1. Gliders usually cannot be house-broken and may carry somewhat of a smell: these little guys will urinate and defecate on you without even thinking about it (just like birds).  They seem to do it just because you are theirs and they want to mark you.  Male gliders mark everything with their scent glands. New gliders and scared gliders let off a skunk like odor to try and scare off what they think is trying to hurt them.  They do not smell as bad as a ferret or hamster but they have a stronger smell then chinchillas.

  2. Gliders are Nocturnal:  what this means is that they sleep in the day and are up at nighttime.  These guys get up around 10 to 11 at night.  They are highly sensitive to light, and so you must use a low-lighting in the room where you interact with them.

  3. Sharp Nails: their nails grow really fast, like cat's claws.  They use these to climb the trees in the wild.  You must keep them trimmed to avoid scratches at playtime as they are just using you as a tree and climbing all over you.

  4. Are Sugar Gliders legal in your state?    Before you decide that you want to adopt a glider you must first check with the USDA (United State Department of Agriculture).  Laws and regulations are different in each state and rules are changing often so check back frequently.  Another important point is if you decide to have babies to sell or give away, you must be USDA licensed, but you do not need a licence just merely to own a glider.

  5. Life Span in captivity: Sugar gliders will live for 10-18 years if they are cared for properly.  This means make sure you have no major changes in your life in the next 10-18 years because gliders bond to their owners especially when bought young.  It is very cruel in a year or two down the road to sell/give the glider to another person.  They will go into a depression missing you and can even turn mean and rebel. They start to groom themselves unmercifully. Some cases of mutilation from depression and loneliness have been found.   

  6. Cage requirements: Your pet is a tree dweller, so the larger the cage the better.  It should have a lot of tree branches, toys, and a running wheel (that will not cause injury to feet or tail), along with a pouch and/or a nest box.  Minimum cage is an 18x18x24 tall.  If you have anything smaller it is just cruel to your glider.  The wider it is along with the height the better the cage.  They love to be high off the ground.

  7. Dietary requirements: These little guys are insectivores.  This means that they like to eat mealworms, crickets and grasshoppers.  Cooked lean chicken and turkey along with a stable dry food called Insectivore can be fed with a consistent diet regimen of 35-50% protein, 50% vegetables and 50% fruit.  So every night you must cut up fresh fruit or vegetables along with protein.  These little guys can be very finicky on what they eat.  So they might eat it tonight but not tomorrow.  Water should be changed every night.  These little guys can dehydrate really fast if they do not get enough water during the day. 

  8. Price for Sugar Gliders: Sugar Gliders can be quite expensive.  A single glider can range between $150.00- $600.00.  This price does not even include the cage, food, accessories, and vitamin/calcium supplement.  The Sugar Gliders are costly to keep so getting a cheap glider will not help on long term bases.  One point that I am trying to make is if you can not afford the animal and accessories and possibly pay for emergency vet visits at any given time, then you can not afford to have one of these guys.

  9. Fragile:  Even though these guys seem to be sturdy they are small in nature and have a small skeletal system.  So young children between the ages 4-8 should not handle since they still love to squeeze their pet that they love and can cause internal injury.  You will not even know until it is too late. 

  10. Vets:  Due to the Sugar Glider being fairly new to the United States a lot of the local vets do not handle exotic pets.  Finding an exotic vet should be researched prior to getting a Sugar Glider.  This saves time in case of an emergency.

  11. Bonding:  Since each glider is so different and independent the bonding process can be different in each case.  Some gliders bond right away and some need a lot of work and time.  You must work every day with these guys on a set time schedule.  This will get them into a routine.  These little guys make a very loud crabbing noise that sound like an electric pencil sharpener.  They can also lunge and bite at you sometimes, even as hard as a hamster.  Some gliders run and hide and want nothing to do with you.  These will take months to come around.  Do not give up and do not let them sit in their cage. That is the worse thing you can do.  Bribes work really well.  Some people carry them in a bonding pouch in the day hours while they sleep.  Remember time, patience, and love works miracles.

  12. Hind leg paralysis: Sugar gliders can get something called hind leg paralysis.  They have found that this is caused from insufficient calcium in the gliders' diet.  During times of stress this can happen too.  A full dose of calcium is needed daily with a multivitamin at least every other day.

If you feel that you can live with all of these points then you are that special someone to own a Sugar Glider.


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