So Sweet: Sugar Gliders As Pets

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sugar glider

What, you might ask, is a sugar glider?  A sugar glider is a small marsupial native to Australia and Indonesia.  Adults grow to be 12 – 13 inches long.  The fur is gray on the back, with a black stripe, and the underbelly is a cream color.  The eyes are large and slightly protruding.  Their paws are equipped with claws that assist in grabbing branches and hanging on. Sugar gliders are called such due to their diet of nectar and fruit, coupled with the flap of skin stretching between the front and back legs, which allows the sugar glider to “fly” much like a flying squirrel.

Popularity Contest

Sugar gliders are a trendy pet right now.  Sugar gliders are both cute and unusual looking, which draws people in.  Many times people will be acquainted with someone who acquires one (or two, because they need the company of their own kind) sugar glider, or happen to see some in the pet store or at the fair.  Once you see one, it’s hard to resist them.  These exotic pets are not legal everywhere, so be sure to verify if you can keep sugar gliders as pets where you live.  It will be necessary to check with local and state agencies to be sure of the legality of keeping sugar gliders, so a fair bit of research is required, but worth it in the long run to be sure.

Do Sugar Gliders Make Good Pets?

The short answer is yes, if you are willing to put in the time and attention it takes to care for these tiny pets.  Sugar gliders are social animals and interact well with both humans and their own kind.  What this means for you is that you must be willing to give a home to at least two gliders to provide the companionship they require to thrive.  Left alone, they do not do well and may even die.

Even with two or more gliders, they will still need a lot of interaction with their human family.  They require frequent handling and play with you outside of their cage every day.  Being mostly nocturnal they will be up at night playing and moving around, so be prepared for that.

In for the Long Haul

Although sugar gliders make good pets when treated properly, they are not an easy pet, by any means.  You must be aware of and ready to commit to providing for their needs.  It is not responsible or kind to acquire an animal as a pet and fail to provide for their needs.

Sugar gliders can live up to fourteen years, so the time commitment is comparable to a dog or cat.  They will need to have fresh fruit daily and a fairly large cage to allow for movement and play.  As mentioned, they are nocturnal and also very vocal with a bark somewhat like a dog.  Be prepared for this to go on every night for the next twelve to fourteen years, and plan cage placement accordingly.

Sugar gliders can make wonderful pets.  They will bond with their human family and love being in your company riding all day in your pocket if you like.  As with any pet, research before committing to ensure the best experience for both of you.

Photo Credit:  istockphoto.com

Do you own a sugar glider?

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