The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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Sugar gliders are becoming more well-known in North America. These pets were once considered to be quite niche, but they’re approaching a level of popularity that will bring them into the mainstream.
Despite being rather popular right now, many people still don’t know much about these animals. You likely know what they look like and that they’re adorable.
Perhaps you’re not even sure what type of animal a sugar glider is. Are sugar gliders rodents or are they some other type of animal?
Read on to learn more about sugar gliders. You’ll learn about the classification of sugar gliders as well as other interesting facts.
Sugar Gliders Aren’t Rodents
No, sugar gliders aren’t rodents. Many people mistake these cute little animals for rodents because of how they look.
Sugar gliders do look similar to squirrels and some other types of rodents. They simply aren’t classified as rodents.
Even though they look like squirrels to many people, they’re still a different type of animal. What are sugar gliders if they aren’t rodents, though?
Sugar Gliders Are Marsupials
Sugar gliders are actually marsupials. They’re classified as marsupials because they carry their babies in small pouches.
This means that marsupials are more closely related to kangaroos than they are squirrels or other types of rodents.
These marsupials are essentially a type of nocturnal possum that is capable of gliding. They’re rather small, and that’s why people mistake them for rodents.
Now you know what sugar gliders really are. It should make you think about them differently moving forward.
Where Do Sugar Gliders Come From?
In the wild, you’ll find sugar gliders living in rainforests. They’re typically found in areas such as Australia and Indonesia.
You can also find sugar gliders living in Papua New Guinea. They love living in tropical and cool rainforest environments.
A sugar glider will find shelter somewhere above ground. Often, they will live in leaf nests or take shelter inside tree hollows.
It’s common for these animals to mark areas of land as their territory. They might consider several acres of land to be their territory and they will attempt to protect it.
How Large Are Sugar Gliders?
As you likely know, sugar gliders aren’t very large animals. You might be wondering exactly how big they can get as they mature, though.
These animals usually grow to be between 6.3 and 7.5 inches at maturity. They have long tails that are about the same length as their bodies.
Male sugar gliders typically weigh more than females. A healthy male will weigh around 4.9 ounces while a healthy female will stay close to 4.1 ounces.
You should have no trouble fitting a sugar glider in your hands. They’re never going to grow to be incredibly large.
How Do Sugar Gliders Glide?
To glide, a sugar glider must first climb to a high location. It’ll climb on top of a tree or something else that’s tall and then start gliding.
The animal uses many things to be able to glide. It possesses a special membrane that helps it to glide through the air.
Gliding requires the use of the arms, legs, special membrane, and tail. The membrane works like a parachute that helps the sugar glider to travel a long distance.
Sugar gliders have the potential to glide up to 150 feet. Of course, this depends on how high the sugar glider is when it begins gliding.
How Long Do Sugar Gliders Live?
Sugar gliders actually live for many years. In the wild, these animals usually only live for three to nine years.
They actually live for longer periods of time in captivity. This is partially because it’s safer and easier for them to maintain a healthy diet.
Captive sugar gliders typically live for ten to twelve years. They can live for fifteen years or slightly longer, but this isn’t common.
Expect to care for your sugar glider pet for quite some time if you choose to buy one. They can be a lot of fun to own, but you should be sure that you’re ready for the responsibility before moving forward.
What Do Sugar Gliders Eat?
You need to feed sugar gliders a mixture of different things. They need to eat fruits, veggies, and protein.
Often, people will feed sugar gliders commercial food to provide them with the protein that they need. In the wild, they like to eat insects as a protein source.
You’ll likely want to feed them some type of protein-based cube daily. Then you’ll feed them veggies and fruits at night.
One tablespoon of fruit and one tablespoon of vegetables will suffice. You don’t want to feed sugar gliders too much or they will deal with obesity issues.
Do Sugar Gliders Bite?
Yes, sugar gliders do bite people when they’re first bought as pets. It takes sugar gliders some time to bond with their new owners.
At first, the sugar glider might bite you because it’s scared. As it gets used to your scent and being around you, it’ll come to trust you.
Typically, it takes four to six weeks to fully bond with a sugar glider. You can speed this process up by putting a blanket that has your scent on it in the cage with the sugar glider.
Otherwise, just spending time with the sugar glider is important. Try to bond with it and it should start trusting you soon enough.
Sugar Gliders Should Be Kept in Pairs
Buying just one sugar glider as a pet is not recommended. You want to have at least two of them.
These animals will get very lonely if they don’t have another sugar glider around. You’re not going to be able to hang out with the sugar glider all day yourself because you have responsibilities.
Ideally, you want to buy another sugar glider of the same sex. This will keep the sugar gliders from being able to breed.
The sugar gliders should be very happy in your home. Provide them with a good habitat that gives them enough room to thrive.
You’ll Need an Exotic Veterinarian
A standard veterinarian might not know how to deal with sugar gliders. Marsupials aren’t the most common types of pets in North America.
Thus, you’ll want to find an exotic veterinarian in your area that has experience treating sugar gliders. You might need help over the years to keep your sugar gliders healthy.
It will require you to make some calls to find a vet that can help you. There should be one in your area that will have the required knowledge.
Many exotic vets are getting used to dealing with sugar gliders. They’ve been rising in popularity as pets over the last decade, and that doesn’t seem to be slowing down soon.
Sugar gliders aren’t rodents at all. They’re actually marsupials.
This means that they’re in the same animal category as kangaroos and koalas. You can find sugar gliders living in Australian rainforests as well as Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
These animals are becoming rather popular pets. Do your best to care for them and they can be fun to have in your home.
Just make sure that you’re committed to caring for them before you make any purchasing decisions. It’s never good to buy a pet that you’re not truly prepared for.