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Can Sugar Gliders Swim? (And Can You Bathe Them?)

Can Sugar Gliders Swim? (And Can You Bathe Them?)
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. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sugar gliders are little adorable animals that have gained wide popularity as pets recently. However, they can be high maintenance and hard to care for.

These adorable pets are exotic, which makes them a bit mysterious. Many of those who keep them as pets still wonder, “Can sugar gliders swim?”

Read on for answers to this question and give you an overview of sugar gliders, their behavior near water, and whether they’d need to take a bath.

Can Sugar Gliders Swim?

Sugar gliders do have the ability to swim but not for long. They swim only to save themselves if they have to. However, they aren’t good swimmers.

Generally speaking, sugar gliders avoid water because they’re arboreal animals that rarely ever need to swim.

Therefore, you shouldn’t take them out for a swim because they don’t really enjoy being near water. It can even be increasingly stressful for them.

More importantly, sugar gliders can easily drown. They can only swim for short distances.

Can You Give a Sugar Glider a Bath?

It’s not necessary to give your sugar glider a bath. Sugar gliders are among the cleanest animals, and they regularly groom themselves.

A healthy sugar glider is always clean and never smells bad, thanks to the extra time it spends grooming.

Why Is Giving Your Sugar Glider a Bath Harmful?

Giving a bath to your sugar glider can be more harmful than you think. Such harm includes:

1 – Extra Stress

A bath will be stressful for your sugar glider. It doesn’t really need baths in the wild and prefers to stay away from the water, if not just to drink. Therefore, submerging your sugar glider in water can be a stressful experience for it.

2 – Natural Oils

A bath would get rid of your little friend’s natural oils. Sugar gliders are typically clean due to their fur’s natural oils. Bathing in itself is harmful to the glider’s natural state.

How to Help Your Sugar Glider Clean Itself?

Normally, you won’t need to help your sugar glider clean itself. However, on some rare occasions, something may get stuck on your glider’s fur that it can’t remove with its regular grooming techniques.

In this case, all you need to do is rub this dirty or sticky spot with a warm damp towel.

Can I Give My Sugar Glider a Sand Bath?

Instead of regular baths, some people think they should give their sugar gliders sand baths. However, this is also not necessary.

Unlike hamsters and Chinchillas that take dust or sand baths, sugar gliders aren’t desert animals. Therefore, they’re not used to that kind of bath either.

Why Does My Sugar Glider Smell Bad?

Sugar gliders are from the marsupial family. These are mammals that carry their babies in their pouches like kangaroos and are covered by fur.

This makes them prone to having a bad odor from time to time. As a pet owner, what can you do to eliminate such odors and keep your pet sugar glider super clean as it naturally is?

Here are some reasons and remedies for this odor:

1 – A Defense Mechanism

When scared, sugar gliders emit a strong foul smell with a white fluid from their rectum. This is the animal’s defense mechanism. Therefore, to avoid it, simply don’t put it in a situation where it has to defend itself.

2 – Diet

Sometimes, the wrong type of food can cause your sugar glider’s urine to smell unpleasant. If you want to prevent this problem, stick to what it eats in nature. A sugar glider eats nectar as well as fruit such as bananas, kiwis, and tomatoes.

3 – Mating Season

Like many other animals, male sugar gliders emit a strong odor during the mating season. There’s no way to avoid this except by neutering your pet.

When Should I Clean My Sugar Glider?

A healthy sugar glider grooms itself fairly well. However, if your furry buddy got sick for any reason, you should start thinking about cleaning it yourself.

It’s important to note that even if you decide to do it yourself, you shouldn’t give it a bath in the regular sense. Instead, just rub its coat with a warm towel.

It’s not recommended to use any type of wet or dry shampoo because it may be harmful to the coat of your sugar glider.

Note that when your sugar glider fails to groom itself, it’s a clear sign that something is wrong, and you should check with your veterinarian.

What Happens If Your Sugar Glider Gets Wet?

Although you shouldn’t let your sugar glider get wet, water isn’t the real concern. It’s rather that getting wet lowers your pet’s body temperature.

Therefore, wetness can have severe consequences for your sugar glider, such as hypothermia and, in rare cases, death.

However, there’s no need to worry if your pet sugar glider gets just a little wet. Some rain won’t kill your furry buddy.

It’s only dangerous if your sugar glider gets wet or if you don’t dry it out quickly enough before its body temperature drops.

How to Avoid Getting Your Sugar Glider Wet

It’s not difficult for your pet sugar glider to avoid water altogether. It all depends on you. Simply avoid any open body of water.

Keep your sugar glider away from bathtubs, swimming pools, and toilets. In fact, a good number of sugar gliders pass away annually due to falling accidentally into open toilets.

Even more importantly, you should teach your kids how to deal with your sugar glider. It’s paramount that they don’t play with the glider near water.

It’s recommended that children don’t play with sugar gliders without parental supervision. Children are curious by nature. They might want to know for themselves what happens if the glider gets wet.

Try to communicate to the children that it’s risky to bring the sugar glider near water and the importance of keeping it dry.

What Do You Do If Your Sugar Glider Gets Wet?

In case your pet sugar glider gets wet by accident, the first step you should take is to dry it off.

After that, you should try to make your sugar glider as warm as possible by taking it into a warm room or wrapping it in a warm towel.

The faster you warm your sugar glider, the weaker the risk becomes. Water is only dangerous due to its ability to reduce your pet’s body temperature drastically.

However, don’t use a blowdryer, no matter how tempting it might seem. It’ll be too much for your sugar glider. The hot air from the blow dryer will lead its body to heat up fast, which can be as harmful as hypothermia.

Final Thoughts

Sugar gliders are marsupials that many people have recently taken up as pets. They’re known for their affectionate look and their ability to glide through the air.

Many people wonder, “Can sugar gliders swim?” The answer is yes, they can swim. However, they can’t do it for long.

Moreover, sugar gliders shouldn’t get wet. Being wet may cause problems. Therefore, in case it happens, dry them off as soon as possible and keep them warm.

Sugar gliders don’t need to take baths and can groom themselves to perfection. If this doesn’t happen, it’s mostly time to visit your vet.

Sugar gliders are adorable little animals that make amazing companions. Consider having a gliding buddy at home!

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