Many people are beginning to purchase sugar gliders as pets. You might want to do some research before deciding if this animal is a good pet for your home.
They’re undeniably cute animals that can be fun to care for. Overall, there are many positive reasons to consider buying a sugar glider.
What about potential downsides? Do sugar gliders carry any diseases that you should worry about?
Below, you’ll learn everything that you need to know about this topic. It’ll ensure that you understand what to expect so you can decide whether a pet sugar glider makes sense for you.
Sugar Gliders Can Carry Diseases
Yes, sugar gliders can carry diseases. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for sugar gliders to carry diseases.
Sugar gliders are often caught in the wild and imported to be sold as pets. These sugar gliders might carry various diseases.
What Diseases Can Sugar Gliders Carry?
There are a few different diseases that sugar gliders can carry. It’s good to know about them so you can understand what to expect.
Just know that sugar gliders won’t always carry these diseases. It’s simply a possibility that you need to be aware of.
1 – Leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is a type of bacterial infection that is caused by bacteria known as Leptospira. When this disease is present, it’ll cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, and chills.
In many ways, the symptoms of this bacterial infection mirror the flu. It can be rather troublesome and has even led to severe issues such as kidney failure and meningitis.
When sugar gliders have this infection, you’ll likely notice that they will have a fever and kidney problems. The sugar glider will not appear to be well.
Thus, the chances of getting this from a healthy sugar glider will be almost zero. It’s unlikely that you wouldn’t notice that the sugar glider is sick.
2 – Salmonellosis
Salmonellosis is something that you’re likely familiar with. This is caused by exposure to salmonella bacteria.
You know that being exposed to raw chicken and other types of contaminated foods. It’s important to know that sugar gliders are also carriers of this bacteria.
Salmonella can be found in the fecal matter of these creatures. Thus, you have to be careful when cleaning the cage and picking up after your sugar glider friend.
The bacteria are also present on their bodies. Whenever you interact with the pet or handle it, take your time to wash your hands thoroughly.
Use antibacterial soap and hot water to scrub yourself clean. Some recommend wearing a mask when cleaning the sugar glider cage as well.
This is because airborne transmission can occur. You want to take precautions against salmonella when you own sugar gliders as pets.
3 – Giardiasis
Giardiasis is a type of parasitic infection that impacts the intestinal area. Contracting such a problematic condition will lead to extreme diarrhea issues.
Often, people who contract this infection deal with severe abdominal cramps. Watery stool and abdominal pain might persist for well over a month depending on how things go.
It’s not unusual for people to become dehydrated due to diarrhea. If dehydration becomes severe, you might need to receive an IV.
The troubling truth is that sugar gliders commonly carry this parasite. Not all sugar gliders will carry the parasite, but well over 10% will.
The parasite can be passed through the feces, and you must take precautions. Ideally, you want to wear gloves whenever cleaning the sugar glider’s cage.
Can Sugar Gliders Give Diseases to Humans?
Sugar gliders can indeed give diseases to humans. There are many ways that this can occur.
It’s common for people to be exposed to salmonella simply by interacting with these animals. If you’re not careful, you might get sick simply due to not washing your hands well enough.
Likewise, it’s easy to get sick by handling the feces that these animals produce. When you’re cleaning the cage, it’s recommended to wear a mask so you don’t get sick.
You should also wear gloves to protect your hands. Airborne exposure is possible, and that’s why you want to wear a mask.
Getting bitten by the sugar glider has the potential to make you sick, too. Biting is pretty common until the sugar glider has fully bonded with you.
You must be careful to avoid situations where you might get sick. Take the necessary precautions so you can enjoy your pet without putting yourself in harm’s way.
Can Sugar Gliders Give Diseases to Other Pets?
It’s certainly possible for sugar gliders to spread diseases to other pets. However, it’s unlikely that you’re going to allow the sugar glider to interact with other pets.
Therefore, it might not matter much that it’s possible for sugar gliders to transfer illnesses to other animals. For example, you wouldn’t want to let a dog or a cat anywhere near a sugar glider.
Dogs and cats are predators that would see sugar gliders as prey. Even if your pets are very well-behaved, the presence of cats or dogs will cause a sugar glider significant stress.
It’s not wise to keep sugar gliders near dogs and cats. If you’re going to keep a sugar glider in the same home as dogs and cats, you should keep the sugar glider cage in a sequestered room.
Keep this in mind because you don’t want to take unnecessary risks. For many, it might not be practical to own sugar gliders and other pets.
Should You Worry?
You don’t necessarily need to worry about sugar gliders carrying diseases. It’s simply best to take the potential seriously.
Sugar gliders can be great pets, but you need to take the right precautions. Handle sugar gliders with care and do your best to bond with them.
Once you’re fully bonded with a sugar glider, it’s a lot less likely that you’re going to be bitten. You can also take steps to avoid exposing yourself to harmful bacteria by using gloves and a mask.
Be mindful of the danger when cleaning the sugar glider’s cage. Always remember to wash your hands when you’re finished cleaning the cage to be safe.
Do your best to wash up after handling the sugar glider or playing with it. If you’re taking these steps, it’s likely that all will be well.
Sugar Gliders Might Not Be For Everybody
It’s also true that sugar gliders might not be the best pets for everybody. Depending on the situation, you might not want to buy sugar gliders for your home.
As mentioned earlier, sugar gliders aren’t going to like being around dogs and cats. If you own dogs and cats already, it might not be as easy to own sugar gliders.
Often, these animals will become agitated if you get near them while smelling like your dogs and cats. Since animals have keen senses of smell, it’s not always easy to make things work out.
It can be okay if you sequester the sugar glider, but it’s still a bit of a risk. For some, it might not seem worth it to buy a sugar glider when they own other pets.
Also, having to take so many precautions might be a nuisance. It just depends on how you feel about everything.
Take the time to think about how you feel. You shouldn’t buy sugar gliders unless you’re truly prepared to care for them.
Caring for them means meeting all of their basic care needs and providing them with a safe environment where they can thrive. It’ll also involve learning how to interact with them safely.
They aren’t necessarily dangerous animals, but you do have to approach keeping them as pets differently when compared to many other animals. Do your best to make a good decision for your home and family.
What Should You Do if You Get Sick?
If you’re worried that you’ve become sick, it’s best to contact your doctor right away. Salmonella poisoning can be a serious problem that will cause you to feel horrible.
Contact your doctor and get advice right away. If you feel very ill, you can always go to the emergency room for immediate treatment.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to a doctor when you feel sick. Hopefully, you won’t get sick due to interacting with your pet sugar glider.
If you follow the advice you were given, it should be simple enough to do things safely. This doesn’t mean that mistakes can’t be made, though.
Now you know that sugar gliders can carry diseases. There are many diseases that these cute pets have the potential to carry.
Sadly, they can pass these diseases to humans in various ways. You could get sick due to being bitten.
It’s also common to be exposed to bacteria through touching fecal matter or being exposed to urine. Even handling the sugar glider could make you sick if you don’t wash your hands thoroughly when you’re done.
Be careful and take precautions. Use a mask and gloves whenever you clean the sugar glider’s cage.
If you do things the right way, you should be able to enjoy your pet sugar glider without getting sick. Be sure to let your family and friends know what you learned today if they’ve been considering buying sugar gliders of their own.
I have a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house. Growing up, I had pet dogs, cats, deer, sugar gliders, chinchillas, a bird, chickens, fish, and a goat.