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How Big Do Sugar Gliders Get? (And Does Captivity Affect Growth?)

How Big Do Sugar Gliders Get? (And Does Captivity Affect Growth?)
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.

If you like animals as I do, you have probably heard of a sugar glider. A friend of mine has two beautiful sugar gliders as pets, and I wanted to know more about them to find out if they made good family pets. So I asked her if she could tell me more about them.

My main question to her was, how big do sugar gliders get?

Sugar gliders are small marsupials that do not get very big. If you measure a grown adult sugar glider, they measure between 10-inches and 12-inches. Half of a sugar glider’s length is in its tail. They are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Sugar gliders grow 4-6 ounces when fully grown.

My friend offered to teach me more about sugar gliders. I also started to do more research about them, and I found some very interesting information about these tiny marsupials. I decided to share what I learned from my friend and the information I found through my research in this post.

How Big Do Sugar Gliders Get?

Sugar gliders are small marsupials that can fit in the palm of your hand when they are fully grown. When you measure one from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail, they usually measure 10-inches to 12-inches in length when they are fully grown.

Half of the length of a sugar glider is in the length of its tails, with some sugar glider’s tails growing to a whopping 8-inches in length. Male sugar gliders are the same length as the female, with their tails also taking up half of their length.

Does Their Gliding Membrane Add to Their Weight or Size?

Sugar gliders have a skin-like membrane that connects their front and back legs together and is spread a few millimeters to the side. It’s the membrane they use to glide from tree to tree in the wild or around the house for those who have them as pets.

Their gliding membrane allows them to jump and spread their front legs and back legs wide, stretching the membrane taught and gliding to the object they were aiming at. The extra skin allows them to use the gliding membrane like a parachute.

The gliding membrane might stretch to the length and width of their bodies, but overall it adds very little extra length, width, or weight to their bodies. It is soft and covered in fur, but the membrane can easily tear, so they need extra space when they jump from branch to branch.

So while it does not add to their overall size, it does affect how much stuff should be in their cage and how high their nest boxes need to be. They are full of energy in the nighttime and love to cling to places they feel safe.

How Big Should a Sugar Glider Cage Be?

Because sugar gliders love to jump and glide, they need a cage that can accommodate their jumping activity and give them enough space for their food and a safe space to sleep. The size of a sugar glider’s cage must be at least 24-inches x 36-inches x 36-inches or 61cm x 91cm x 91cm in size. Keep in mind that sugar gliders are very active and need enough room to do so.

It allows the sugar glider enough space to exercise, eat and have a nest box to sleep safely during the day. Some people like to use cages with wire bottoms because they are easier to clean, but most experts agree that using a plastic bottom plate is better for your sugar glider. The reason for this is the wire bottoms are tough on the feet of animals and can lead to hobbled feet or severe injuries.

Sugar gliders also have feet that can curl easily and are made to grip branches, so their feet can easily get damaged if it should wrap around some wire and get stuck. As keeping pet sugar gliders is becoming more popular, the different types of cages you can find have grown to accommodate sugar gliders better.

If you put the nesting box higher up in the cage, you need to ensure that there is enough room between the nesting box and the top of the cage, so the sugar glider doesn’t rub its elbows against the roof of the cage as they can easily tear their gliding membrane this way.

How Much Do Sugar Gliders Weigh?

Sugar gliders can weigh between four to six ounces or 80-160 grams when fully grown, making them some of the lightest pets; that’s the length and weight you might find in a squirrel or a chipmunk. Female sugar gliders typically weigh around four to five ounces.

The female sugar gliders have a pouch where they keep and nurse their young. This pouch typically grows to around .5-inches wide. They keep their young in the pouch for the first eight weeks of their life. However, the males can weigh between 30-40 grams more than the females. They also don’t have a pouch because they do not need to nurse the young.

When sugar gliders are born, the joeys are not fully formed. They are the size of a grain of rice, and they weigh only 0.2 grams. They will then immediately attach themselves to one of the mother’s four nipples, and that is why they stay in their mother’s pouch for at least eight weeks until they are fully developed and can fend for themselves.

Once the joey has latched to a nipple, it will swell around the tiny sugar glider’s mouth, and the joey will stay latched to the mother for the remaining eight to nine weeks until it’s old enough to leave the pouch.

How Long Does It Take for Sugar Gliders to Be Fully Grown?

The sexual maturity of sugar gliders can vary, but the females typically reach adulthood at around 8-12 months old, and the males reach adulthood at between 12-15 months old.

Sugar gliders have a longer lifespan in captivity than they do out in the wild, where they will become prey within a few years. Most sugar gliders in captivity can live between 10-12 years and if they are properly cared for, socialized, and loved.

Do Sugar Gliders Get Bigger in the Wild Than in Captivity?

There is much information on the size difference between how big sugar gliders get in the wild vs. how big sugar gliders get in captivity. Most sugar gliders grow to at least 10-inches in captivity, but due to food shortages, weather conditions, and natural predators, they don’t always live to grow to their full size or weight.

After a lot of research, we discovered that most experts agree that sugar gliders grow a little bigger in captivity because:

  • They have more access to food,
  • The food they get is specially formulated to keep them in the best physical shape, whereas in the wild, they have to eat the food that is available at any given time.
  • They won’t become prey to predators before they have reached maturity.
  • They have to hunt down food in the wild and burn more calories because of this, but in captivity, they don’t have to hunt for food, so they can get a bit bigger as they burn fewer calories.
  • Most pet owners love their pets a lot, and we tend to overfeed them because we love them so much and want only the best for them. When you consider this, it’s safe to assume that pet sugar gliders are at least heavier than wild sugar gliders.

How Does Captivity Influence the Size of a Sugar Glider?

Sugar gliders are very social marsupials and need to be with other sugar gliders for companionship. Sugar gliders do get attached to their human owners, but they need to be around other sugar gliders to feel safe and happy.

Humans cannot offer the same level of companionship as other sugar gliders, and the lack of companionship can lead to mental, behavioral, and even physical problems. It can lead to growth and health issues if a sugar glider is housed on its own.

So before you go to the pet shop and buy one sugar glider, it’s better to get at least two or three at one time so they can socialize and have the companionship they crave. Most experts agree that keeping two or three sugar gliders in one cage is a great way to keep them happy without overwhelming the owner.

Final Thoughts

If you are thinking of getting a pet, it’s important to know as much about the animal you want to get as possible. Sugar gliders are no exception. Sugar gliders can grow between 10-inches and 12-inches long, with half or more than half of the length consisting of their tails.

Fully grown female sugar gliders weigh between 4-5 ounces, including their pouch and gliding membrane. The male sugar gliders usually weigh 4-6 ounces, around 30 to 40 grams more than females, and they don’t have a pouch as they don’t need to feed young.

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