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 tiny wild animals that live mostly in trees. They also go by the name “Sugar Bears” or “Honey Gliders.” Although illegal in some states, people tend to have them as pocket-size pets.
Sugar gliders have a complex communication system through scents produced by their glands. They also communicate through various sounds, each with a different meaning. They hiss, bark, purr, crab, and much more.
If you’re wondering how sugar gliders communicate, keep reading, as we’ve gathered everything you need to know in this article.
Due to their small build, sugar gliders stand no chance against predators. However, their ability to jump and glide through the air from tree to tree helps them to escape dangerous situations easily.
Sugar gliders need to communicate to alert other sugar gliders when spotting a predator. They also make a crabbing sound to scare animals away. Additionally, they tend to chatter and communicate with each other inside their nests.
Sugar gliders communicate through two main systems. They have a chemical communication system, as well as a verbal one.
They communicate through scents produced by different glands in their body. The main glands responsible for communication in males are the sternal, frontal, and urogenital glands.
Females, on the other hand, produce those scents through their pouch and urogenital glands. Each sugar glider has a distinctive scent which makes them recognizable to other sugar gliders.
The dominant male uses its own saliva to mark all colony members including himself. This makes it easier for them to spot other sugar gliders that belong to their colony.
Sugar gliders use a variety of noises and sounds to communicate with each other. They even use the same sounds to communicate with humans.
Sugar gliders have a wide range of sounds, each with a different meaning. We are learning more and more about those meanings, since people started having sugar gliders as pets.
Below are eight of the most common noises that sugar gliders make to communicate.
Sugar gliders bark a lot and their barking sounds like a small puppy’s. Just like dogs, sugar gliders bark for many reasons.
In the wild, sugar gliders may bark to warn each other of a possible threat. As a result, all other sugar gliders will freeze. Freezing will reduce the possibility of being spotted by a predator.
They also bark as a part of the mating process when searching for a mate. If you have a pet sugar glider, it might be barking for other different reasons. Maybe it’s feeling excited, hungry, or annoyed.
Your sugar glider might also bark because it’s feeling bored and wants to play. Sugar gliders are sociable animals and they don’t like to be alone. Furthermore, it could be trying to call you or grab your attention.
Crabbing, like barking, is one of the most common noises sugar gliders use to communicate. When sugar gliders make a crabbing noise, it somehow sounds like a really loud swarm of crickets or locusts.
Sugar gliders usually use the crabbing sound as an attempt to scare off predators. They have no other way to fight than being brave and acting bigger than they really are.
Pet sugar gliders rarely make a crabbing sound, as they are used to the environment in captivity and well-bonded with their person.
They also make crabbing sounds when they are suddenly startled, frightened, or anxious.
Sugar gliders sometimes make hissing noises. Though it’s similar to cats hissing, it doesn’t always indicate that they’re angry. Hissing ranges from slow elongated hisses to fast and short hisses that sound like sneezing.
Sometimes sugar gliders greet each other with a little hiss. They mostly make hissing noises while grooming. For example, they make short little hisses when they spit on their hands to clean up using the saliva.
Unfortunately, if sugar gliders are excessively hissing, and it sounds like wheezing, that might indicate a serious medical issue. Other than that, sugar glider hissing is completely normal.
Sugar gliders make really faint cat-like purring sounds. Sometimes it’s really hard to hear.
Sugar gliders, just like cats, make purring noises when they feel safe and peaceful.
The chirping sounds that a sugar glider makes are really adorable especially when mixed with little squeaks or clicking.
Sugar gliders make chirping noises while munching on their favorite food. It’s a sign that a sugar glider is happy and content.
Sugar gliders make crying noises that sound like whimpering or whining and it gets often confused with crabbing.
Sugar gliders cry when not feeling OK. Additionally, crying noises are made by joeys, which are newborn sugar gliders.
Sugar gliders make fighting noises, that sounds like a mix of barking, crabbing, and squeezing.
Sugar gliders make fighting noises while jumping around as a sign of dominance. Fighting noises are often a sign of fussing or annoyance.
Female sugar gliders usually make singing noises to their joeys while nursing. It sounds like singing with different notes and pitches.
Female sugar gliders often make singing noises trying to comfort or adjust their babies inside the pouch. It could also be a sign of love and happiness.
Sugar gliders have a wide variety of communication methods. A few of them vary depending on gender. Sometimes they interact verbally by making different noises and sounds. Other times they use scents to help them communicate non-verbally.
Sugar gliders are high-maintenance animals. However, having them as pets has been a nice experience for many people around the world. Therefore, we now know how sugar gliders communicate, and what each sound means.
Finally, It’s better not to isolate your sugar glider as they get easily bored and lonely. They’re better off in groups than being alone.