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How to Breed Sugar Gliders (101 Guide)

How to Breed Sugar Gliders (101 Guide)

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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Honestly, breeding sugar gliders isn’t complicated at all. You just need to place one male sugar glider with a female in the same cage, and they should eventually mate.

So, yeah! The act of breeding them is simple. The challenging part is knowing how to care for them. Sugar gliders are different from most pets we raise in our houses.

As a breeder, it’s your responsibility to educate yourself about sugar gliders and provide them with all the care and love they need.

If you’re looking into how to be a successful sugar glider breeder, check out our complete guide on how to breed sugar gliders.

Let’s begin!

Is a License Required to Breed Sugar Gliders?

First and foremost, you need to check if you need a license to breed sugar gliders in your state.

Since sugar gliders are exotic animals, you might need a permit or a license in your state to even own them.

Under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), people who breed, sell, buy, or trade exotic animals are required to be registered or licensed with USDA.

However, this situation varies from state to state, and from one city to another. So, it’s best to contact your local and state authorities to figure out their regulations for breeding sugar gliders.

Mating in Sugar Gliders

Sugar gliders start mating when they reach puberty, which is at a very young age. Females reach puberty at 8 to 12 months old, while males reach puberty at 12 to 15 months old.

So, while we still don’t know how to walk at the age of 12 months, sugar gliders reproduce at the same age.

Once they reach maturity, there isn’t really anything you need to do to help them in the mating process. They don’t require any complicated mating rituals.

All you need to do is to place healthy male and female sugar gliders together in a cage. Their mating process is no different from any other animal either. So, you’ll know when they’re doing their own thing.

As for how often sugar gliders mate, this depends on when females go into heat. This happens every 28-29 days.

What if My Sugar Gliders Don’t Mate?

Usually, sugar gliders aren’t picky with their mating partners. However, you may find that your breeding pair doesn’t want to mate.

In this case, you can try using different gliders. One hack that many sugar glider breeders do is that they keep several breeding pairs.

This hack allows you to try different breeding pairs so you never face the no-mating problem. Besides, it provides you with constant baby gliders.

How Do I Know That My Sugar Gliders Are Mating?

Well, you simply catch them during the act. Or you’ll probably hear them. I know how weird those words sound, but that’s how you find out whether they’re mating.

Sugar gliders tend to make noises while they’re mating, which sounds like they’re fighting.

Sugar Gliders Pregnancy

You probably won’t notice when your female sugar glider is pregnant. It’s not physically visible, but her attitude changes.

She becomes more restless, less friendly, and eats more than she usually does. The gestation period for sugar gliders lasts only 15 to 17 days.

It’s important during this period to provide your pregnant glider with a stress-free environment to have a healthy pregnancy.

Sugar gliders usually give birth to one or two joeys. They’re capable of having three joeys at the same time, but it’s not common.

They might even have twins. Just to let you know, a baby glider is called a joey. You’ll find us mentioning this name a lot.

Although sugar gliders mate all year round, females only have 3 or 2 litters a year. Based on this, one female sugar glider can have between 20 to 60 babies in a lifetime.

Birth in Sugar Gliders

If you don’t know anything about the birthing process in sugar gliders, buckle up because it’ll be the strangest thing you’ve ever heard about.

When a sugar glider gives birth, a tiny, pink, worm-like joey comes out of her vagina. This is her baby.

Joeys are born very underdeveloped with no ears or eyes and their pink skin exposed. Don’t worry; that’s how they’re supposed to look like.

Immediately after the birth, each joey has to migrate to its momma’s pouch. How do they do that if they’re underdeveloped?

They rely on their instincts. The mom helps in this process by licking herself. By this, she creates a trail of saliva that the joeys follow to the pouch.

Other than that, the mom can’t assist with anything, and neither can you. Your number one role in this is to not freak the mom out.

Unfortunately, unsuccessful migration to the pouch means death for the joey.

In the Pouch (ITP) Stage

Once the joeys make it safely to the pouch, they’ll attach themselves to any of the four nipples. Remember, joeys at this stage are very underdeveloped, which means that they don’t have jaw muscles.

Since they can’t suckle milk by themselves yet, the nipple instead swells in their mouths. Joeys will remain stuck in place for about 8 to 10 weeks until they’re more developed.

During the ITP stage is when you can notice the physical signs of pregnancy on the mother. At about 2 to 3 weeks of the joeys entering the pouch, you can notice her stomach swelling a bit.

It’s best not to do anything that disturbs the mom during this period. So, avoid trying to check how many babies she has inside her pouch.

At about 6 weeks after entering the pouch, joeys develop jaw muscles that allow them to suckle milk on their own. So, they disengage from the nipples.

This is when the mom’s abdomen seems way larger. At about eight weeks, you may start seeing parts of the joeys from the pouch.

Keep in mind that they still can’t leave the pouch at this stage. So, don’t attempt to get them out of there.

Out of the pouch (OOP) Stage

This stage can be difficult for joeys, as they feel reluctant to join the outside world. Who can judge them, right?

It’s also challenging for new owners because this is when you’re going to get in contact with your new baby gliders.

Short Visits to the Outside

At about 10 weeks inside the pouch, joeys start getting out for short visits. The moment they leave the pouch, it’s supposed to be their birthday. You might want to mark that up on the calendar.

They only get out of the pouch for solid meals. However, their main source of nutrition is still going to be milk.

Joeys will stay inside the pouch with short visits to the outside world until they’re too big to fit in. This is usually when they’re about 4 months old.

Even then, they might crawl their body out of the pouch and leave their heads inside for a couple of days.

Getting Out of the Pouch for Forever

When they finally have the courage to get out of the pouch, their eyes will still be shut for about 10 days.

At this stage, joeys weigh less than an ounce with light, short fur. They’ll still suckle milk from their mom until they’re 5 months old.

Joeys are usually attached to their parents at this age. They might spend most of their time riding on the back of either their parents.

After about 2 to 4 weeks of being OOP, their fur should get thicker and cover most of their bodies. At about 5 weeks OOP, their ears perk up.

When they’re 6 weeks OOP, you can start weaning them.

Sugar glider dads play a big role in raising the kids. They take care of the kids when the mom is on a break.

When the father is absent, this stresses the mom out, which might cause the mom to reject the babies.

How to Care for Joeys

Usually, the mother will be on top of her mom’s duties and she’ll be the one doing most of the work. However, you have a big role in providing them with the essentials they need.

Feeding

As you know by now, joeys will rely mainly on milk until they’re 10 weeks ITP. After that, they come out of the pouch occasionally for meals.

Semi-solid meals are the best in this case. Something like baby food or low-fat fruit yogurt work will do it for them.

Starting from 6 weeks OOP, you can start weaning your joeys. Foods that you can use to wean them include:

  • Gatorade
  • Commercial pellets
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Protein

Mixing Gatorade with the joeys’ water is a great way to encourage them to stay hydrated. Plus, they enjoy its taste.

Once you notice that they’re comfortable drinking their water, start reducing the amount of Gatorade in the water. The goal here is to get them used to drinking straight water.

Fruits are important in a sugar glider’s diet. They can eat both fresh and frozen fruits. However, you need to fully defrost frozen fruits before serving them to your joeys.

You can feed your joeys fruits, such as:

  • Mangoes
  • Bananas
  • Pineapples
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Grapefruit
  • Figs

Sugar gliders, including your joeys, should eat fruits on a daily basis. Fruits and vegetables should make up about 25% of their diet.

Vegetables that you can feed your joeys include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Lettuce
  • Asparagus
  • Cucumber
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes

Be careful not to overfeed your sugar gliders foods that are high in oxalates, such as beets and figs. Oxalates can limit calcium absorption, which is important for gliders’ health.

Commercial pellets should up about one-third of your joeys’ diet. As for protein, you can feed them hard-boiled eggs or insects.

Protein should make up about 50% of your gliders’ diet. Combining commercial pellets and other sources of protein is a good way to suffice your pets’ protein needs.

Sugar gliders don’t need much food in one day. In fact, they only require not more than two tablespoons of food a day.

What if the Mom Rejects Her Joeys?

A mother can reject her joeys if she’s stressed out. In this case, you’re the one who’s going to step up for this job.

For this job, you can use a nursing set. This is a kit that comes with a milk replacer and syringes or droppers that you can use to feed your joeys.

It’s highly recommended to read and follow the instructions on the kit’s package. It’ll tell how to feed the baby and how much to use.

Handling

Handling and social interaction are important aspects of taking care of sugar gliders, especially joeys. They’re highly social pets.

If you want them to bond with you, you need to get used to handling them. Being gentle is the key here.

You don’t want them to be frightened by you. So, always be gentle and patient when it comes to handling them.

In addition, making them get used to human contact is an important role as a breeder. Buyers love sugar gliders that like to play with their owners.

How to Know the Gender of My Sugar Glider

As a breeder, this is a skill that you need to master. It’s actually fairly easy to detect the gender of mature gliders.

Females have pouches, which are openings that sit in the middle of their abdomen. In female joeys, you can still find the pouch on them, but it’ll look like a tiny slit in their stomach.

If you can’t find the pouch, then it’s a male. There’s a difference between finding a pouch and a pump on their stomach.

A pouch is like a slit or a pocket in the abdomen. However, if you find a pump on the stomach, it means that you found the scrotum of your male joey.

Some people mistake a glider’s scrotum with his penis. Sugar gliders don’t have separate openings for defecating and reproducing.

Instead, their worm-like penis extends from the rectum opening.

Keep Lineage Records

Breeders need to keep lineage records for each sugar glider they have. Inbreeding in sugar gliders is extremely dangerous.

Inbreeding can cause serious genetic deformities, such as missing eyes or limbs, poor immune systems, seizures, and inbreeding depression.

You also don’t want to buy your first breeding pair from someone who doesn’t keep lineage records.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, breeding sugar gliders isn’t difficult. However, they demand your full attention to raise beautiful and healthy joeys.

You can start separating your joeys from their parents after the 10th week being OOP. This is when they’re fully weaned and don’t require to be held by their parents constantly.

Responsible breeders should educate their buyers about their pets. You can do that by talking to your buyers or offering the information on your website.

A website is also a great way to advertise for your gliders and grow your followers. Finally, have a vet for your sugar gliders that you can call whenever you need consults.