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What Are Sugar Gliders? (Everything You Need to Know)

What Are Sugar Gliders? (Everything You Need to Know)

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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You’ve probably seen people posting videos of sugar gliders online. It’s common to see videos of these fun little pets on social media.

This is because they’re very cute pets that are a lot of fun to interact with. Some people think that they’re among the most entertaining pets that you can own.

Even if you’ve seen videos of sugar gliders, you might not know much about them. They’re fairly uncommon animals that have even been banned in certain areas.

What are sugar gliders exactly? What types of animals are they?

Read on to learn about sugar gliders and get all sorts of useful information. You’ll feel much more informed about them so you can decide if you’d ever be interested in keeping them as pets.

What Does a Sugar Glider Look Like?

If you haven’t ever seen sugar gliders, you might not even know how cute they are yet. They’re adorable animals that look sort of like flying squirrels.

They are distinct from flying squirrels in many ways, though. These animals have gray fur with black markings.

Their bellies are pale and every sugar glider has a dark stripe that goes down its back. It’s also easy to notice that they have big black eyes.

You’ll also see that these animals have a gliding membrane. The membrane is skin-like and functions to allow sugar gliders to glide for long distances.

They can only glide by climbing things and jumping down. Gliding is a way for these animals to get food in the wild by gliding from tree to tree.

Sugar gliders grow to be between five and twelve inches long. They have big tails that are six to nine inches long.

What Does a Baby Sugar Glider Look Like?

Baby sugar gliders look a lot like adult sugar gliders, but they do have some differences. The first major difference is that they’re rather tiny.

When a baby sugar glider is born, it’s only going to be the size of a grain of rice. The baby sugar glider climbs into the pouch and attaches itself to one of its mother’s nipples.

It takes between fifteen and seventeen days for the babies to gestate. After six weeks have passed, the baby will come out of the pouch.

Generally, you won’t be seeing baby sugar gliders when they’re this young. It is indeed common for people to buy baby sugar gliders as pets, but they shouldn’t be sold to people as pets until they’ve been out of the mother’s pouch for at least twelve weeks.

When you get a baby sugar glider, it’ll look just like a tinier adult sugar glider. It’ll continue to grow as you care for it.

What Are the Different Types of Sugar Gliders?

The sugar gliders that were described to you earlier were the most common types. Standard gray sugar gliders are the ones that are most commonly sold as pets.

You can also find sugar gliders that look a bit different. Black beauty sugar gliders have dark gray fur that almost looks black, and the pattern on their fur is a little bit different as well.

Mosaic sugar gliders are interesting because they have gray fur and patterns that are broken up by white sections of fur. There are other mosaic gliders that have different color combinations, too.

White face blonde sugar gliders have fur that has a golden blonde look. Platinum sugar gliders have white body fur and gray markings.

Ruby platinum sugar gliders are a rarer version. The big difference with these gliders is that they have red eyes instead of big black eyes.

Albino sugar gliders are similar to platinum sugar gliders, but they have very faint markings that can be tough to see. Finally, lion sugar gliders are the most different because they’re an entirely different breed that possesses short noses and round faces.

Are Sugar Gliders Endangered?

No, sugar gliders are not considered to be endangered animals. As of the time of writing, sugar gliders are known to have stable wild populations.

They can be found in large numbers in many different places. Thus, there isn’t any concern at this time.

However, it’s worth noting that this information could change over time. For example, it’s said that the animals that are commonly referred to as sugar gliders actually come from three distinct species.

There could be information that comes out that will find that one of those species should be protected. For now, sugar gliders aren’t on the endangered species list.

What Sugar Gliders Are Endangered?

As of now, there aren’t any sugar gliders that are listed as endangered. Since sugar gliders have stable wild populations, they aren’t protected animals.

This is part of the reason why they’re captured and sold as pets. If they were endangered and protected under laws, this wouldn’t be possible.

Or at least it would be a crime to capture wild sugar gliders. That isn’t the case at the moment, but there are still laws to consider.

They aren’t protected as an endangered species right now. As always, this information can change as time passes.

What is the Lifespan of a Sugar Glider?

Sugar gliders have the potential to live for quite a few years. There are differences between the life expectancy of wild sugar gliders and pet sugar gliders, though.

In the wild, most sugar gliders are expected to live for nine years. Pet sugar gliders have the potential to live a bit longer than that.

A pet sugar glider that is being cared for optimally can live between ten and twelve years. It all comes down to whether you’re meeting the basic care needs of the pet.

If you feed the sugar gliders a good diet and keep them happy, they’ll live for a long time. When you neglect sugar gliders, they can easily die within a few years.

Before buying sugar gliders as pets, be sure to learn about their care needs. This will ensure that you’ll know what to expect so you can do a good job.

You should always expect sugar gliders to live for over a decade. Buying a sugar glider is a commitment, and you’ll be caring for the pet for as long as you would many types of dogs.

Where Do Sugar Gliders Originate From?

You can find wild sugar gliders living in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. These little animals live in trees, and they live in forested areas.

Generally, you’ll find sugar gliders living in tropical sections of the places mentioned above. They can also be found in cool forests, though.

These little animals live in large groups. You can find them living in trees with groups of other sugar gliders.

Since they’re very social animals, they are used to interacting with each other and living together. They use their gliding abilities to stay safe in the trees and avoid predators.

Where Do Sugar Gliders Live in Different Areas of the World?

As mentioned above, sugar gliders are native to Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. They live in tropical areas and cool forests.

Are Sugar Gliders Exotic Pets?

Yes, sugar gliders are exotic pets. They are becoming more popular in modern times, but they’re still uncommon.

You won’t find sugar gliders being sold at every pet store that you visit. Some countries and portions of the United States have banned keeping sugar gliders as pets.

So sugar gliders are exotic pets and a bit out of the ordinary. That doesn’t mean that they’re bad pets, though.

They can be a lot of fun to own and take care of. You simply need to have the right expectations.

Sugar gliders are common enough that many exotic veterinarians are learning how to care for them. So it isn’t overly difficult to find an exotic vet who can treat sugar gliders in the United States and other parts of North America.

Is a Sugar Glider a Mammal?

Sugar gliders are indeed considered to be mammals. Mammals are warm-blooded vertebrates that have either hair or fur.

They’re also characterized as being able to birth live young. Female mammals can secrete milk to feed their young.

By definition, sugar gliders can be considered to be mammals. They can be further classified, but you’ll learn about that in a bit.

One interesting fact to keep in mind is that sugar gliders are one of the three types of living mammals that are capable of gliding. The other gliding mammals include flying squirrels and flying lemurs.

Are Sugar Gliders Nocturnal?

Sugar gliders are nocturnal animals. They aren’t active during the day at all.

Typically, you’ll find sugar gliders hiding out and sleeping during the daytime. They go out at night in the wild.

During the night, sugar gliders will look for food. They’ll glide along the treetops looking for insects, fruit, and other things that they can eat.

When caring for pet sugar gliders, they’re still going to maintain nocturnal schedules. They have eyes that are designed to see in the dark.

So you need to leave the sugar gliders alone during the daytime. You’ll mostly play with them and interact with them in the evening hours before you go to bed.

It’s important to give sugar gliders pouches that they can hide in. This will give them spots where they can sleep during the day.

Some people choose to add other types of shelters to sugar glider cages as well. Now that you know sugar gliders are nocturnal, you can plan things out to have the best experience.

Are Sugar Gliders Marsupials?

Aside from being mammals, sugar gliders can also be classified as marsupials. Marsupials are mammals that possess pouches.

These pouches are used to raise their young. Marsupials have babies that are born without being completely developed.

Marsupial babies climb into their mothers’ pouches to finish developing. They feed on their mother’s milk in the pouches and remain there until the right amount of time has passed.

There are many well-known types of marsupials that you might be familiar with. Kangaroos are marsupials, and so are koalas.

Opossums are also marsupials. Wallabies, wombats, and even Tasmanian devils are marsupials.

What Do Sugar Gliders Do?

If you’re wondering what sugar gliders do in the wild, you’ll find that they do many things to find food and keep themselves safe. Since sugar gliders are capable of gliding, they try to use that ability to their advantage.

Sugar gliders live in trees, and they like to stay in the trees as much as they can. They have an easier time staying away from predators while in the trees.

This is because they always have the option of gliding away if a predator approaches them from a tree branch. On the ground, their options would be much more limited.

Sugar gliders are fully capable of walking around on the ground. They will go on the ground if they must to get food.

It’s simply more common for sugar gliders to glide from tree to tree. Aside from being great at gliding, these animals can also climb very well.

They need to climb to high heights to be able to glide far enough to reach certain spots. So sugar gliders spend their time gliding, climbing, and looking for food.

Pet sugar gliders will spend time climbing and gliding as well. They’ll also sleep during the day and play around at night.

What is a Sugar Glider Related To?

When looking at sugar gliders, you’d expect them to be related to rodents. You might think that a sugar glider would be closely related to a squirrel or a flying squirrel.

This wouldn’t be accurate, though. Since sugar gliders are marsupials, they have more in common with species such as koalas, kangaroos, and opossums.

Sugar gliders are considered to be small types of possums. So opossums and other types of marsupials are the closest relatives that sugar gliders have.

Why Are Sugar Gliders Called Sugar Gliders?

There are a few different reasons why sugar gliders are called sugar gliders. Each part of the name has a reasoning behind it.

The sugar part of the name comes from the animal’s dietary preferences. You see, sugar gliders are well-known for enjoying sweet types of fruit.

They love eating bananas, papaya, apples, melons, and many other types of fruit. So they have a little bit of a sweet tooth.

As you’d likely expect, the glider part of the name comes from the fact that these animals can glide. Sugar gliders have a skin-like membrane that allows them to glide great distances.

By climbing up to a high section of a tree, sugar gliders can glide to reach trees that are far away. The higher a sugar glider goes, the further it can glide.

It’s possible that a sugar glider could glide as far as 150 feet. They can use this impressive ability to get food without having to go on the ground.

Gliding is also useful for evading predators. When you look into it, the sugar glider name makes a lot of sense for these animals.

What Are Baby Sugar Gliders Called?

Baby sugar gliders are considered to be joeys. Female sugar gliders can produce one or two joeys per year.

Joeys are born without being fully developed. The mother sugar glider will guide the joey toward its pouch.

The pouch will be a place of refuge for the joey while it develops. Joeys feed on milk inside the pouch and continue to develop over time.

This is a unique marsupial trait. Other types of marsupials go through the same process. Baby kangaroos are also called joeys, and so are baby koalas.

Where Do You Get a Sugar Glider?

Since sugar gliders aren’t pets that are the most common, you might not find them being sold at every single pet store you come across. Regardless, it’s still good to look at pet stores when you want to buy pet sugar gliders.

Some pet stores might sell sugar gliders. This is assuming that sugar gliders are legal to own in your area.

You can also sometimes find sugar gliders being sold at pet expos. If there is an exotic pet expo in your area, this would be a good place to procure sugar gliders.

It’s possible that there might be local sugar glider breeders you can turn to. Breeders sell sugar gliders directly to people who want them as pets.

You can also try to buy sugar gliders online. There might be some online pet stores that will sell these pets to you.

Rescues are another option to consider. Sometimes you can find sugar gliders at pet shelters.

Some people buy sugar gliders and then give up on them. They give them to the shelters because they aren’t able to care for them any longer.

This could allow you to get sugar gliders at a lower cost than usual. However, it might not be the most common way to find sugar gliders as pets since you’d have to get lucky.

Why Are Sugar Gliders Illegal in Some Places?

You’ve already heard that sugar gliders aren’t legal to own everywhere. In the United States, there are various states where it’s illegal to own these pets.

California, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Mexico, and Hawaii have made it illegal to own these pets. There are also states that have cities that have banned sugar gliders despite the pets not being banned statewide.

Countries such as Australia have banned sugar gliders as pets, too. Australia has banned sugar gliders as pets since they’re considered to be wild animals there.

In the United States, the ban on pet sugar gliders is mostly related to concerns with illegal pet trading. Sugar gliders are often caught illegally and then sold to pet dealers.

So there are some ethical concerns about sugar gliders being kept as pets. Most of the bans on these pets appear to be related to ethics.

Sugar gliders aren’t dangerous to humans. So they’re not banned because they present a threat to people.

Are Sugar Gliders Affectionate?

Sugar gliders are very affectionate pets once you bond with them. When you first buy sugar gliders, they won’t trust you yet, though.

It takes a while to build up the necessary trust. You can do certain things to speed the process up.

Place a blanket or a towel with your scent on it in the cage with the gliders. This will get them used to your scent, and they will become more comfortable with your presence.

Feeding the sugar gliders helps them to see you as a friend. Don’t overfeed the animals, but it’s good to feed them by hand sometimes.

You can purchase bonding pouches for the sugar gliders as well. These are little pouches that allow you to carry a glider with you as you’re doing chores.

It usually takes around a month to fully bond with a sugar glider. After you’ve bonded, it’ll be very affectionate toward you.

Sometimes sugar gliders will nibble on their owners. They will try to groom them as a sign of affection.

This isn’t comfortable, but it’s not painful either. Sugar gliders also like to rub their heads on people as a sign of affection.

Final Thoughts

Knowing a lot more about sugar gliders will make it easier for you to figure out what you want to do. These animals are incredibly interesting.

They’re much more than just cute little animals that people like to post videos of. Sugar gliders are affectionate marsupials that can make great companions if you’re willing to put in the time.

Since they’re not legal to own everywhere, it’s important to look up local laws before buying them. They need to be bought legally, and you must buy appropriate permits to keep yourself from getting into trouble.

You’ll have to spend time bonding with your sugar gliders when you buy them. It’ll be wise to buy two of them as well since they’re social animals that can get lonely when forced to live in solitude.

Do your best to make good decisions for your household. For some, these pets will be perfect, but they might not be a great fit depending on your situation.

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