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What Do Sugar Gliders Eat and Drink? (As Pets and in the Wild)

What Do Sugar Gliders Eat and Drink? (As Pets and in the Wild)

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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Buying sugar gliders as pets might seem like a very appealing choice. If you’ve seen these animals in person, you know just how cute and cuddly they are.

To take care of sugar gliders properly, you need to feed them a balanced diet. They need to eat the right things so they can stay healthy.

What do sugar gliders eat? Can you buy food from the pet store for them, or do they need a special diet?

Keep reading to learn about sugar gliders and how to feed them as pets. You’ll also learn about what they drink so that you can care for them confidently even as a beginner.

What Do Sugar Gliders Eat in the Wild?

Sugar gliders are known to eat many different things in the wild. They’re omnivores that will eat what they can to survive.

Since sugar gliders live in trees, it’s common for them to eat things that they can find on the treetops. They use their gliding skills to go from tree to tree looking for food.

These animals need to eat a balanced diet to stay healthy. They need sources of protein and calcium.

It’s common for sugar gliders to eat various types of fruit. Papaya is a good way for these animals to get the calcium that they need.

They also love eating melons and many other types of fruits that can be found where they live. For protein, it’s normal for sugar gliders to eat various insects.

Aside from that, sugar gliders will also eat the sap and gum that comes from trees. Specifically, they seek out eucalyptus trees and acacia trees.

Sugar gliders will even eat nectar and pollen in the wild. They eat a variety of different foods because it’s important for them to have a flexible diet.

What Do Sugar Gliders Eat as Pets?

When keeping sugar gliders as pets, it’s going to be a bit different. You can’t totally replicate a wild diet because it’d be too difficult.

You can ensure that you give sugar gliders the right mix of nutrients and vitamins, though. To thrive, sugar gliders will need protein, fruits, veggies, and calcium.

There are many different things that you can feed sugar gliders to give them what they need to stay healthy. Experts agree that you want to feed sugar gliders a diet that consists of 50% protein, 25% veggies, and 25% fruits.

Sugar gliders will eat so many different types of food. You just want to pick good ones that are safe for the sugar gliders to eat.

For protein, you have quite a few options that you can turn to. Insects are a good source of protein that will feel natural to the sugar gliders.

Many people choose to buy live insects such as mealworms and crickets to give to their pet sugar gliders. This can work out well, and your sugar gliders will enjoy eating the bugs.

You can also give sugar gliders boiled chicken to provide them with protein. It’s also common for people to feed sugar gliders eggs.

These pets love eating so many different types of fruit. You can mix things up and give your pets apples, bananas, papaya, melons, grapes, and oranges.

Veggie options will be pretty easy, too. Sugar gliders will love eating kale, spinach, carrots, corn, and more.

Whenever you’re giving sugar gliders fruits and veggies, it’s important to wash them first. Also, you must remove any seeds, pits, and stems to keep the animals from choking.

There’s also commercial sugar glider food that you can buy from pet stores. This food is good to give to these pets, but you still need to feed them fruits and veggies to supplement the diet.

What Should I Feed My Sugar Glider Daily?

You can feed your sugar glider different things each day if you want to. However, a typical diet would involve giving the sugar glider pellet food, fruits, and veggies.

So you’d give your sugar gliders mostly pelleted food that will give them protein. Then you’d also give them some veggies and fruits to supplement things.

You can give them a piece of an apple and some cut-up carrots. If you don’t want to use commercial food, you might choose to feed the sugar gliders insects, or chicken as a protein source.

There are different options that you have. You can ask an exotic veterinarian for advice if you need it, but feeding sugar gliders shouldn’t be too tough overall.

The most important thing is to feed the sugar gliders enough. Generally, people feed their sugar gliders one small meal in the morning and then give them dinner in the evening.

What to Feed a Baby Sugar Glider

Taking care of baby sugar gliders won’t be any different than caring for adult sugar gliders. This is because you shouldn’t be getting sugar gliders when they’re too young.

Sugar gliders are marsupials, and baby sugar gliders are born before they’re fully developed. This is what happens with all marsupial babies.

The baby sugar glider will go into its mother’s pouch. It remains in the pouch, feeding on milk and developing the rest of the way.

You aren’t supposed to separate baby sugar gliders from their mothers too early. It’s said that you need to wait to buy sugar gliders until they have been out of their mother’s pouches for twelve weeks.

At this time, the sugar glider will be large enough to eat normal things. So you’ll be feeding the baby sugar glider the same stuff that you’d give an adult sugar glider.

It’ll eat fruits, veggies, insects, pellet food, and all of the other normal types of sugar glider food. Even if you’re buying sugar gliders from breeders, you shouldn’t be taking baby sugar gliders when they’re too young to be away from their mothers.

How Much Do Sugar Gliders Eat?

How much sugar gliders will eat will depend on their size. You’re supposed to feed sugar gliders between 10% and 15% of their body weight each day.

Since the body weight of sugar gliders will vary, the amount of food they will need will vary. However, it’s important to note that pet sugar gliders should stay closer to 10% than 15%.

This is because pet sugar gliders only get so much exercise in a given day. Wild sugar gliders burn many more calories due to climbing trees, gliding around, and being active.

Sugar gliders will be active as pets, too, but they just don’t have the same opportunities to exercise. You don’t want sugar gliders to get overweight because this can cause health issues.

It’s best to feed your sugar gliders carefully. These animals usually only weigh between three and five ounces on average.

You’ll have to measure things out appropriately. Do your best to give sugar gliders only as much as they need to eat so they can stay healthy.

How Often to Feed Sugar Gliders

As you’d expect, sugar gliders need to be fed each day. Many people like to feed their sugar gliders twice per day.

You can feed the sugar gliders early in the morning. This helps to keep them from getting too hungry throughout the day while they’re waiting for dinner.

Give the sugar gliders their dinner during the evening hours. The dinner will be a larger meal while the early morning meal will be something small.

Keeping a schedule like this should work out well for sugar gliders. Sugar gliders are nocturnal, so they’re going to prefer eating in the evening hours.

Feeding these animals in the early morning hours will be fine because they’ll still be up and should be getting ready to sleep. Enthusiasts say that this feeding schedule is easy to follow and recommended for beginners.

When to Feed Sugar Gliders

It’s best to feed sugar gliders once in the early morning hours and once in the evening after the sun has gone down. This should help the sugar gliders to stay in good health.

Nocturnal animals such as sugar gliders do well with this schedule. You can feed them a large meal during the evening because they’re going to be active during the night.

In the early morning hours, you’ll feed them a bit of a smaller meal to help them get by. It’s a simple schedule that is easy to remember.

You want to balance the diet out, too. Try to give the sugar glider a good mix of protein, fruits, veggies, and calcium.

Foods to Avoid Feeding to Sugar Gliders

Of course, there are many foods that you shouldn’t be giving to sugar gliders. Your gliders might like eating all sorts of food, but that doesn’t mean that you should give them foods that aren’t good for them.

Nuts are a good example of this. Sugar gliders love eating nuts, and they aren’t technically bad for the gliders.

You simply need to know that nuts are not good regular food for these animals. They contain a lot of fat, so they can only be utilized as occasional treats.

Pork is another thing that’s in a similar situation. You can give sugar gliders pork as a protein source, but it’s high in sodium, and that makes it something you should use sparingly.

There are foods that you should never give to sugar gliders under any circumstances, too. Don’t give sugar gliders chocolate because it’s truly bad for them.

If you feed chocolate to sugar gliders, it very well might kill them. Be careful not to allow them to accidentally consume chocolate.

Dairy products aren’t good for sugar gliders either. Gliders are lactose intolerant and will experience digestive issues if you give them dairy products.

Some people do choose to give sugar gliders plain yogurt as a calcium source, but you must do so in very small amounts. For the most part, dairy should be completely avoided.

You want to be careful about giving sugar gliders fruits and veggies. They need to eat fruits and veggies, but sometimes they might contain traces of pesticides.

These chemicals can be very harmful to sugar gliders. To counter this, be sure to wash fruits and veggies thoroughly before giving them to your pets.

It might also be worth seeking out veggies and fruits that come from organic grocery stores. Try to buy veggies and fruits that have been grown without being exposed to pesticides and other sorts of chemicals.

What Happens to Overweight Sugar Gliders?

If you feed sugar gliders too much, it’s going to make them gain weight. Sugar gliders that weigh more than five ounces are likely going to be considered to be overweight.

An obese sugar glider will encounter many different health issues. It can make it tough for sugar gliders to remain comfortable when they’re carrying too much weight.

For example, it’s common for obese sugar gliders to develop problems with their joints. The added weight stresses the joints and makes it more likely that issues with arthritis will occur.

Arthritic sugar gliders will be far less active than usual. This will also make it more likely that the sugar glider will continue to gain weight.

It can be a problematic cycle that will lessen the quality of the sugar glider’s life. If you want your pet to stay in good shape and be happy, it’s best to try to keep it at a healthy weight.

Always be careful not to overfeed your sugar gliders. It’s fine to give them treats from time to time, but you need to monitor how much they’re eating to keep things safe.

How Can You Keep Sugar Gliders From Becoming Overweight?

Keeping sugar gliders from becoming overweight should start with monitoring how much food you’re giving to them. You want to give your sugar gliders only about 10% of their body weight in food each day.

Take the time to measure things out properly so you won’t feed them too much. Just doing this will make it less likely that your sugar glider will gain more weight than it should.

Aside from this, it’s wise to encourage sugar gliders to play and be active. A sugar glider will burn calories if it plays and stays active regularly.

One good way to encourage sugar gliders to be active is to ensure that the cage is big enough. Sugar gliders need cages that are fairly big so they will have room to move around.

Keeping a sugar glider in a cage that is too small will cause stress. It can also lead to the sugar glider becoming sedentary.

Ensure that you’re using a 24 x 36 cage or something larger. You should also buy toys that the sugar gliders can use.

Sugar gliders enjoy climbing toys such as ropes and ladders. They also like perches and being able to glide around a bit in the cage.

Make an effort to play with your sugar glider, too. Buying a tent for the sugar glider is a good idea.

You can go into the tent with the sugar glider and let it play around. It can roam freely and climb to get some exercise.

Some people even set up safe rooms for sugar gliders to play in. You have to seal the room to keep the sugar glider from being able to escape or get lost.

If you put in the effort to help the sugar glider be more active, it’ll maintain a healthy weight. The more the sugar glider plays and moves around, the better.

You should try to make time to play with your sugar glider regularly. This will help it to feel loved, and it’ll be much healthier overall.

Keep Sugar Gliders in Pairs or Groups

Ensuring that the sugar glider has a friend to play with is also important. Sugar gliders are social creatures that are meant to live in pairs or groups.

In the wild, they live in large groups. It’s common to find sugar gliders living in trees with up to seventeen other sugar gliders.

Sugar gliders that are kept alone are known to get lonely. It’s even possible for sugar gliders to die of loneliness.

Since this is a serious problem, you need to buy friends for your sugar glider. Many places that sell sugar gliders will only sell them in pairs.

Those who will sell single sugar gliders will typically try to convince people to buy two. You should listen to the advice and get two sugar gliders.

It’s also fine to keep more than two in the same cage. If you only have one sugar glider right now, you’ll need to introduce new sugar gliders slowly so that no fighting will occur.

When sugar gliders have friends, they’re able to play with each other. This helps the sugar gliders to be more active, and it makes it more likely that weight issues will be kept in check.

No matter what, you want to keep at least two sugar gliders. Keeping one sugar glider alone is a mistake for so many different reasons.

How Much Does It Cost to Feed Sugar Gliders?

Feeding sugar gliders will cost a little bit of money. Exactly how much you’ll spend on food will depend on various factors.

You know that these pets like to eat many different types of food. It’s also important to ensure that they get a balanced diet that contains protein, calcium, fruits, and veggies.

Some people will buy commercial sugar glider food to give to their pets. Others will exclusively feed sugar gliders normal foods such as chicken, insects, fruits, and vegetables.

Either way, you’re likely going to spend hundreds of dollars per year feeding sugar gliders. Since you need to feed two sugar gliders, it could cost you as much as $400 per year, but it’ll likely be a bit less than that.

How Long Can Sugar Gliders Live Without Food

What if you are away from home and can’t feed the sugar gliders? Well, it’s not a good idea to go away without some type of plan.

If you’re going on vacation, you should really ask a family member or friend to feed your pets for you. Ideally, you’d want to ask someone whom the sugar gliders are used to so they won’t be afraid or wary.

Sugar gliders can survive for a few days without food, though. If a sugar glider has access to water, it’s supposed to be able to live for three and a half days without food.

That doesn’t mean that this is healthy for the glider, though. Going without food for three days would be very stressful for the glider, and it might even make it feel weak or sick.

These animals are meant to be fed daily. Don’t neglect to feed your sugar gliders if you can help it.

Sugar Gliders Need Constant Access to Water

Sugar gliders don’t drink a lot of water, but you’re supposed to give them access to water constantly. Make sure that you fill their water bottles regularly.

You want the sugar gliders to be able to get a drink when they need it. This helps them to stay hydrated and healthy.

It’s best to give sugar gliders filtered water. Tap water that hasn’t been filtered will contain traces of chlorine and fluoride.

You don’t want to unnecessarily put your sugar glider’s life at risk. If you don’t have a filter that’s reliable, you can buy distilled water at the store.

Final Thoughts

Now you know everything you need to know about sugar gliders and what they eat. Sugar gliders are omnivores that eat many different things in the wild.

When caring for pet sugar gliders, it’s important to give them a varied and balanced diet. They need protein, calcium, veggies, and fruit.

Do your best to feed your sugar gliders consistently. It’s wise to feed them once in the early morning and once in the evening before bed.

Never overfeed the sugar gliders because it can cause health issues. Be sure to feed the sugar gliders foods that are good for them, and encourage the sugar gliders to be active by giving them toys.

If you keep all of this advice in mind, it should be easy to get good results. Your sugar gliders will stay safe and happy under your care.

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