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Why Are My Sugar Gliders Fighting? (5 Common Reasons)

Why Are My Sugar Gliders Fighting? (5 Common Reasons)

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 social animals that live in large colonies in the wild. Therefore, having two or more sugar gliders as pets is a great idea to ensure your sugar gliders are healthy and well cared for. However, sometimes, you might see the sugar gliders fighting and wonder why they are fighting.

The main reason for sugar gliders fighting is that they have not been introduced properly or don’t get along when introduced. However, sugar gliders can also fight if they feel stressed, if one sugar glider is sick or injured, or if multiple males in one habitat aren’t neutered.

This article will discuss the causes of when sugar gliders are fighting. We will also discuss what you should do when the sugar gliders are fighting and how to prevent them from fighting in the future.

Why Do Sugar Gliders Fight with Each Other?

Each sugar glider has its own personality. Sometimes, these personalities clash, causing the sugar gliders to become aggressive and fight. However, knowing how to deal with fighting sugar gliders is critical to ensuring the safety and well-being of your sugar gliders.

In most cases, sugar gliders get along great with each other and will not result in fighting. However, in some cases, the gliders might attack each other. When they do attack, sugar gliders will often fight until one of them dies. Therefore, your speedy intervention is necessary to ensure both sugar gliders survive.

Sometimes, sugar gliders might sound like they are fighting when wrestling or mating. These sounds might be distressing, but wrestling is a natural occurrence among sugar gliders. This is how they burn energy and keep themselves busy.

Aggressive noises while mating is also not uncommon among sugar gliders and means you can look forward to seeing joeys in a couple of weeks.

However, there are specific telltale signs when sugar gliders are fighting. If you notice any of these behaviors among sugar gliders, you should separate them immediately:

  • Crabbing or hissing
  • Biting
  • Scratching
  • Pulling each other’s tails
  • Aggressive barking

However, why do sugar gliders start fighting? Here are the main reasons.

1 – The Sugar Gliders Are Stressed

Like people, sugar gliders tend to become edgy and aggressive when stressed. This can cause the sugar gliders to start fighting, especially if their stress is caused by a lack of space or competition for food.

Sugar gliders require enough space to move around freely and play. Therefore, if you have two or more sugar gliders in one habitat, they will need more space. If they don’t have enough space to move around, the sugar gliders will become aggressive toward each other.

You can move around some of the items and toys in their habitat to resolve this problem. If there are too many sugar gliders in one habitat, you might have to buy a bigger cage to ensure they have enough space to move around.

Sugar gliders may also fight if they are eating from the same food bowl or if they aren’t getting enough food. Ensure the sugar gliders have enough food and try giving them multiple bowls of food and moving it around the cage each night. This will ensure they have to forage for the food and decrease the chances of fighting.

Another stressor for sugar gliders is a dirty cage. Clean their cage regularly to ensure there aren’t any strong smells in the sugar gliders’ cage and prevent them from being aggressive and fighting with each other.

2 – One Sugar Glider Is Sick or Injured

In nature, animals will often banish a sick or injured member of their colony to ensure the safety of the rest. Therefore, if one of your sugar gliders is ill or injured, the other one might start to show aggression towards them. They might attack each other and try to kill the sick or wounded sugar glider.

If this is the case, you should take the sugar gliders to a glider-savvy veterinarian to check if all your sugar gliders are healthy. If one sugar glider is sick, quarantine it from the rest to prevent the sickness from spreading.

Keep the glider in the same room as the others to ensure the ill sugar glider doesn’t feel lonely. Once the sick sugar glider is healthy, you can reintroduce it to the rest.

3 – Male Sugar Gliders Are Territorial

If you have more than one male sugar glider in a habitat, they might start fighting for dominance or territory. The chances of male sugar gliders fighting are increased if the males aren’t neutered or if there are fewer females in the habitat than males.

In this case, you should always ensure that there are the same amount or more females than males in the habitat. Neutering the males will also help prevent aggression and inbreeding and reduce the chances of unwanted joeys.

4 – The Sugar Gliders Haven’t Been Introduced

If you bring a new sugar glider home, you cannot simply place it in the same habitat as the other sugar glider/s. The older sugar glider will feel threatened and likely attack the new one. In addition, the new sugar glider might retreat or feel scared and attack the other sugar glider in self-defense.

Therefore, properly introducing a new sugar glider is critical to ensuring the sugar gliders get along well and that they don’t show aggression towards each other or start fighting. Here is a video explaining how to introduce sugar gliders to each other.

5 – The Sugar Gliders Aren’t Compatible

In some cases, your sugar gliders may be fighting simply because they don’t get along. This is more likely to happen if you have had the sugar gliders since they were babies and are now in their adolescent or adult phase.

Unfortunately, if two sugar gliders are incompatible, they will never stop fighting, and your only option is to permanently separate them. Keep them in separate habitats in the same room to prevent loneliness, but don’t try to reintroduce them.

What to Do When Sugar Gliders Fight

The first thing to do when your sugar gliders are fighting is to separate them. Breaking up a fight between two sugar gliders can be intimidating, and you can get injured.

Therefore, experts recommend wearing gloves or protective clothing when putting your hands in the cage to separate the gliders. In addition, you can spray the gliders with cold water to stop them from fighting and then remove one glider from the cage.

Once you have separated the sugar gliders, keep them in separate cages for at least a day or two to give them a chance to relax. You can take them to the vet or have the male neutered during this time, depending on their reason for fighting.

After a few days, you can reintroduce the sugar gliders in a neutral environment and see how they behave. If they are calm and don’t bark or scratch each other, you can place them back in their habitat. Keep a close eye on the sugar gliders for a few days to ensure they don’t start fighting again.

However, if the sugar gliders start fighting again once you reintroduce them, separate them again and retry it in a few days. If the fighting continues, you might have to separate them permanently.

Final Thoughts

There are many causes for sugar gliders fighting. The leading causes we discussed in this article are that the sugar gliders are stressed, there are too many unneutered males in a habitat, one sugar glider is sick or injured, or the sugar gliders haven’t been introduced to each other.

Sugar gliders can also sometimes be incompatible with each other, in which case you will have to permanently separate them. Separating the fighting sugar gliders should be your first response, as they will continue fighting to the death.

Once separated, you can reintroduce them again after they have had a few days apart. Hopefully, these tips will help you deal with your sugar gliders when they fight.

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