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Why Do Sugar Gliders Crab? (4 Situations That Lead to Crabbing)

Why Do Sugar Gliders Crab? (4 Situations That Lead to Crabbing)

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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. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sugar gliders are unique little creatures that make various sounds, including barking, purring, and hissing. But they also make another, far more interesting sound. Sugar gliders make a sound known as crabbing. You’ve probably heard this before and are maybe wondering why sugar gliders crab?

Sugar gliders mostly crab when they are stressed or feel threatened. Crabbing is a defensive warning sound that may be followed by biting or retreating. If your sugar glider starts crabbing at you, you should stop whatever you are doing as it upsets or irritates your pet.

This article will discuss why sugar gliders crab and how to prevent them from crabbing. We will also discuss some other basic noises sugar gliders make and what they mean. This article will better help you understand what your sugar glider is trying to communicate.

Why Do Sugar Gliders Make a Crabbing Sound?

As we have mentioned, sugar gliders make many different sounds. Some sounds mean they are happy, while others suggest they are angry or upset. For example, crabbing is a sugar glider’s sound when it feels stressed, anxious, or annoyed. In the wild, sugar gliders would crab to let other sugar gliders know to keep away.

However, in captivity, sugar gliders will crab to tell you they don’t approve of something being done to them. If you haven’t heard a sugar glider crabbing, you might be wondering what it sounds like. Crabbing is described in many ways, but the sound somewhat reminds you of a distressed turkey. It is also described as the sound a swarm of locusts makes.

This video shows a sugar glider crabbing and gives you a perfect example of what they sound like when doing so. However, what’s more important than how sugar gliders sound when crabbing is understanding why they do it.

A bonded sugar glider won’t grab at you often unless you do something to annoy them. While it is an interesting sound, don’t try to make them crab because it is an indication that they feel uncomfortable or stressed. Here are some situations when a sugar glider might crab.

1 – When You Get a New Sugar Glider

When you first get a sugar glider that is not yet bonded to you, it will likely crab when you touch it or take it out of its habitat. As explained, this is a defensive sound they make to warn you that they are upset.

However, the more you handle your sugar glider and the more they become used to your scent and touch, the less crabby they will be when held. Therefore, it is essential not to be deterred by the sugar glider when it crabs or bites you. Once it starts trusting you and accepts you as a part of its “colony,” this behavior should subside.

2 – When the Sugar Glider Is Introduced to Other Pets

A sugar glider might also crab when introduced to your other pets, such as dogs or cats. Because the sugar glider is unfamiliar with this animal, it might see it as a threat and crab in an attempt to scare it off. Although this is a defensive maneuver, it might cause your dog or cat to react negatively.

Therefore, it is crucial to take the proper precautions when first introducing your sugar glider to other pets. Ensuring the sugar glider is happy and calm when you introduce them will help prevent it from crabbing at your dog or cat. This will also help the animals bond quicker.

3 – When You Introduce a New Sugar Glider

When introducing two sugar gliders to each other, you must also do so patiently. Introduce the two on neutral ground and watch for any signs of grabbing or hissing. When a sugar glider crabs, it warns the other sugar glider to stay away. If you don’t separate the two, they might start fighting and can get injured.

Therefore, introduce your sugar gliders properly to each other and make sure they are calm. They should have time to explore each other’s scents and accept each other. If they aren’t grabbing or acting aggressively towards each other, you can take it as a sign that they have accepted one another.

4 – When the Sugar Glider Is Irritated or Upset

Another reason your sugar glider might start crabbing is that it is upset or irritated. Like people, sugar gliders also have their own personalities. They can get irritated with people or other sugar gliders at times. For example, if you are bothering the sugar glider while holding it, it might start crabbing at you.

In this case, the sugar glider warns you to stop what you are doing. If you don’t, it might react and bite you. Sugar gliders can also crab at other sugar gliders in their habitat from time to time, even if they are bonded and generally get along well.

Now that you know the main reasons why sugar gliders start crabbing, you can determine what to do to make it stop. Remember that crabbing isn’t always an indication that the sugar glider is aggressive and can sometimes mean they are anxious or scared. Try to comfort your sugar glider when they are crabbing to make them feel secure.

Other Sugar Glider Sounds and Their Meanings

Apart from crabbing, sugar gliders make various other sounds. These sounds can mean different things, but in general, these are the meanings of some sugar glider sounds:

  • Barking – the sugar glider is trying to get your attention. Sugar gliders bark when they communicate with each other and people, kind of like saying “hello.”
  • Hissing – this is a clear sign of aggression. The sugar glider is upset about something happening and is ready to attack.
  • Purring – like a cat, a sugar glider will purr when it is happy and secure. For example, you might hear a sugar glider purring when sleeping on you or when you stroke it.
  • Singing – Female sugar gliders make a specific sound when they communicate with their joeys in their pouches. This sound is called singing.

Although there are certainly other sounds sugar gliders also make, these are some of the most common sounds you may hear your sugar glider making. Understanding these sounds is a great way to understand and interpret what your sugar glider needs or wants.

Final Thoughts

Crabbing is primarily a defense sound sugar gliders make when they feel threatened or upset. A new sugar glider may crab at you when you touch it before you have bonded. It may also crab at other pets such as dogs, cats, and other sugar gliders as a warning to stay away.

Finally, a sugar glider will crab if irritated with something or someone. Overall, crabbing is not a sound a sugar glider makes when it is happy. We also discussed other sounds sugar gliders make and their meanings. We hope this article will help you understand your sugar glider better.

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