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Why Do Sugar Gliders Hiss?

Why Do Sugar Gliders Hiss?

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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 by no means silent. They make plenty of sounds, which can get confusing trying to recognize each one and what it entails. These adorable possums will hiss, bark, gurgle, and sometimes cry.

Unless you know what each sound is trying to tell you, you’re in for a lot of noise.

Today, we’ll explore the most confusing sound of all: hissing. So why do sugar gliders hiss? Read on to find out!

Why Do Sugar Gliders Hiss?

Sugar gliders may hiss for plenty of reasons. It depends on when they do it, how they do it, and under what circumstances. There are four main reasons for hissing:

  • Constipation or inflammation
  • Respiratory issues
  • Grooming
  • Colony behavior

When sugar gliders hiss while peeing or pooping, it’s a sign of a medical condition. For example, they may suffer inflammation or a mild infection, causing pain while peeing.

The same goes if they’re hissing with their tails up and rigid, although they’re likely suffering constipation in that case.

Your sugar glider may also be having respiratory issues. You’ll know that’s the case when the hissing is accompanied by short breaths and a slight wheezing sound.

On the other hand, if they’re hissing while grooming, it’s likely the sound of spit landing on their tiny hands. In this case, there’s nothing to worry about.

Many pet owners mistake this sound for an irritated hiss, but it sounds more like a quiet sneeze.

Lastly, if the sugar gliders are hissing at each other, then it’s a mere colony behavior. These possums don’t take newcomers lightly, and they may hiss at their fellows in a way to tell them to stick to their territory.

But, more often than not, that doesn’t call for concern, except if you start seeing aggressive tendencies.

Why Do Sugar Gliders Bark and Hiss at the Same Time?

If a bark often accompanies your sugar glider’s hiss, it means they’re trying to communicate with you. The possum may need some attention or hissing out in warning from new pets or intruders.

Some sugar gliders also bark when they’re excited and want to express it. Other times, they’re merely annoyed, whether at you or anyone around.

Barking is often a sign that your glider is irritated. Unfortunately, they don’t usually produce that sound when they’re content or comfortable.

When Should You Be Worried About the Sugar Glider’s Hissing?

In nine situations out of ten, the sugar glider’s hissing will be normal, and it shouldn’t be worrying. However, in one situation out of ten, the sugar glider may be on to something. You’ll need to know when to let him be and when to take action to stop the hissing.

For one, sugar gliders may hiss when they have difficulty breathing. If the sound is accompanied by wheezing, you should visit a vet as soon as possible to allocate the problem.

The same goes if the sugar glider is always hissing when peeing or pooping. Chances are, the possum is suffering constipation, which can be really painful.

In other cases, the hissing won’t be due to a medical condition, so you don’t have to rush anywhere. However, you may have to break up a fight between two gliders.

If you have two or more gliders, and they’re hissing at each other in their cage, it’s a sign of trouble. You’d have to separate them until the anger fits subside.

You’d also have to make sure they have enough food. If they don’t, they may attack each other over it.

Why Do Sugar Gliders Make a Crabbing Noise?

Other than hissing, there’s an array of weird sounds that sugar gliders may make. One sound that seems to be common among the possums is crabbing.

Sugar gliders’ crabbing often sounds like a locust; some people describe it as close to gurgling. But, in all cases, it’s a very loud sound that comes out suddenly, so you’ll hardly miss it.

The crabbing also lasts for a while in a repetitive pattern, so I assure you that you won’t have trouble identifying it.

Sugar gliders often make a crabbing sound when they’re afraid of something, like a new pet in the house. Or, they may do it to express their irritation at something, like the lack of food.

In other cases, the crabbing will be a cry for attention. That’s especially true if you’ve ignored your pet for a while without affectionate petting.

Why Do Sugar Gliders Make a Purring Sound?

You won’t frequently find animals that purr like cats and bark like dogs, but sugar gliders do. Like I told you, they make plenty of sounds—more than your average house pet.

Sugar gliders mostly produce a purring sound when they want to express their content. It’s rarely or almost never a cause of concern.

You usually won’t even hear the purring sound because it comes out low, like a sigh. You’d have to be close to the sugar glider to hear the purr.

Gliders produce the purring sound when they’re being petted by their owner, when they’re eating, or when they’re cuddling their partners. Some also do it while sleeping.

What Other Sounds Do Sugar Gliders Make?

Aside from the hissing, crabbing, and purring, there are a few sounds your sugar glider may make. Here’s a brief roundup.


Yes, sugar gliders sing. Although not as nearly pleasant as Celine Dion’s singing, they do it when they’re happy with their new offspring.

You’ll rarely hear a male glider sing. The sound mainly comes from mother gliders nursing their new babies. If the singing sounds agitated, the mother may be trying to get her baby into a comfortable position and failing to do so.

Likewise, if the singing is accompanied by squeaking, the mother glider is likely in pain from nursing the babies.


Although chirping isn’t a common sound of sugar gliders, it occurs a lot when they’re eating. When your pets are happy with their food, they may emit a low chirping sound. It’ll often be accompanied by happy squeaking.

I wouldn’t worry about gliders chirping. A glider has plenty of other sounds to make when he’s irritated, so he’ll seldom resort to chirping to express his annoyance.

Final Thoughts

It’s safe to say that sugar gliders make plenty of different sounds. They hiss when they’re grooming, have trouble breathing, or try to poop while constipating. Meanwhile, they purr while happy, crab and bark while annoyed, and sing when they’re nursing their babies.

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