Are Sugar Gliders the right pet for you

So…you think you want Sugar Gliders

As an ethical and responsible breeder it is my job to show you reasons why you definitely should not own Sugar Gliders. If at the end of it all you still decide that it will be completely worth it, then maybe these adorable little bundles of fuzz are the right pet for you. 

What you need to know as a first time owner

Sugar gliders are an exotic pet that have been domesticated in North America for over 20 years. They have specific requirements and can make wonderful pets- assuming you are willing and able to meet their unique and specialized needs.


Figuring out if Sugar Gliders are Right for you – Important Things to Know

Sugar gliders are nocturnal animals, which means that they are active at night and sleep during the day, so it may not be the best idea to keep your cage in your bedroom if you are a light sleeper or in a high traffic area of your home. With that being said, the fact that sugar gliders are nocturnal does not mean you need to be too! Many people play with their gliders for a few hours before they go to sleep, or early in the morning. They can also be quite noisy with barking, chirping, crabbing and a variety of other sounds, plus running around the cage and playing with their toys, all of which will take place in the middle of the night. It is also not uncommon for your gliders to decide to serenade you at 3 am while you are trying to sleep. 


Sugar gliders are social animals and MUST be kept in pairs. Gliders are colony animals in the wild, so keeping them alone goes against their nature and can have damaging repercussions on their mental health. When purchasing sugar gliders a reputable breeder will not sell anyone a single glider unless they already own them and are purchasing one to add to an existing glider or colony. Sugar gliders can be kept in pairs, trios, quads and more, assuming that all males are neutered and that proper introductions are made when adding gliders to an existing pair or colony. Keep in mind the more gliders that are added to a colony the trickier the hierarchy can sometimes be. Lone gliders may become depressed, stop eating, over-groom themselves, self-mutilate, and in some cases this could lead to a premature death.


The initial preparation for owning a sugar glider can be costly. In addition to the cost of the gliders themselves, one must also consider the cost of a cage and all of the safe and necessary accessories that gliders require. Depending on your cage, which is your most expensive purchase other then the animals, supplies could run you $300-$800+. Cages need to be large (min 18x30x36) which means they are going to take up a lot of space and could be expensive. Finding suitable cages in Canada can also be rather difficult due to needing small 1/2" bar spacing and a lot of height. We do stock cages at a good price in our store, but due to extremely expensive shipping costs they are only available for local pick up or delivery in the area. Please see our list of “must- haves” for first time glider owners.


Gliders require a specific fresh staple diet that will need to be prepared every month or more and frozen, depending on how many you have. Commercial pellet diets are not going to provide their proper nutritional requirements. We feed and recommend TPG and the vitamin supplement for it can be found here however, there are many others which have also been proven to meet the nutritional needs of these animals. Please see our section on diet for additional information.


Sugar gliders require a lot of time and commitment with a long lifespan of 10-15 years. They are highly social animals and will bond to you. This may happen over a period of days, months, or in some cases years, however the amount of time you choose to spend with them can greatly increase their chances of bonding with you quickly. Bonding occurs in a variety of ways. The most common ways are using a bonding bag or having “play time” with your glider in a tent or glider safe room in your house. Until your gliders are bonded it can be difficult to interact with them safely without using a tent. Unlike other small animals such as rats or ferrets, chasing down a loose glider can be quite tricky and can make them fearful setting back your bonding progress. Think of a mouse that can fly, and have fun catching that! Now think about sitting inside a tent in your home for a few hours a day, to get your glider used to you and bonded. It can be a lot of work and an inconvenience that many aren't willing to sit through. 


You need to research and choose a reputable exotic vet. Please note that not all veterinarians are able to provide the care and medical advice gliders need and you will need to do your research in order to find an exotic vet who is familiar with the care they require. Many will even refuse to treat them. Gliders tend to mask illness until it can become an emergency situation. Having your vet ready and planned out greatly increases your chances of getting them there in time to find a remedy. Keeping an emergency vet fund is always a good idea as well.


Sugar gliders may not be the best choice as a family pet if you are looking for something cute and cuddly for your children to hold. They can easily be squished or fall and should always be kept in a safe environment when taken out of their cage. Their bite can also be extremely painful and even the tamest glider will bite if they feel threatened. Gliders that are new to your family will take time to adjust and may bite when startled, out of fear, or to taste something on your skin, so this is something to consider with young children in the home. 


Gliders may not be a good idea if you have other pets in the house. While many people with gliders do have cats and dogs as well (I personally have always had dogs), serious precautions do need to be taken. Most cats and dogs will see your gliders as either something to eat, or play with, both of which can be deadly. One of the leading causes of death in gliders is accidental by another pet. Gliders who have escaped their cages or been playing while other animals have been in the room have met their demise to the horror of many owners. A very mild cat bite or even just a scratch can quickly turn deadly as the bacteria in their saliva is toxic to gliders and can cause sepsis even from a small wound. So knowing that you may have to put your other animals away or be in a different room with the gliders to play, should be a factor in your decision. While you will come across websites stating that other animals can make friends with your gliders since they won't see see them as prey because they don't "smell" like it, this is ABSOLUTELY FALSE and simply a tactic to try and sell more. Yes, there are going to be some instances where your other pets might do just fine with them, but in most cases it is just a disaster waiting to happen.


Gliders do have an odor and while many people find it mild and in no way offensive, others may have an issue with it, especially if you have a heightened sense of smell. 


So do you still want Sugar Gliders? If the answer is yes, then head on over to the Nursery to see who we have available and take a look at our Adoption Application which we require for anyone interested in our joeys or adults looking for new home.