Sugar gliders are peculiar little pets, indeed. This pint-sized marsupial originates in Australia and shares its family tree with other loveable creatures, such as kangaroos, wallabies, and possums. However, they are often mistaken for rodents. Sugar gliders have a membrane that extends from their wrist to their ankles. This membrane resembles wings, and it allows them to travel from one place to the next. Although it appears that they are flying, they are actually only able to glide – hence, the name.Because they are so tiny, Sugar Gliders have been labelled a “pocket pet”. When they are born, they are about the size of a grain of rice. At their largest, sugar gliders will only grow to be around 12 to 17 centimeters. It is said that they have the same intelligence as a dog, and they can be trained in the same manner (including tricks!).
Sugar gliders have become extremely popular in the United States, and most states and cities will allow them to be kept as pets. Keep in mind, however, that there are some states which require sugar glider owners to obtain a permit to keep them. Others, such as California, Hawaii, and Alaska, do not allow sugar gliders at all. So, always remember to check local pet regulations before deciding to adopt one.
Also before adopting a sugar glider, consider these facts about how they live in the wild:
- Sugar gliders can glide in excess of 150 feet. They need room to move freely, so plan to provide them with a large enclosed habitat.
- A baby sugar glider (called a “Joey”) is not able to survive away from its mother before approximately 4 months of age. It’s best to avoid adopting a sugar glider younger than this.
- In the wild, sugar gliders rarely (if ever) touch the ground. Plan to provide them with plenty of places to perch and hide. (Tip: In their natural habitat, trees are the obvious perch of choice. Use natural elements to make your pet’s cage feel like home.)
- Sugar gliders mark their territory with urine. In the wild, this is most commonly seen in the nest. As pets, it’s normal for this behavior to happen in the cage or even on you.
- Sugar gliders naturally live in large groups, and many people will tell you to “get them a friend”. While this is not a completely bad idea, you don’t want to perpetuate accidental breeding of ANY animal. Female sugar gliders can give birth to 2-3 joeys at once, so take the necessary precautions.
If you’re interested in adopting a sugar glider, speak with a veterinarian to make sure that they are a good fit for your situation. You can also find more information HERE.