When most people think of getting a pet, they probably consider getting a cat, a dog, some fish, or maybe even a bird. After all, these are the four most popular pets in the US.
Are you the type of person who doesn’t like going with the crowd, though? Were you hoping for something a little less mammalian and a little more marsupian?
Stick with us and we’ll answer the question: what is a sugar glider?
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about these cute little gliders and whether or not they’re the right pet for you.
What Is a Sugar Glider?
A sugar glider is a small gliding possum. While they can glide through the air much like a flying squirrel, they actually aren’t very closely related. A sugar glider belongs to the marsupial infraclass while flying squirrels are in a family of small-to-medium-sized rodents called Sciuridae.
Sugar gliders are native to mainland Australia, certain Indonesian islands, and New Guinea. At some point, probably in the 1830s, they were also introduced to Tasmania.
These cute little marsupials are nocturnal, arboreal, and omnivorous. Their ability to glide allows them to reach food while evading predators.
Baby sugar gliders have been popular as exotic pets, however, in some regions, it’s prohibited to keep them.
Why Are They Called Sugar Gliders?
The scientific name for sugar gliders is Petaurus Breviceps, which means “short-headed rope dancer” in Latin. They received this name in reference to the acrobatics they perform in tree canopies.
Their popular name, sugar glider, comes from two of their habits. Firstly, they are very partial to eating sweet sap and fruits. Second, they possess a gliding membrane that stretches from their ankles to their wrists that allows them to glide from tree to tree.
What Is the Behavior of Sugar Gliders Like?
Many people find their sugar glider pet to be entertaining and endearing. They love to climb, they’re quick, and they’ll glide between places if there’s enough room.
Since these adorable marsupials are nocturnal, they tend to cuddle up in a nest during daylight to catch some Zs.
Sugar gliders are quite social, so it’s ideal to have more than one. Otherwise, your baby sugar glider might get lonely. If you have other pets, you may want to keep them away from your sugar gliders.
If you want your sugar glider to bond with you, it’s essential that they have regular human interaction. A great way to interact with it throughout the day is to let it ride in your shirt pocket or in a pouch around your neck.
Sugar gliders are typically not aggressive, but if they feel frightened or threatened they will bite. This is why you want to handle your sugar glider regularly, so they get used to you. Make sure to be gentle and patient while handling them.
Sugar gliders are quite vocal. They’ll make a variety of noises to let you know if they’re hungry, upset, frightened, and more.
Before attempting to bite, a sugar glider will usually make an audible warning when they’re angry. This is the sound you might hear if you wake a sugar glider out of sleep.
Unfortunately, sugar gliders aren’t usually potty trainable. Otherwise, though, they’re fairly clean pets. It’s pretty easy to maintain their enclosure, and their biggest care needs are socialization and maintaining a balanced diet.
Are Sugar Gliders Good Pets?
The answer to this isn’t quite as simple as yes or no. While a sugar glider could definitely be a good pet for one person, it might not be the right pet for someone else.
Sugar gliders are not as low-maintenance as gerbils or hamsters, for example. If you’re considering getting a sugar glider, you should expect that it will require almost as much care as a pet cat would. Check out this care guide to learn more about what it entails to take care of a sugar glider.
Creating a suitable habitat for your sugar glider will cost some money. You’ll, of course, also have to spend money on food for your little glider. It’s also ideal for you to have more than one because they are social and might otherwise get lonely.
Sugar gliders naturally live in colonies, so it’s only right to give them some companionship. It’s best to keep same-sex gliders together because mixing males and females can cause the males to become territorial and aggressive.
It’s also important to know that sugar gliders are not legal everywhere. Some US states prohibit keeping sugar gliders as pets, so you’ll want to check into your state laws first.
Is a Sugar Glider Pet Right For You?
Getting a new pet is always a responsibility, so it’s good to know what you’re getting into ahead of time. Not only is it a financial investment, but it will also be an investment of your time. Sugar gliders live for fourteen years on average, as well, so if you decide to take one home it’s important to realize that it’s a fairly long-term commitment.
All that being said, sugar gliders can be great little pets that offer entertainment and companionship. If you’re willing to take on the financial and time investment to have a cute little glider to carry around in your pocket during the day, they can definitely be worth the money and effort!
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