Sugar gliders are small nocturnal marsupials. Some called these animals sugar glider babies or joeys. From their name itself, we can guess that these joeys prefer sugary foods and have the ability to glide through air. Generally, it is grey to brownish in color with black strip from its nose to its back. Other parts like throat, chest and belly are creamy color. It has a thick and soft fur coat which is very nice to be touch on and a swivel ears that is very sensitive to sound. These are the 5 tips in caring for your sugar gliders.
Tip 1: Selection of Housing
A good housing is important for your sugar glider. Basically the bigger the house the better it is for them to have enough space in exercise. By gliding, it might often term as "flying" if there is sufficient height and space for them to glide down. A cage with size of 55 inches height x 18 inches depth x 30 inches width would be a good start. You would also need to have a tray at the bottom of your cage to put your bedding materials. Try to put in several sizes of branches or jumping ledges for them to exercise during the night. You may hang in a hammock, futon, tent or nesting pouch for them to stay cozy. This also allows them to curl up and sleep during the day and as a hiding place to feel safe. Regular cleaning will be required to maintain good hygiene condition. Sufficient amount of washable fleece will be needed to rotate for cleaning. What is important for you to bond is your scent. Therefore you may scent your fleece to smell like you and let them get to know our smell by putting the fleece into the cage.
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Tip 2: Diet & Nutrition
Sugar gliders are actually omnivorous whereby they will eat insects and worms. However, they also do eat wide variety foods ranging from saps of trees, fruits, nuts and yogurt! They prefer sweet and sugary foods like apples. You may provide them HPW as a main daily diet to maintain a healthy diet. Some good quality of supplement in pellet form will be recommended as well. This is because they tend to easily develop hind-leg paralysis due to calcium deficiency from improper diet. You may provide special treats during your bonding time with them as well.
Tip 3: Grooming
It is fascinating to see your sugar glider grooming. If you observe them closely, you will be able to see that they use their hind leg that actually looks like a grooming comb to groom and clean themselves. Otherwise, there are also shampoos for you to clean them if you wanted to do so. You may just need to take note on their nails as it might be quite painful when they are climbing on your body. Trimming will be required once a week but be extra careful during trimming as their blood vein is very near to the nails and difficult to be seen. You may opt to put sandpaper under a wheel to reduce the frequency of nail trimming.
Tip 4: Bonding
Why would you choose a sugar glider as a pet? The first answer might be due their tendency to be 100% attached to you once bonded. They will be stressed for 2-3 days after bringing it home. Put them into their new cage for 24 hours without touching or playing with them. However, you can be around and nearby them to show your presence in order to let them get used to you. How to bond with them? You can start your bonding process by holding them with both hands, one hand as base while the other as a protection. This will make them feel safe. They will sleep soundly on your palm. Repeat this daily for few hours. I would like to term sugar glider as "pocket pet" because you can also put them into your pocket. Allow them to curl into your pocket and they will consider it as safe heaven.
Tip 5: Toys
Sugar gliders are very playful. You may have the time to play with them during the day but not during the night. Therefore, you can provide them some climbing ladder, climbing chains, running wheels, wooden chew toys, and even branches. They will be running around in the cage and playing with the toys you provide during this active time. You don't have to worry on them having nothing to do during the night.
For a complete and further understanding on caring for your sugar glider, you may refer to the book title Sugar Gliders: The Complete Sugar Glider Care Guide