Animal-Medicine

11401 NE 195th St. Bothell, WA  98011

(425) 486-9000 PHONE  (425) 486-9002 fax

www.theexoticvet.com

Quick facts:

Enclosure

Sugar gliders require spacious cages that allow plenty of room for exercise. As they are an arboreal species and love to climb, sugar gliders prefer tall cages. Cages should be made of wire construction, as sugar gliders need to be able to scale the walls easily. Do not use glass aquariums. Wire spacing should be no more than 1”x ½” wide. The cage should be at least 36”L x24”W x 36”T, but bigger is always better! Place the cage in a quiet area of the house away from drafts. Sugar gliders need to be kept at temperatures between 65-90 degrees F, and their ideal temperature range is 75-80 degrees F.

The cage should be furnished with branches and braided flannel ropes of varying widths and altitudes within the cage. Cotton ropes can be used as long as they are not frayed; sugar gliders tend to get caught in loose threads, resulting in serious injuries. Include a few platforms and vertically-oriented branches. A plastic or wooden bird nest box should be placed high in the cage for the sugar glider to sleep in. The nest box can be filled with shredded paper or a recycled paper product (such as CareFresh). Alternatively, flannel pouches can be bought/made and serve as a suitable “nest” substitute. Multiple food dishes and water bottles should be placed in various locations throughout the cage. Nest areas and bedding should be cleaned and changed at least once every other day, and the entire cage should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a week.

Sugar gliders like to hide in dark areas, and tunnels made from PCV pipes are often favorite toys. Some gliders enjoy running in exercise wheels (must have a solid floor, no open rungs). Tame gliders can be let out of their cage to play in the evenings, but they must be supervised at all times to prevent potentially fatal accidents.

Nutrition

Sugar gliders have intricate dietary needs. Contrary to popular belief, they will not stay healthy on a diet of sweet food items only. They need a significant amount of protein in their diet. Currently, there are no commercially available, “complete” sugar glider diets, although some products have been developed that can help provide a nutritional base (such as the High Protein Wombaroo diet).

All Sugar gliders’ diets MUST include:

It can be difficult to provide a varied and healthy sugar glider diet. There are several recipes for homemade sugar glider diets available on the internet. Some diets are healthier than others, and some are lacking in essential nutrients. The Bourbon’s Modified Leadbeaters (BML) Mix is one of the most popular and healthy diets available for sugar gliders. However, the BML Mix is NOT a complete diet, and is designed to be fed with a mixture of healthy fruits, vegetables, and insects.

Bourbon’s Modified Leadbeaters (BML) Recipie

Blend the honey, egg, and apple juice in a blender until smooth. Turn off the blender and add the Gerber juice and Rep-cal Herpivite Vitamin Supplement. Blend until smooth and then turn off blender. Add the Rep-cal Calcium Supplement, the chicken baby food, wheat germ, and dry baby cereal. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into ice cube trays, filling each compartment only halfway*, and place into the freezer. (*The volume of a full ice cube in standard ice cube trays equals about 2 Tbsp. This diet should be served in 1 Tbsp. increments, so if frozen in this way, each “BML cube” contains a daily dose.)

Here is an example of a daily diet for 1 sugar glider:

Feed in the evening and remove food in the morning to avoid spoilage. Always have fresh, clean water available. Never mix vitamins into the water, as vitamins will quickly denature and promote bacterial growth in the water.

DO NOT GIVE your sugar glider chocolate, wild caught insects, fireflies, or treats high in fat/salt.

Behavior

Sugar gliders adapt well to human contact and develop strong relational bonds with their owners. They are communal animals that need the company of another sugar glider to prevent behavioral problems from developing, and should never be housed alone. A minimum of 2 hours of quality human interaction/day is recommended. Because sugar gliders are nocturnal, they are best handled early in the morning or late in the evening.

Health problems

Many of the diseases we see in sugar gliders are due to inappropriate husbandry, and are entirely preventable. We recommend having your sugar glider examined by an exotic animal veterinarian at least once a year to monitor its health status and try to prevent/identify health problems before they become severe. Sugar gliders often hide signs of illness until they are very sick. A yearly exam and blood test can be an extremely useful screening tool for these animals.

Common diseases include:

 

 

March 30, 2015

Content of this Care Sheet Courtesy of:

The Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine 

11401 NE 195th St. Bothell, WA  98011

(425) 486-9000 PHONE  (425) 486-9002 fax

www.theexoticvet.com