Frequently asked questions
Is the sugar glider a rodent?
No! Rodents have long central teeth that are growing continuously their entire life and that require them to gnaw continuously to control the length of their central teeth. The sugar glider has long central teeth that are not continuous-growing and complete dental arches behind the central incisors. Even though sugar gliders like to chew for fun and play, this is not a necessity in their case.
What does OOP mean?
This term (Out of pouch) indicates the day the joey leaves the ventral pouch of his mother for the first time. This date is used to establish the official birth date of the joey.
What is “bonding”?
Bonding is a term to designate the phase where the bond of trust and attachment is created between the sugar glider and his new human family. Bonding can be done with an animal of any age if love, care and time are given during the period of adaptation. This phase is very important and is the first you will experience with your little one, once back home. It requires time, patience and varies greatly from one animal to another. The important thing is to take care of your sugar glider every day, to go at its own pace without rushing him, let him come to you, speak to him gently and give him treats (mealworms, yogurt treats, fruits, etc.). Carrying your little one on you, in a "bonding" pouch when sleeping, petting him gently while sleeping in his "bonding" pouch, will speed up the bonding process for sure. The sugar glider is an animal as intelligent and faithful as a dog and as playful as a kitten. The investment of time to gain his or her trust is well worth it!
Do the sugar gliders need vaccines/immunization?
NO. Due to their lower body temperature, compared to placental mammals, sugar gliders are naturally immunized from most diseases that other placental mammals may catch such as rabies. Sugar gliders do not require regular visit to the veterinarian unless a health problem is noticed.
Can the sugar gliders be neutered/spayed?
YES, if it's a male. In fact, neutering for the male is a relatively simple procedure, carried out under anesthesia, by a veterinarian and which can be done at 8-9 weeks old or as soon as the testicles are descended into the scrotum and visible.
NO, if it's a female. The procedure is too invasive and too risky for the female and should not be considered for the safety of the animal.
What is Giardia and how can my sugar glider be contaminated?
Giardia is an intestinal infection caused by Giardia lamblia, a microscopic unicellular parasite. Giardia lamblia usually elect home in rivers, soils and food contaminated by human feces as well as contaminated animal feces. In Canada, giardia is one of the most common parasitic infections in humans. ALWAYS wash your hands, dishes and wash fruits/vegetables thoroughly before touching your sugar glider or manipulating its food.
What is self mutilation and how to avoid it?
When a sugar glider suffers from an untreated illness, has a bad diet, is left to itself without human interaction, has no sugar glider buddy or is living in a very stressful environment, it can self mutilate itself. Providing a cage companion, changing cage accessories disposition, changing toys from time to time will help stimulate and keep busy your sugar glider. At the first sign of self mutilation, the animal must be seen immediately by a veterinarian, the source of the problem eliminated and a e-collar or e-Jacket must be installed on the animal to stop this behavior.
If I want a buddy for my sugar glider, what sex to choose?
All combinations are possible for two or more. The important thing is to NEVER put two intact males or an intact male with a neutered male as co-tenants of the cage. On the other hand, if ALL males are neutered, there is no problem for cohabitation. For females, the fact of being spayed or not, has no influence on behavior towards other sugar gliders. Remember that an intact male with a female WILL breed for sure.
Male or female?
No matter whether your sugar glider is a male or a female, sex has no influence on the personality. Like dogs or cats, they are all different and each has their own personality and character.
What is paralysis (HLP) and what causes it?
HLP Paralysis (HLP) is caused by a calcium deficiency often associated with a poor and unbalanced diet. It is important to always use a tested diet for your sugar gliders (BML, TPG, HPW, etc.) and to respect a final calcium: phosphorus ratio between 1,5:1 and 2,5:1 in your diet.
Can I get my sugar glider declawed?
Absolutely not! The sugar glider needs its little nails to perform its acrobatics, grip, manipulate its food, clean itself, etc. They should never be declawed. Instead, a regular trim of the tip of the claws will be done with an slant tip nail clipper to prevent accidental injury to small fingers/toes. A nail trimming kit can also be installed in the exercise wheel to extend the length between nail trimmings.
Can a sugar glider bite?
YES! Any animal with teeth can bite. That's why we should not limit hands contact only to give treats, otherwise the animal will associate fingers = food. The affectionate contacts must therefore be very frequent from the earliest age of the sugar glider and from his arrival in his new home. Young joeys usually like to chew because that is how they discover their environment. If your young joey nibbles you a bit too hard, you have to educate it that you do not like this behavior. Gently tap the top of his nose with your forefinger making the sound "TSSS" in a firm, strong tone and say "No, gently!" Your joey will understand after a few times.
Do sugar gliders make good animals for very young children?
Absolutely not! Sugar gliders are small animals with delicate corpulence that could be easily injured if they are handled roughly or held too hard by a very young child.
Can the sugar glider play with my other animals?
This is not recommended! Sugar gliders are small animals with delicate corpulence that could be easily injured by playing with bigger animals.
Can I leave my sugar glider free to fly and play outside?
This is not recommended! Outside is full of dangers for them (birds, animals, parasites, sudden changes in temperature, cars, swimming pools, etc.). Only a person with a very strong bond of trust with his sugar glider could take the risk of bringing it outside without a bonding pouch, but the risk that the sugar glider will run away is great.
What are the sounds produced by sugar gliders?
Sugar gliders make all sorts of sounds like barking, crabbing, chirping, clicking, purring and whistling. Each sound has a meaning that depends on the mood or environment of the sugar glider. They have a very elaborate language; constantly communicate with each other or with humans. The first sound you will most likely experience will be the very intimidating "crabbing" that the sugar glider does when he is afraid or when he is disturbed in his sleep.
Can sugar gliders be potty trained?
No. However you will learn to know your sugar glider over time and its personal habits in the matter. They often make their "stuff" when they are awaken, so to reduce the risks of any accident before taking your sugar glider, plan to give them time to do whatever they need to do. Be prepared and bring baby wipes with you just in case.
Do sugar gliders have an odor?
The sugar gliders have a very variable musky odor from one animal to another and also depending on their diet. With a well balanced diet and regular cleaning of the cage and accessories, sugar gliders have slightly or no odor, and comparable to the smell of a young puppy. The sexually mature male has a slightly stronger musky odor caused by a gland on the head, one on the chest and two near the cloaca (urethra/anus). However, if the animal is neutered, the glands dry and the odor becomes the same as for a female and comparable to a puppy dog smell.
Can sugar gliders swim?
Absolutely not! Sugar gliders cannot swim and will drown if they fall into the water. It is therefore essential to close the toilet lid, keep an eye on aquariums and sinks, when doing play time with the animal outside its cage.
Can sugar gliders bond to several people?
Absolutely! Sugar gliders are group/colony animals. Once they trust their human family, they will not hesitate to glide from one family member to the other to his delight. Family members must handle him/her often and on a regular basis to establish this trust.
Is it true that bonding can only be done with a young joey?
This is completely false! Since sugar gliders have great intelligence and a strong need to live in group, building the bond of attachment and trust with your sugar glider is favored and can be done at any age if you put love, patience and time to build this bond.