What is a Sugar Glider?

You have heard the name, maybe seen a photo of one. But do you really know what they are and if they make good pets?
Well, today we are starting you off with some basic information and some fun facts about sugar gliders.

The Sugar Glider (Petaurus Breviceps) is a small arboreal gliding possum. Sugar gliders originally come from Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea and Indonesia.

It is said the first Sugar Gliders arrived in the United States sometime around 1990.

Sugar Gliders have not been imported from Australia for many years. The Sugar Gliders we currently have that are being bred and sold here in the United States, have actually been imported from Indonesia.

Sugar Gliders are Nocturnal. They sleep all day and are up once the sun goes down on and off all night. All in all, a sugar glider can sleep roughly 20 hours a day.

Sugar Gliders are very social animals and in the wild they live in colonies of 7-9 per nest. After 2 years it is not uncommon for a sugar glider to start dispersing members from their nest, or to leave the nest and find a new one for itself.

In captivity it is recommended to have at least a pair living together in a cage. This does not mean that if you only have one it will die, however, if you only have one, much more attention and time will need to be given so your Sugar Glider does not become lonely or depressed.

As with most animal species, the males are often larger than the females. The average weight for a male can range between 115g-160g. The average weight for a female can range between 100g-135g.

A Sugar Glider is often between 5-7 inches in length from head and body with the tail measuring about the same length as the body.

A Sugar Gliders lifespan in captivity is averaged between 7-12 years with some Sugar Gliders living to a ripe age of 15. The longest life span in a zoo was recorded at 17.8 years.

Sugar Gliders are also very territorial. Sugar Gliders have scent glands in which they mark their territory and each other. The males scent glands can be seen on the top of the males head, which will resemble a balding area. This in fact is not balding but the fur is covered by an oil. The other noticeable area is located on the chest. They also mark their territory with their saliva. It is very possible if introducing another Sugar Glider into an established colony or pair, a fight may occur, sometimes resulting in death.

Sugar Gliders also have a gliding membrane, called a patagium, which is located from the fifth finger to the first toe. During a glide the Sugar Glider expands its patagium and it is guided using the tail. When coming in for a landing, it parachutes itself and often has a hard impact when landing.

A sugar glider has the capability of gliding up to 150 feet.

A female sugar glider has two uteri and carries her young inside her pouch. The young are born after a 16-day gestation period, at which time they will travel up the mothers stomach from the cloaca. The female will create a ‘licky trail’ so the embryo knows where to travel to. Once it finds the pouch and enters, it will then latch onto one of the four teats inside of mom’s pouch. The teat will swell in the young joey embryos mouth and grow as the joey grows.

A sugar glider has opposable thumbs on its rear feet.

A sugar glider requires a low protein diet.


This is just your beginning. Follow along with us and we will continue our blogs to tell you more and help you decide if a sugar glider will be the right pet for you, what diet they require to thrive, what type of housing is sufficient, what toys to keep in their cages, sleeping areas, and so much more.

If there is something you would like to know about, please leave us a comment below and we will be sure to check into it for you.

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