Sugar gliders can be soft and cuddly little pets

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Alyssa Landau Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Alyssa Landau
Columnist, The Friday Flyer

When I was first introduced to a sugar glider, I thought it was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. It reminded me of a combination of a squirrel and chinchilla.

In actuality, they are from the marsupial group, the same as koalas and kangaroos! They have the name “Sugar Glider” because they enjoy eating things that have high sugar content and will eat almost anything sweet. They also like to “glide.”

A16-PIC-2-sugar-gliderThese cuties are found in the rain forests of Australia and Indonesia. Although you cannot purchase one in California, they are available in other states. The same goes for ferrets and hedgehogs.

Food and supplies for sugar gliders are sold at most pet stores. Below, I will discuss what you need for the sugar glider and what makes this animal such an adorable pet. With that face, how could anyone not find it lovable?

In order to have a happy and healthy sugar glider, you must first learn what it needs when it comes to diet and habitat, as well as finding out its temperament and learn other fun facts along the way. Let’s get started!

A16-PIC-1-sugar-gliderDiet – Sugar gliders love crickets and mealworms; these should be their major food source. There should always be mealworms or crickets inside the cage. Have you ever watched one of these creatures catch a cricket? It is truly amazing. It is recommended to buy a mineral powder to sprinkle on top of the crickets to give the glider more of the nutrients its body needs.

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, this animal can have both. Fruits include apples, grapes, mangos, tangerines and bananas. Vegetables include carrots, artichokes, eggplant, celery and avocado. The foods you want to avoid feeding are garlic, onion, chocolate, rhubarb and lima beans.

Make sure to always have water filled and food available at all times in case your pet gets hungry during the night. Discard any food that hasn’t been eaten within 24 hours.

Fun fact: Unlike ferrets, if fed a proper diet, sugar gliders have no odor!

Habitat – Sugar gliders love to climb up on tall things and sit up high, so it is essential that the owner buys a cage that is both tall and wide. It not only will help to keep your pet mentally healthy, but physically happy as well. Nothing is worse for a creature that likes to glide onto objects than to be stuck in a cage with hardly enough room to climb.

Contrary to common belief, these creatures do not fly; they instead like to jump off tall objects and glide downwards until they land. They cannot flap and propel themselves higher, but instead fall lower. They jump off and extend their limbs, which gradually slows their plummet.

The suggested minimum size for a cage would be around three feet tall; but I recommend going taller. As for décor, it is nice to have a small house or nesting box situated at the top corner of the cage to let the glider climb up high and situate themselves inside a secure dwelling. These animals can live up to 15 years, so it is ideal to have them in a habitat that is to their liking.

Fun fact: Sugar gliders can glide over 140 feet!

Temperament – The sugar glider is very loyal. They’re one of the few pets that, once they get a good enough bond with their owner, can stay on your shoulder while you go outside without the risk of them running away. They actually love staying in your bag or pocket. How cute is that?

Fun fact: Sugar Gliders grow only to about 5 inches but the tail adds another 6!

Other facts – These guys don’t ever need a bath because they keep themselves clean just like cats! Not only that, sugar gliders are playful, amusing and very social. You will never have a dull moment with these little guys in your house.

It is best to keep them in groups or pairs because they thrive on social interaction; but if you cannot afford a companion for yours, then being social with him every day is mandatory. They are rarely aggressive and, if you are committed to socializing them, they will become soft and cuddly pets.

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Sharon Rice