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Sugar Glider FAQ (3/4) - Care & Maintenance

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Archive-name: pets/sugar-gliders/part3
Last-modified: 26 Jul 1995
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Version: 1.1

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Sugar Glider FAQ [3/4] - Care & Maintenance
Compiled & Maintained by Tim Hussey
This document is copyright 1995 by Tim Hussey and Ruth Grove.

Subject: TABLE OF CONTENTS 3. **** Housing Sugar Gliders **** (3.1) What type of housing do Sugar Gliders require? (3.2) What do Sugar Gliders need to climb/play on? (3.3) What do Sugar Gliders need for sleeping/shelter? (3.4) What type of bedding is best for Sugar Gliders? (3.5) Can Sugar Gliders have free roam of your house? 4. **** Feeding Sugar Gliders **** (4.1) Basic nutrional requirements of the Sugar Glider (4.2) Why are fresh fruits and vegetable so important? (4.3) Foods that Sugar Gliders will eat & are good for them (4.4) What are good treats for Sugar Gliders? (4.5) Keeping standards versus variety 5. **** Companionship and Exercise **** (5.1) Do Sugar Gliders enjoy human companionship? (5.2) How can I get my Sugar Glider to bond with me? (5.3) When bonded, what can I expect?
Subject: (3.1) What type of housing do Sugar Gliders require? Housing sugar gliders is relatively easy and, being clean animals, require relatively low maintenance. The cage, preferably, should be made of nothing smaller than 1" X .5" welded wire (so babies can't escape). A wire cage is practically a necessity, in order to give them plenty to climb around on. Many bird cages on the market today work great, but making your own may give you more space and be cheaper. The cage should be no smaller than 20" X 20" X 20". My cage is round -- 24" in diameter and 38" tall -- and easily accommodates my two gliders.
Subject: (3.2) What do Sugar Gliders need to climb/play on? One requirement is the presence of live fruit tree branches. These serve two purposes -- first, they provide a natural environment for gliders to climb and keep their teeth healthy. Being arboreal, sugar gliders absolutely need branches to climb around on to be physical fit. Plus, it fun to watch them run around -- they are extremely coordinated and excellent climbers. Secondly, like other small animals, glider teeth never stop growing and they need something to gnaw on. However, unlike hamsters and bunnies, gliders won't touch anything artificial -- they want the real thing. The best thing to use are wild apple and sassafras branches. I have also been told that oak tree branches will also work. However, whatever you use DO NOT USE ANY BRANCH THAT HAS BEEN SPRAYED WITH PESTICIDES. In the wild, gliders chew the bark off trees looking for insects and sap, so the branches will keep them occupied while your not around.
Subject: (3.3) What do Sugar Gliders need for sleeping/shelter? Another requirement is a nest box to sleep in during the day. They will all sleep together in one box, so only one is needed. The main thing is to make sure they can get away from the light during the day. You should NEVER have your gliders out in direct sun, in that it is very harmful to their eyes (not to mention interrupting their sleep schedule). In the wild, they sleep in tree hollows in groups during the day. The best thing to fit this need is a bird nesting box. My gliders are very comfortable in a common finch nesting box found in any pet store, where I have placed 2-3 unscented tissues for pillows/blankets.
Subject: (3.4) What type of bedding is best for Sugar Gliders? As far as bedding goes, I have found corn cob bedding to work best. Cedar has it's obvious draw-backs (see the bedding FAQ regularly posted on rec.pets) and pine bedding gets to be really messy because of sticky paws from fruit juices. Newspaper can also be used, put has the same drawback as pine. Also, if you do use newspaper, you should be aware that colored ink is deadly to many species of gliders. The bedding should be changed as needed, which is usually every 1.5-2 weeks for mine.
Subject: (3.5) Can Sugar Gliders have free roam of your house? Gliders should never be left alone with free roam of your house. They can and will chew on some furniture and love to tear up drapes. They can be definitely be left out of their cage -- they just need to be watched. So, be sure to leave them in their cages, unless supervised.
Subject: (4.1) Basic nutrional requirements of the Sugar Glider Gliders need a solid 75 percent fruit and 25 percent protein diet. Anything more or less in can be very harmful, and even fatal. Low fat is also a definite need for these guys -- they don't handle fat very well and too much can be very harmful.
Subject: (4.2) Why are fresh fruits and vegetable so important? The presence of fruit in their diets cannot be ignored, however. I give my gliders a piece of fresh fruit about every three days. They are fond of anything tropical, and are seem not to like apples or bananas very much. They love grapes, raisins, melons, and oranges. They also love yogurt (low-fat!) with fruit and any fruit juices. Fresh fruits and vegetables are very important because they should be a staple diet.
Subject: (4.3) Foods that Sugar Gliders will eat & are good for them Here is a list of foods I have found to be popular with gliders and good for them, too: pineapple, peaches, apples, pears, strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, melons, grapes, papaya, apricots, oranges, corn, sweet potatoes, squash, fruit juices, blueberries, dried fruit, fruit jams, assorted baby foods, low-fat deli turkey and ham, peanuts, raisins, carrots, mealworms, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried peas, almonds. Here is a diet of the Squirrel glider used by Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. Thanks goes out here to Ruth Grove. The diet for the Sugar glider is the same except having smaller quantities. Half of each will probably do Ok. check and see. Apple 3g Banana/Corn 3g Dog Kibble 1.5g Fly pupae 1 teaspoon Grapes/Kiwi fruit 3g Hard Boiled Egg 10g Leadbeaters Mix 2 teaspoons (details of mix below) Orange (incl. skin) 4g Pear 2g Rockmelon/Paw Paw 2g Sweet potato 3g Day Old chick Wednesdays. Larger insects when available eg. mealworms. Leadbeaters Mix Warm Water 450ml Honey 450ml Shelled boiled eggs 3 High-Protein baby cerial 75g Sustage (Voitamin supplement) 3 teaspoons Method Add warm water to container, slowly add the honey and mix in. Blend eggs (no shells) until mushy. Add 1/2 honey/water mix to the blended eggs, blend. Add the remainder of honey/water mix, blend. Add sustagen and half the baby cerial, blend Add the remaining baby cereal Blend for 1.5 minutes to make mixture lump free. This zoo diet is perfect, and should be followed as closely as possible.
Subject: (4.4) What are good treats for Sugar Gliders? Good treats for gliders are anything sweets -- favorites are honey, and sugar cane sticks. These should obviously be given in moderation. They also love sweet potatoes and mealworms, which can be given often. Use your imagination here -- they are good eaters and love just about anything sweet. Just use common sense (for example, taffy would be a bad idea).
Subject: (4.5) Keeping standards versus variety Something can be said for both methods. Personally, I use two food bowls -- one remains the same and one rotates. My standard is Sun Seed's Fabulous Fruit parrot food. The ingredients are: Dehydrated banana, dehydrated pineapple, dehydrated papaya, raisins, dehydrated coconut, peanuts, dehydrated peas, dehydrated carrots, red pepper, orange extract, sugar. This is a very good diet because their are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, all of which are not good for a glider's constitution. Although they won't eat the banannas, they love everything else in the mix. I also add IAMs cat food to this mix (they love the lamb & rice flavor).
Subject: (5.1) Do Sugar Gliders enjoy human companionship? Gliders *love* to be with people once they have been tamed and bonded. They prefer their actually owners, but they do love to run around the house with you, playing hide and seek games.
Subject: (5.2) How can I get my Sugar Glider to bond with me? Just spend lots and lots of time with it. Some gliders tame much better than others, depending on whether they had tame parents and their age, but most will eventually come around. Just be patient and do not force anything. Also, wearing gloves will mask your scent, which defeats the whole purpose of handling.
Subject: (5.3) When bonded, what can I expect? You can expect a glider that loves to be around you and craves your attention. They love hide-and-seek games and to finger wrestle. My gliders jump out to see me each evening and jump right out on me to play. ------------------------------ == End of Part 3 == -- - Tim Hussey e-mail: Gliding the Web Homepage URL: -- See my Sugar Glider & Gecko Homepages: Got gliders? email me...

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