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Sugar Glider 101

Sugar Glider Basics

Sugar glider hands and “feet”:

Sugar gliders don’t have feet instead they have 4 hands and thumbs. 

Your sugar gliders will need to have their nails trimmed about 2 weeks, and this is something we can show you how to do, or you can ask your vet to show you how to trim nails.  There may be a small fee for that additional service but is vital to your gliders well-being. Never clip their grooming claws on their back paws. Sugar gliders also need to have longer nails to hold onto you if they are riding on your shoulder or are jumping to you from their cage or someone else. In this case wear a long-sleeved shirt to protect you from their longer nails. If you cut their nails too short, they will slide off you like butter, not a good thing! Keep your gliders safe. However, if the nails get too long, they can get stuck in their sleeping pouch and this could be dangerous. Just slightly clipping the small sharp tip is our best advice.

Sugar glider teeth:

Sugar gliders incisors (bottom and front teeth) do not continually grow like rodents.  In their natural habitat in the wild, sugar gliders, use their teeth to pry open bark and to scoop out fruit.  Their tongues are long to allow them to lick juice, water and other sweet things.  In addition, their long tongues help them in grooming and cleaning one another.

(Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you allow your veterinarian to trim your sugar glider’s teeth. Not all veterinarians are familiar with marsupials.)

Sugar gliders need something hard to chew on to keep their teeth clean, much like a dog keeps their teeth clean. We recommend Sugar Glider Brunch and our premium brand of monkey biscuits with a dental guard in them.

Your veterinarian should look at their teeth during their annual checkup and clean their teeth when necessary. 

Sugar glider eyes:

Those big beautiful eyes that appear to be black are actually dark brown. Sugar gliders are nocturnal and have exceptional vision at night.  The question has been asked, “do sugar gliders see color?”  Upon doing research we found that “marsupials have a strong color vision that is not limited to just a color (including sugar gliders)

Be careful not to have any sharp or pointed objects in their cage that could injury their eyes. If they should get an eye injury take them to your vet right away for veterinary observation and possibly antibiotics for the eye.

Sugar glider Fur:

Sugar gliders have very soft fur. They are meticulous groomers and do not require bathing. However, it is possible they could need help getting cleaned up if they got into something they weren’t supposed to. They have two grooming claws, on their back paws, next to their back thumbs (big toes). These grooming claws are very close together for good grooming, sort of like a comb. Since they have fur instead of hair you won’t notice any shedding, which is minimal. Their fur is just long enough so that baby sugar glider joeys can hold on for a ride on mom and dads backs. Their fur comes in many different colors and 

Sugar glider Tail:

A sugar gliders tail acts like a rudder to guide them when they glide. Their tail is not prehensile (not able to grasp like a hand), but they are able to carry leaves, branches and small toys around their cage and to their sleeping pouch. If you have several cages of sugar gliders make sure they are not too close to one another as a glider could grab their tail and injury would occur. Also, they must have a glider safe wheel so as not to sustain a tail injury. The best and safest sugar glider wheel, which we helped design, is the Raptor Wheel, available at HERE. This wheel comes in 5 different colors and has nail trimmers on the outside of the wheel. It has an open track so if they potty while they are running it will fall through and not get on them. You can also order a stainless-steel track which will virtually last forever. Plastic tracks are also available. With sugar glider ownership our main objective and yours, is their safety.

Sugar glider Veterinary Care:

Sugar gliders do not require any vaccinations, do not carry diseases but can get sick from bad food or unsanitary conditions, just like us. Sugar gliders should have an annual physical check up by your exotic sugar glider veterinarian. Our veterinarian in Houston, TX is Animal Medical Center of the Village (713-524-3800). Also keep contact information available for an emergency vet who treats sugar gliders in case the need should arise.