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Sugar Glider Care

Just Getting Started

In the beginning it can be overwhelming with making sure you get all the proper items for your new pet. There are so many do's and don'ts out there and a lot of bad info, I know it can be hard to decipher it all at first. Below you find find a simplified list of items that you will need before bringing your new babies home.
  • Proper diet ingredients (See Nutrition page for a list of approved diets)
  • Cage (see Housing page for suggestions on which cage is best)
  • At least 2 fleece cage pouches
  • Minimum of 3-4 toys,
  • Glider safe wheel
  • Zippered bonding pouch
  • Water bottle
  • Food bowl
  • Treats
  • Cage cover

Now with all that being said, you will easily spend a minimum of $1000 to properly get set up with a pair of joeys and all the supplies needed to properly take care of them. They are not a cheap or easy pet to care for. The good thing is that if you invest your money into quality items then they will last you a very long time. You can expect to have to replace cage pouches every few months, ​add new toys so they don't get bored, and continually spend money on diet supplies but everything else should last a good while. Please be sure to check out my Housing and Nutrition pages before you start buying your supplies. There are a lot of unsafe items out there that are marketed for sugar gliders but are not safe for them.



A good diet is essential to the long, healthy life of a Sugar Glider. Sugar Gliders tend to be high maintenance when it comes down to their diet. The calcium and phosphorus ratios in their diet have to be just right. There are many proven diets out there that are made and formulated especially just for Sugar Gliders, but there is not one staple diet that contains all the vitamins and nutrients that a Sugar Glider needs. Here at Lucky You Gliders, all of our gliders are fed the Critter Love Complete diet (HPW).


For more information on the Critter Love diets and to buy ingredients, visit www.critterlove.com. HPW type diets without the Critter Love name are not a good choice.



Along with each diet you must also offer fruits and veggies. Not all fruits and veggies are safe for Sugar Gliders. Here is a list of safe fruits and veggies for your Sugar Glider along with their ca:ph ratios. Each glider should be offered 1 Tablespoon of fruits every night.

Safe Fruits

Acerola 1:1 ; Apple (with Skin) 1:1 ;Apple (without Skin) 0.5:1 ; Apricots 0.7:1 ; Banana:0.3:1 ; Blackberries 1.5:1 ; Breadfruit 0.5:1 ; Cantaloupe 0.6:1 ; Carambola 0.2:1 ; Carissa 1.5:1 ; Casaba Melon 0.7:1 ; Cherimoya 0.5:1 ; Cherries (Sweet) 0.7:1 ; Crab Apples 1.2:1 ; Cranberries 0.7:1 ; Currants (European Black) 0.9:1 ; Currants (Red & White) 0.7:1 ; Currants (Zante) 0.6:1 ; Custard Apple 1.4:1 ; Dates 0.8:1 ; Elderberries 0.9:1 ; Figs 2.5:1 ; Grapes (American (Slip Skin)) 1.4:1 ; Grapes (European) 0.8:1 ; Grapefruit (Pink & Red): 1.2:1 Grapefruit (white): 1.5:1 Ground Cherries 0.2:1 ; Honeydew Melon 0.6:1 ; Jackfruit 0.9:1 ; Java Plum 1.1 ; 1 Jujube: 0.9:1 ; Kiwifruit 0.6:1 ; Kumquat 2.3:1 ; Lemon 4.0:1 ; Lemon Peel 11.1:1 ; Lime 1.8:1 ; Longans 0.04:1 ; Loquats 0.5:1 ; Mammy Apple 1:1; Mango 0.9:1 ; Mulberries 1:1 ; Nectarine 0.3:1 ; Oheloberries 0.7:1 ; Orange Peel 7.6:1 ; Orange (Navel) 2.1:1 ; Orange (Valencia) 2.3:1 ; Papaya 4.8:1 ; Passion Fruit (Purple) 0.1:1 ; Peach 0.4:1 ; Pear 1:1 ; Persimmon 1:1 ; Persimmon (Japanese) 0.4:1 ; Pineapple 1:1 ; Pitanga 100 grams 0.8:1 ; Plantain 0.1:1 ; Plum 0.4:1 ; Pomegranate 0.3:1 ; Prickly Pear 2.3:1 ; Prunes 0.6:1 ; Pummelo 0.2:1 ; Quince 0.6:1 ; Raisins (Golden Seedless) 0.4:1 ; Raisins (Seeded) 1:1 ; Raisins (Seedless) 0.5:1 ; Raspberries 1.8:1 ; Rose Apple 3.6:1 ; Roselle: 5.8:1 ; Sapodilla 1.7:1 ; Sapote 1.4:1 ; Soursop 0.5:1 ; Strawberries 0.7:1 ; Sugar Apple 0.7:1 ; Tamarind 0.6:1 ; Tangerine 1.4:1 ; Watermelon 0.9:1

Safe Vegetables

Alfalfa (Sprouts) 0.5:1 ; Amaranth 4.3:1 ; Artichoke 0.2:1 ; Asparagus 0.4:1 ; Avocado (California) 0.3:1 ; Avocado (Florida) 0.3:1 ; Bamboo Shoots 0.2:1 ; Beats 0.4:2 ; Beet Greens 2.9:1 ; Broccoli 0.7:1 ; Broccoli (Spears) 1.1:1 ; Brussels Sprouts 0.6:1 ; Burdock Root 0.8:1 ; Cabbage (Green) 2.0:1 ; Cabbage (Red) 1.2:1 ; Carrots 0.6:1 ; Cauliflower 0.5:1 ; Celery 1.6:1 ; Chayote 1.0:1 ; Chicory Greens 2.1:1 ; Chinese Cabbage 2.8:1 ; Collard Greens 14.5:1 ; Coriander 2.7:1 ; Corn (Yellow) 0.02:1 ; Cucumber (with or without Skin) 0.7:1 ; Dandelion Greens 2.8:1 ; Dock 0.7:1 ; Endive 1.9:1 ; Eggplant 0.3:1 ; French Beans 0.6:1 ; Ginger Root 0.7:1 ; Green Beans (Snap Beans) 1.0:1 ; Jew's Ear (Pepeao) 1.1:1 ; Jute (Potherb) 2.5:1 ; Lettuce (Butter Head) 1.4:1 ; Lettuce (Iceberg) 1.0:1 ; Lettuce (Loose Leaf) 2.7:1 ; Lettuce (Romaine) 0.8:1 ; Lupines 0.4:1 ; Kale 2.4:1 ; Kohlrabi 0.5:1 ; Mushrooms 0.2:1 ; Mustard Greens 2.4:1 ; Mustard Spinach 7.5:1 ; Napa Cabbage 1.5:1 ; Okra 1.3:1 ; Parsley 2.3:1 ; Parsnips 0.5:1 ; Peas (Green) 0.2:1 ; Peppers (Sweet) 0.5:1 ; Pumpkin 0.5:1 ; Radish 1.2:1 ; Rutabaga 0.8:1 ; Soy Bean (Green) 1.0:1 ; Soy Bean (Sprouts) 0.4:1 ; Spinach 2.0:1 ; Squash (Acorn) 0.9:1 ; Squash (Butternut) 1.5:1 ; Squash (Hubbard) 0.7:1 ; Squash (Spaghetti) 1.9:1 ; Squash (Summer, All Variety) 0.6:1 ; Squash (Winter, All Variety) 1:1 ; Squash (Zucchini) 0.5:1 ; Sweet Potato 0.8:1 ; Swiss Chard 1.1:1 ; Tofu (Firm) 1.1:1 ; Tofu (Regular) 1.2:1 ; Tomato (Green) 0.5:1 ; Tomato (Red) 0.2:1 ; Turnip 1.1:1 ; Turnip Greens 4.5:1 ; Watercress 2:1 ; Yams 0.3:1


In addition to a proven diet, fruits, and vegetables, a Sugar Glider also needs to be offered another source of protein. A gliders favorite protein treat is meal worms. I don't know of a glider that doesn't go crazy over mealworms. Other good sources of protein are eggs(cooked) and chicken(cooked with no additives). Your glider should be offered a source of protein everyday.


Treats should be given sparingly to your Sugar Glider so you don't spoil their appetite for supper. My glider's favorite treat is Yogies. Yogies are also know as yogurt drops, they look like a chocolate ship except that they are yogurt and are usually vanilla or fruit flavored. You can find Yogies in your local PetCo or you can order them from Nuts.com. You can can also use white chocolate baking chips, or other flavors like peanut butter, and butterscotch AS LONG AS THEY DO NOT CONTAIN COCOA. You can also offer your gliders a array of dried fruits as a treat. Pine nuts are also a good treat for your gliders. Pine nuts are high in fat so only give them about 4-5 a day. You can f ind pine nuts at your local Wal-Mart, either in the baking section with the nuts or with the packaged salads.


A dry food can be offered in addition to a proven diet for a daytime snack. The only dry food that I recommend is Happy Glider pellets sold by WWW.Pet-Pro.COM. Mention my name when you order to receive 10% off. I keep this in my cages at all times. I use a coffee mug and fill it half way full so they can't dig it out and waste it when it drops to the drop pan.


Most gliders will drink from a water bottle with no problems at all. Make sure you have a water bottle that does not leak. Give you gliders fresh water daily and sanitize the water bottle every week or so with mild bleach water. The Lixit glass water bottles are the absolute best in my opinion. They are glass so they can be sterilized and I've had some for many years that have never leaked. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=21311

Water Bottle Safety

Sugar gliders have get dehydrated within 24 hours of not having any water, which can lead to permanent illness or death. One of my joeys that I sold died at only 9 weeks old because of a failed water bottle. You must check your water bottle every single night to make sure that it is not leaking and it not clogged. It is best to have 2 water bottles or a water bottle and a dish of water just in case your water bottle would default. I use Lixit glass water bottles, they have lasted me many many years and still do not leak.




I can not count how many times an owner has come to me, excited to bring home their glider only to find out that all the research they have done so far is outdated or unsafe advice. Websites like Exotic Nutrition, Pocket Pets, Amazon, etc do not care about the safety of your gliders, they are there to simply make money. The items these sites sell are not safe. Sometimes you can get lucky and find a few safe cages or treats on these sites but for cage sets, toys, and wheels you need to be contacting vendors that specialize in sugar glider safety. These vendors take the time to make the items by hand to ensure they are not only 100% safe for your gliders but that they also provide some time of enrichment for your gliders. A ladder provides nothing more than something for your glider to pee on but when you get toy made specifically for sugar gliders then they will have moving parts, hiding spots for treats, reset rings or trinkets for them to carry around; they stimulate your gliders so they are not bored. The best place to buy these items is from vendors on Facebook or that sell on Etsy. You still need to do your research though because there are still people out there that will sell you unsafe items or rip you off. I recommend people only buy from vendors that are listed as being approved vendors, this means that their items have been tested to be safe and they are not known to rip people off.




The minimum recommended cage size for a single or pair of Sugar Gliders is 30" x18"x36" or 24"x24"x36". Get the largest cage possible and remember that if you have more than two gliders the cage should be bigger than the minimum recommended size. The cages that we use here at Lucky You Gliders are 30" x 18" x 36" or larger in size

Taking the bar spacing of cages into consideration is very important. Bar spacing should be no larger than 1/2", preferably with bars going in a horizontal direction. If the bars are spaced more than 1/2" apart, you risk the chance of your gliders escaping.

If your cage is made out of wire it should be Powder, PVC or Epoxy coated. It should never have exposed or uncoated galvanized wire (silver wire) or be rusted. When uncoated wire is used, you run the risk of your glider being prone to urinary tract infections along with the fact that the uncoated wire is not easy on their feet.

When deciding on a cage, ensure that all doors can be locked or secured to prevent an escape. Zip ties are often used on smaller doors that remain unopened, doors that you do not need to open on a daily basis. If your cage has larger doors, alligator clips are used to keep the gliders in, but are easily removed for cage access.

Be sure to place your gliders cage in a warm room that is free from drafts and excessive foot traffic. Never place a cage directly in front of a window or vent. Heating and AC vents should never be near the cage, including over or under the cage. Ensure that the cage is placed in a room with good air circulation.

Some of the most popular cages available are the HQ Sturdy cage and Midwest Critter Nation cage. There are lots of different cages to choose from but they are not all of the same quality. Some of the cheaper cages are made cheaply and rust easily.

Safe bedding for the bottom of your cage includes:

- Fleece pads cut to the size of the drop tray (simply shake these out each day and wash every few days)

- Aspen shavings

- Puppy training pads (only if your glider cannot reach them or be in contact with them)

- Black and white newspaper

- Carefresh pet bedding

- You may also decide to use nothing in your trays

I personally use kiln dried Pine pellets. You can find these in the equine section of most farm stores. A 40lb bag usually runs around $6.00 so it's much cheaper than other beddings and works just as well.

**Please remember that for safety reasons, your glider should be unable to reach their bedding or get into contact with it. Fleece is the ONLY exception.**

Unsafe bedding:

- Pine or Cedar shaving or chips (can cause respiratory distress the vapors that are released when urinated on).

- Cat litter (can cause respiratory problems from dust and can cause internal blockages if ingested).

- Corn cob bedding (can produce mold when damp which in turn can produce deadly aflatoxins)



A gliders favorite toy will always be their wheel. It provides exercise for them as well as the joy it gives them, but there are a lot of wheels out there are that not safe for them. Almost are all wheels sold in the pet stores are not safe for them. None of the Wodent Wheel, Silent Spinners, metal wheels, or hamster balls are suitable for sugar gliders. The #1 marketed wheel for sugar gliders is the Wodent Wheel and it is the most dangerous for them. Wodent Wheels have a cross bar through the middle that has caused numerous tail injuries and even death because the gliders patagium can get caught in the cross bar. A lot of people will remove the stand from the Wodent Wheel, lay it flat, and fill it with pom poms for the gliders to play in. It's really the only good use for a Wodent Wheel. There are several safe wheels out there that have been made just for sugar gliders. Below I will include links to where you can purchase safe wheels.


Sugar gliders that live freely in the wild, usually choose a hollowed out tree as their nesting place. In captivity, that is a tough thing to duplicate so we need other alternatives for their safety and enrichment.

Pouches are the most favored, but there are a few things regarding pouches that must be considered to avoid injury/accidents. Loose strings and improper stitching are the leading cause of most of these accidents/deaths. Checking all pouches daily, and replacing worn pouches immediately will help reduce these incidents. In addition, there are a few other suggestions for safety. Fleece is currently the most common and safest fabric being used, since fleece does not fray on the ends causing loose strings. The higher quality of fleece will last longer than the less expensive. Pouches should be lined inside not allowing exposed seams, and stitches tight. Examine the loops that hold the hardware for attaching to the cage also, and avoid anything like cording/rope. Fleece allows a little "give" should a glider's nail get stuck, allowing them to get free more often than not. Cotton and flannel fray terribly, and should be avoided as lining. Using pinking shears to cut cotton/flannel, will help the fraying issue between layers. Should a glider's nail catch on these fabric choices, there is no "give", and far greater chance of the nail getting entangled. Faux fur and sherpa are other fabrics to avoid. The advantage of pouches are they can breathe and absorb, and are easily replaceable.

You must be overly cautious with the glider that dig's if using fabric sleeping pouches. They are known to chew or dig to get inside the lining of the pouch and thus trapped inside. Adding fleece blankets to the pouch will sometimes help. Choosing another option such as a nest box or chin house may be better for you and your glider. A specially designed unlined pouch is another option, but again, you must be very vigilant with these digger's.

As with any fabric product for glider's, nails MUST BE MAINTAINED for the greatest safety, as well as the health of you glider.

When choosing what is best for your glider and yourself, buyer beware. There are many safe products available, as well as unsafe. Research what works best for you and your glider.

THANK YOU Karin for this valuable information.


Toys or parts that should only be used during supervised playtime if used at all include but are not limited to:

*Toys with openings that are small enough to have a glider become entangled by his/her limbs, neck, or tail.

-Jingle bells. It's best to use liberty bells or cow bells as gliders' nails may get stuck in the small openings of jingle bells.

-small metal or plastic chain. Larger plastic chain would be best to use, but chain with openings of ¼“ or similarly sized risks limbs becoming entangled.

*Toys that are wide enough to get stuck in.

-cardboard toilet paper or paper towel rolls.

-Wire hamster wheels with an axle that could catch a limb, neck or tail. Also be aware that with these wheels the running surface spaces are large enough for a limb to slip through and become injured.

*Toys that gliders could choke on or ingest that should be used with caution during supervised playtime only.

-Cardboard (Never use cardboard with glue)

-Soft rubber

-Bean bag stuffed animals or toys.

-Tennis balls or dog toy with tennis balls attached.

*Toys with strings that could get tangled around limbs or throat or get caught in nails.

-Rope or rope perches that have frayed. This may include nylon, sisal, cotton, etc...

*Toys that are made from unsafe fabric such as terry cloth, socks, long length fake fur. These can cause loops that could loop around toes, feet, legs, neck, body, etc...

*Toys that are possibly toxic or may contain toxic material.

-Glue on paper towel and toilet paper rolls.

-Wind Spinners are known to have a toxic substance that will make gliders ill.

-Cat toys sometimes have catnip on them or in them, which is toxic to gliders.

Thank you to GliderCENTRAL for this valuable information.


Information on Breeding Sugar Gliders

Female sugar gliders become sexually mature at 6-10 months out of pouch(OOP). Male sugar gliders become sexually mature at 4-8 months OOP. A male sugar glider that is older than the female should not be introduced to the female until she is at least 6 months OOP to ensure that he does not rape her.

When a female glider becomes sexually mature, she will go into heat every 26 days for approximately 24 hours. If she is housed with a sexually mature male, then they will breed at the time. 16 days after mating the joeys should drop into the mothers pouch. Sugar gliders usually produce 1 to 2 joeys at a time, 3 is rare and 4 is really rare. The joey/s will be tiny, about the size of a grain of rice. The joey/s will travel from the cloaca to the mothers pouch. The mother will lick a path for the joey/s to follow. Once the joey/s has made it safely into the mothers pouch it will attach itself to a teat will it will remain for approximately 65 more days.

Over the next 65 days you will watch the mothers tummy grow. She will open the pouch and groom the joey/s. Increasing the mothers protein will help ensure that she is able to produce enough milk for the joey/s.

About a week to two weeks before the joey/s are due to come out of pouch you will begin to see body parts sticking out. Eventually the mother will no longer be able to hold the joey/s in pouch(IP) and the entire joey will be visible. T his is not the joeys OOP date however. A joey is not considered OOP until it has detached itself from the teat.

Joeys are born with their eyes closed. Most joeys will open their eyes at about 10-14 days OOP.

Once the joey/s is detached you can begin to handle it. Start off at just a few minutes at a time gradually increasing the time everyday. The first few days the mother may tuck the joey/s back into her pouch while she gets out to eat and play. About a week OOP she will no longer be able to stuff the joey/s back into her pouch and will leave them in the sleeping pouch while she is out eating and playing. Most of time the daddy will baby-sit the joey/s while the mother is out, other times they will leave it alone and tend to it when it cries.

When the joey/s reaches about 5 weeks OOP, it will begin to venture outside of the pouch, into the cage. At this time the joey/s should begin to sample solid foods. By the time the joey/s is 8 weeks OOP it should be fully eating on its own every night.


There are many reasons why the mother rejects her joeys. One of the biggest problems is the milk supply being short. Babies are excessively hungry and are wanting to continuously nurse and the mother becomes frustrated and starts nipping at them. Yeast infections can also can cause nursing to be very painful...and thus again...out of desperation...mom will result to nipping the wee ones. For simple nicks or abrasions...Neosporin can be applied, small amount to wound. Hold baby for about 10 min to let the ointment absorb...as once returned...the parents will lick it off. Apply ever four hours. For wounds that are deep...vet care is needed ASAP for prevention of a possible systemic bacterial infection. DO NOT apply if it is simply missing fur, make sure there is a wound there.


Supplies to keep on hand:

1) Milk Replacer

2) 1 French Cather size #5 cut till 2" in length

3) 10 1cc syringes

4) Q-Tips

5) Small aquarium PVC wire cover/Critter Keeper with lid

6) Small heating pad

7) Fleece

*Do Not use Kitten Replacer. Fat content is very high and causes diarrhea in the babies and thus they die. Use only Puppy Replacer or Wombaroo Supplement. ==========================

How do you know if there is milk in the belly?

Hold the joey up to a bright light. In the center of the tummy, slightly to the left you should see a patch of white, that is milk. If there is no white spot, then the tummy is probably empty. Babies who have gone long periods of time without being fed will become dehydrated, looking wrinkled. If the dehydration is severe then you may need to take the joey to the vet for a sub-q. If not severely dehydrated you will need to hand feed the joey a supplemental feeding within a half hour.

Supplemental Feeding is to hand feed the joey every fours hours to give mom a break and catch up on her milk supply. Sometimes supplemental feeding is all that is needed for a couple of weeks.

Pulling is when a baby will need to be fully pulled from it's parents and completely hand fed. The baby must be kept warm at all times in order to digest it's food. A baby that is cold will not be able to eat. The best way to keep a baby warm is to put it in a pouch and stuff it in your shirt/bra. Once the baby is warm and comfortable it will start to squirm around about every 2 hours when it's hungry.

A regular 10 gallon aquarium or critter keeper can be set up to accommodate the joey. Place the heating pad on the bottom at one end of the incubator and turn on low. Line the bottom of the incubator with fleece. Spray a layer of fleece with water every few hours to keep the humidity level up in the incubator so the joey does not get dry skin. With a secure lid on the incubator you can keep the joey secure for about 6 weeks. Once weaned, the joey can be moved to a cage.

What to Feed?

In the past I have used puppy milk replacer. Here recently I purchased some of the Wombaroo Supplement to keep on hand. Mix 1 part milk replacer to 3 parts water.

How to Feed?

Use a french catheter #5 on the end of a 1cc syringe. You can purchase at most vets offices. Snip the catheter leaving about 2 inches or so in length. Fill a small mug with water and warm it in the microwave. Fill the syringe with the desired amount of formula and place it in the warm water. Test the formula on your wrist to make sure it is not too hot or too cold, you should not be able to feel it.

With the joey warm and wrapped in a fleece blankie and its face tipped forward, gently drip the formula on the joeys lips. The joey should lap it up. Some babies can be stubborn at first and you may need to apply a little pressure in-between the sides of the mouth until the joey opens its mouth and drip some formula on its tongue. Make sure that the joey is not tilted backwards and that the catheter is over the tongue so you do not aspirate the joey. Go slow and let the joey rest if need be. When the joey is full, he will stop eating. The first 24 hours of feeding will go slow, it may take up to 30-45 minutes for one feeding. After the joey gets used to being hand fed the feedings will only take about 15-20 min each. Do not overfeed. if the joey is overfed you risk rupturing its stomach which is instant death. If the tummy becomes bloated then skip a feeding.

How often to feed?

-Newly OOP - 2 Weeks OOP- .3-.5cc's every 1-2 hours

-2 Weeks OOP - 4 Weeks OOP- .5-1cc every 2-21/2 hours

-4 Weeks OOP - 6 Weeks OOP- 1-2cc every 3-4 hours

-6 Weeks OOP- Joey should be eating on it's own.

Baby must be stimulated to potty at least twice a day. A Q-tip moistened with warm water helps. Stroke lightly at the cloacal aperture in a circular motion until baby potties. If stool is small and dry...follow feeding with .2cc. of water after every other feeding.

When deciding which way to feed, supplement or pull, weigh the options between the two. Babies always do better if they remain with the parents. They need the nutrients and antibodies that the mother produces in her own milk plus the interaction within the family itself. Babies that are hand pulled require double the time for feeding and also tend to be very small in size. They do catch up in size with babies of their own age but not usually till they are between three and four months OOP.

THANK YOU to Judie Hausmann(www.mylittlegremlin.com) for this valuable information.