Category Archives: faq’s

Bonding With Your Sugar Gliders

Bonding with your Sugar Glider can be easy or can be made to be difficult.  In this section I am going to assume that you bought a nice, 7-12 week old, hand raised baby Sugar Glider.  The reason I make that assumption is because that is the only animal you should settle for.  It is also the exact type of animals that Tropical Attitude Pets strives to provide each and every one of our customer’s.  I will briefly discuss older or more scared babies at the end of this section.

There are breeders and websites that recommend that when you get your new baby, that you not hold it for at least 3 days.  Just let it get used to its new cage and new home.  You could not get worse advice if you tried.

Blonde_vs_gray__Mehgan_Jones__Chloe___Bella_3Sugar Gliders are very social animals and adapt quite readily to the new owner if handled properly.  The first thing to know is that you cannot handle the new baby too much as long as it still gets to eat and sleep.  A new baby that is held a lot for the first few days will almost always feel safer with the new owner in as little as 24-72 hours.  This means that it is not uncommon for a new glider to cling to the new owner rather than jump off of the owner in very short order.

The second thing you need to know is that carrying them in a secure bonding pouch or in a shirt pocket with a flap is almost as good as having them in your hands.  However, use the pouch and pocket as an adjunct to holding them.  If you always carry them in the pouch or pocket and hold them rarely in your hands, they never get to totally trust your hands.  So at first, until they are showing signs of trusting you, err on the side of holding them rather than on the side of carrying them in a pocket.

Thirdly, you need to know that when holding them in your hands, hold them tight as described in the preceding section called Picking a Sugar Glider.  The more they trust you, the less you will have to hold them tightly to get them to feel safe.  As the bonding progresses, you will find that you are able to hold them more loosely.

Bonding takes place firstly by the glider getting to know your scent.  He will remember that scent as a safe person to be with.  So it will get easier and easier to pick it up out of the cage, or wake it up to get in your hand while sleeping in its pouch, etc.  However, as the glider gets used to you, he is also learning your voice, your sight, and his name, and even your heartbeat if you carry him in a pouch or pocket on your chest.

The Sugar Glider is going to have one person in the family that is known as its “primary bond”.  That will almost always be the one who carries it around the most.  Sugar Gliders are often considered a one person pet.  However, they are really colony animals and will learn to love each and everyone in your family that treat it well and holds it properly, including your pets.

It will however have a primary bond, much like a dog has one person it is the most bonded to, but still loves and protects the entire family.  So, while bonding to your new baby, do not be afraid to allow the other members of the family to hold the glider as well, so that it becomes socialized with all members of the family.  Also let your pets have access to the cage so that the glider and they can work out all of their fears and aggressions towards one another.  See more about this in the section entitled Sugar Gliders and Other Pets.  If you hoard your pet and never let it have social life with others, it will be bonded to you, but will always be afraid of other people.  Most of us don’t want our glider to be that way.



The bonding process normally takes about 2 weeks.  Generally the more you hold them early on, the faster the bonding proceeds.  It is not at all uncommon at one of my shows where I sell the gliders to have a baby in my outer shirt pocket, and have it start feeling so safe with the crowd that I can let it be in their hands, and when they hand it back to me, have it crawl from my shirt sleeve right up my chest and find the pocket and go headfirst into the pocket.  Sometimes this happens with a 7-8 week old baby after just 3-5 hours of being in my pocket, and having several good experiences with the customers.

Here is a key element to the bonding process.  Do not let your glider have any freedom for the first two weeks. I tell all of my customers that I don’t want their new baby to even touch its foot on the couch or any object for the first two weeks.  If you hold them and carry them with you and put them back in the cage whenever you can’t have them with you, you will have taught them something very important.  You have taught them that you are the only safe thing outside of the cage.  By then they are bonded to you and they feel that the cage and you are the only two safe places to be.  You have become the “center of the universe” for your glider, and you represent total safety to him.

It is time to find a friend or neighbor who has not held your glider yet, and put him on the back of that person’s hand. Have the stranger (to the glider) hold him up about eye level to you, and just 12-18 inches from you. Call your glider by name and he should want to jump to get back to safety.

Because you have given your glider no freedom, he doesn’t know that he can glide yet.  Once he is deeply bonded (usually about 2 weeks if you have done your part) it is time to teach the glider to glide.  Since you represent safety, he now has a reason to glide and a target.  He will want to get back to safety.  It is time to find a friend or neighbor who has not held your glider yet, and put him on the back of that person’s hand.  Have the stranger (to the glider) hold him up about eye level to you, and just 12-18 inches from you.  Call your glider by name and he should want to jump to get back to safety.  Normally he will jump to your chest or shoulder, and dive back into the pocket, pouch, cleavage, or wherever you carry your glider.  Over the next few days you can gradually teach the glider that he can jump from higher and further distances and soon he is actually gliding to you from respectable heights.

At this point your glider is bonded to you and is jumping to you.  He thinks the only two safe places are his cage and with you.  After a few months of no freedom, if you want to expand your fun with your glider, you can now re-teach your glider that there is one place that he can play away from your body.  If you want to be able to let your glider have some fun and get some exercise each evening for about an hour, pick out one single room of the house (one that is closed off to just that one room), and teach it that this space is safe.  In my case it is my home office.  I let my gliders learn that when I am in that one room they are safe to play.  The way to do it is simple.  As you sit down to your computer for instance, take your glider out of your pocket and set him on the desk to explore.  He may look around for a bit and climb back in your pocket.  It will take him several days if not a week or two to gradually explore more and more until he knows the room and feels safe being away from you for 5-10 minutes at a time.  Once he does feel safe in that room however, you will have a great time watching his antics, and playing with them.  Mine will go to my ficus tree first.  Then in about 10 minutes they are on my shoulder just checking in with the center of the universe.  Then off they go to the gun rack, or the bookshelf, or the curtain rod, etc.  About every 5-10 minutes they check in to make sure all is right.  If I get up they will run up my leg or glide down to me so that I don’t leave them behind.  Usually in about an hour mine will be back in my pocket for a rest and I put them up for the night.

Even with my very well-mannered Sugar Gliders (Blanco and Ann Bolin, and Buddy and Belle) they will not always come to me upon command when they are having fun.  So you may have to go pick them up if you want to put them up before they are ready.

Now your glider has three places he feels safe.  They are its cage, you, and the one play room.  However, the rest of the world is unknown territory.  They do not want to jump into unknown territory if properly bonded.  These results won’t occur if you don’t first make them feel that your hands are safety, or if you give them freedom too early on, or if you teach them to glide too early to other objects like from your hand to their cage, etc.

Now I want to discuss a few problems people tend to have with their first Sugar Glider.  Remember the first one is the most difficult because you don’t know what you are doing yet.  By the time you have done it once, it is much easier the second time around because you are experienced and know what the glider wants and are not afraid you are going to make a big mistake.

Crabbing is what we call the sound they make when they are scared.  It is the loudest noise they make and it goes completely away if you get your glider well bonded to you.  Some people really like this sound, so enjoy it while you can because it will not persist as you get it more bonded to you.  This noise means that it is scared, not mean.  It can be a precursor to biting if it is really very scared, but normally just means that it is scared and needs to be held properly.  The fastest way to get through this is holding them more tightly.  Most people hold them far too loosely for them to feel like they did in Mom’s pouch.  Reread my section on Picking a Sugar Glider and HOLD THEM TIGHTER AND GIVE THEM ISOLATION!!

Biting is not normally a problem from 7-12 week old, hand raised babies.  As previously discussed in a previous link, this is the only age gliders you want to buy as pets.  If you get the right age gliders but they are not hand raised, then you will normally go through a biting stage.  With hand raised babies of this age however, you normally will not have any biting at all.  However, if you don’t provide the safety and security they need while bonding, they can get scared enough to bite.  Normally it will be a firm pinch that may hurt a little, but normally won’t break the skin.  Remember your baby will only bite if it feels insecure, so hold it tight, and do not be afraid of your glider.  If you are afraid, the glider picks up on it immediately and it causes it to be afraid.  So take a deep breath, be calm, and be very resolute in your actions.  Very resolutely and deliberately pick up your glider, position it in your hand like a little ball, and squeeze it to give it security.  Most biting problems with a hand raised baby will disappear in a day or two of proper holding.

Another area of difficulty for new owners is waking them up and taking them out of a pouch and their cage.

When taking your new glider out of the pouch, put the animal in your fist while it is in the pouch.  By this I mean that the glider is in the pouch and your fist is on the outside of the pouch.  Make it into a little ball and let it relax by recognizing your scent.  Then open the pouch, put your other hand in the pouch, and transfer the baby from one fist to the other, bringing the baby out in the second tight fist.  There normally is no fear on the baby’s part when this is done right.  This will only be necessary until the baby is getting bonded well with you, and has no fear of your hand coming at it.

The cage offers a different challenge.  Your glider feels safe in his cage.  He has a nice tee shirt piled on his heat rock and it is very warm and secluded and comfortable.  Then all of a sudden the cage shakes and in comes a hand to wake him up and pick him up.  Until the glider has no fear of your hand, he will normally try to evade you.  He will no doubt be crabbing and he may even stand up on his hind feet with his front feet in the air and lunge at you to try to scare you away.  What should you do?  Wait for another time to pick it up?  Definitely not!  Instead of grabbing at it when it is evading you, just put your hand in the cage and herd the glider to a side or floor or shelf where you can quickly and cleanly cover the glider with your hand.  Just press him to the wire and hold him down for a few seconds until he recognizes your hand.  Then do not lift your hand, but rather make a fist around the glider and gently pull his feet from the wire.  If you lift your hand he will squirt right out of your finger tips and you will have to start over.

If the glider stands up and lunges or acts like he will lunge, do the same thing.  Very resolutely put your hand over the top of him and press him against the wire, again picking him up as in the paragraph above.  By doing this and not letting him learn that he can get his way, you will stop that behavior and he will not get spoiled thinking he can have his way by producing bad behavior.

To sum up:

  • Start holding your babies as soon as you get them.
  • When you can’t have them in your hands, use a pouch or pocket.
  • Remember to hold them tightly whenever they are feeling scared.
  • Share the glider with family members.
  • Do not give the glider any freedom for at least two weeks.
  • Once fully bonded, your glider is ready to learn to glide to you.
  • After fully bonded, and gliding to you, you can teach them that one and only one room of the house is a safe place to play for an hour each evening.
  • Do not be afraid of your glider, and do everything resolutely and deliberately.

Follow these tips and you should have a very happy and well bonded glider to carry with you wherever you want to go.  Mine goes in my tee shirt pocket with me fishing, prospecting, boating, motorcycling, 4 wheeling, shopping, restaurants, etc., etc.

Now as promised at the start of this section I will address older or meaner (more scared) Sugar Gliders.

With rare exceptions I do not consider Sugar Gliders over about 12 weeks OOP to be pet quality.  It is possible to bond with an older glider, but it is much harder, and usually doesn’t result in the deep bond a young one will develop.  The principles are the same however, except that the time frame may be much longer, and there may be some hard biting to endure before the older glider feels safe and stops biting.  Sometimes an older glider doesn’t want his head tucked in, but wants to see out.  You will have to experiment to find out what makes the older glider feel safe.

Let me suggest that you never buy gliders off of the internet unless you really trust the seller, because you do not know what you will get.  You should always buy from someone that can let you see and hold the prospective animal.  One of the biggest reasons that there are so many rescue Sugar Gliders is because they were bought sight unseen and did not turn out to be as represented.  We ship babies when necessary, and we send the best we have, but not all sellers do that.  Many will send you their older ones that are soon to be not sellable.  I have seen babies sent that were supposed to be 8 weeks and they were close to a year old. This is not a good purchase.  That animal will never have a really deep bond to anyone.  It may be a fun pet to care for and watch in the cage, but will not be able to go with you to the store in an open pocket. It is however, a noble thing to rescue a pair of older Sugar Gliders because they still need a good home.  We rescue them all of the time, and either find them a good home, or they can be paired up and become breeder pairs and have a good home and a purpose.  You can learn more about our rescue program in the About Us section called Our Rescue Efforts.


Common Health Concerns


What are the things I should do to generally keep my babyhealthy?

A baby Sugar Glider needs only a few things to stay healthy. Its biggest threats are getting too cold and getting dehydrated. To avoid those two problems, be sure to properly use the heat rock that comes with our starter kit, and be very observant of your glider for the first week or two to make sure it is drinking well.

Sugar Glider Starter Kit

Sugar Glider Starter Kit

You will pick up your glider often for bonding purposes. When you do, always do an examination of the baby. Is it toasty warm? Is it plump, and not dehydrated? Does it have good energy? (not lethargic). Does everything work? (like his legs, fingers, etc.) Is his poop fairly firm like pellets? (it is not uncommon for it to be loose while real young, but not to the point of runny like water) Is its coat nice and clean and fluffy? (this is a sign of good energy because he is grooming himself) Are his eyes nice and shiny and clear? If all of these things check out, your glider is, at that point at least, doing very well.

They also need to be fed properly. See Feeding Your Sugar Glider for in depth instructions on feeding.

My baby Sugar Glider has diarrhea.

Diarrhea in a baby Sugar Glider can be caused by at least two sources. The first possible cause is diet. Normally when you buy a baby Sugar Glider from a reputable breeder it will be 7 to 12 weeks out of the pouch. This is an infant Sugar Glider, especially on the lower end of that range. You cannot throw steak and potatoes to a human infant, you must start with formula and gradually add new foods as the infant grows and can handle it. The same i true of a baby Sugar Glider. The gut bacteria in a baby Sugar Glider, say 7-9 weeks, is not built up to handle a wide variety of foods yet. Our adult Sugar Gliders have apple and Glider Grub each evening along with other fruits and vegetables. When the mother weans her babies (makes them stop nursing) the babies are usually about 5 weeks out of the pouch. By the time they are weaned, they are eating the apple especially well and are picking up pieces of the Glider Grub and chewing on them. By the seventh week when they are taken from their parents, they are eating both quite well. We continue to give them the apple and Glider Grub for about two more weeks before we start adding other fruits and vegetables. If you find that they are not eating the Glider Grub well enough, you can soften and sweeten it with apple juice or better yet, the syrup from a can of peaches.

If you are feeding many types of foods to an infant Sugar Glider it can easily get temporary diarrhea from the overload. Acidic foods such as oranges and tomatoes are especially bad for this.

If you suspect that this is the source of the problem, cut back to a simple diet such as described above. In addition, make sure that the baby is always warm and is well hydrated. For a baby Sugar Glider, being too cold can cause all sorts of problems. They can get diarrhea, or get dehydrated. This happens because when a baby’s core temperature drops a degree or two, it cannot eat or drink. They get lethargic and do not have the ability to digest. This is serious, so always be sure to have the heat rock on and available for at least the first 3-4 months from the time you buy your gliders..

Sometimes just feeding it the syrup from peaches or fruit cocktail by a syringe will have a soothing effect on the stomach and solve simple loose stool, or light diarrhea.

If all is well in the diet area, but the Sugar Glider has diarrhea, it may have picked up a bacteria of some sort, usually from the stress of being too cold. If you suspect this to be the problem, you may need to take it to a vet in order to give it an antibiotic. They usually prescribe Panacur or Metronidazole, or both. Your vet will probably do a fecal exam and then determine the cause. He will prescribe the meds and tell you how to administer them. Normally the treatment will be for about 7 days. Be sure the baby has its heat rock and tee shirt in its cage for warmth. If the diarrhea was due to bacteria, this will usually turn the situation around. Often however, the diarrhea doesn’t go away until the glider is finished with the medication. Ask your vet if it is catching to your other glider. Usually it isn’t. If not leave your two gliders together. Being with another glider is very reassuring, and helpful while healing. Otherwise you now have one sick baby and two lonely ones.

Follow your vet’s instructions and be sure to keep the baby warm and well hydrated while treating it. Back to the Top!

My baby Sugar Glider is lethargic.

This is a very serious matter. Baby Sugar Gliders can quickly get dehydrated, if for whatever reason, they are not drinking, or have no opportunity to drink. In fact the two biggest threats to a baby Sugar Glider are being too cold and getting dehydrated.

When a baby gets dehydrated, hypoglycemia is soon to follow. With the dropping of the body fluids, the sugar level drops and the baby is in critical condition. With the drop in blood sugar the baby gets lethargic. In fact, if it is very dehydrated, it will be so weak that it cannot save itself. If you find your glider in this critical situation you must get it and keep it very warm (a cold baby Sugar Glider will not eat), and you must start feeding it fluids by hand every half hour until it is re-hydrated. Without your help it will almost certainly die.

Sleepy Sugar GliderOne sign of dehydration is the loss of plumpness in its body. In fact it will feel like skin and bones in extreme cases. When you lift the skin of the glider on his back, and it shows no sign of springing back into place, it is dehydrated. Other signs are diarrhea, lack of cleaning itself, and of course lethargy.

When faced with this situation we feed a mixture, at room temperature or a little warmer, of apple juice, Pedialyte, and a little honey. It can be fed with a small marsupial bottle and nipple (which most new owners don’t have), an eyedropper, or a syringe without the needle.

Warm a clean washcloth or other suitable soft cloth in a microwave until pleasantly warm (not too hot). Wrap the baby in it snuggly with only the face exposed. Remember, a cold Sugar Glider will not eat. Put the tip of your feeding instrument to the baby’s mouth. For the first few feedings it probably will not drink on its own. You must lift the upper lip and slowly and gently force a small amount into the mouth. Do not let the liquid go down the nostrils or you will aspirate its lungs. Slowly feed the baby all that it will take. Repeat this every half hour. If you start this process in time, by the third or fourth feeding the baby will be accepting more and giving you less trouble and resistance. This is a great sign that you will probably be successful. If everything is going well, soon it will be greedily licking the fluid from the syringe on its own as you feed it.

Do not expect it to take much on the first couple of feedings (maybe ½ to 1cc). When it is cooperating and licking on its own, it may drink 3 to 4 cc per feeding. Don’t stop these ½ hour feedings until it is well hydrated, has overcome the lethargy and is going to a similar mixture in a bowl on its own in its warm cage.

At this point you can start offering it a new formula. Take about 4 or 5 pellets of Glider Grub, 2 grapes with no seeds, a little honey, and about an ounce of water mixed with apple juice. Blend these together until it is a liquid. Then it can be fed by means of a syringe or in a lid if the baby will take it that way. At the same time keep offering a piece of sweet apple and the dry Glider Grub in the cage at all times until it is eating these as well.

When the baby starts cleaning itself you have reached a milestone. Even then, although the crisis is past, be very observant for a few days, making sure it keeps drinking appropriately, and maintains its energy. No one wants to go through this, or rather, have their glider baby go through it. However, if you do, there is nothing that will make you love your baby more than snatching it from certain death.

Note: If this is not working, or you cannot get any liquids in your Sugar Glider, get it to an exotic animal vet as quickly as possible. They have the ability to inject subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids. This may need to be done a few times before the baby will absorb these fluids and get re-hydrated. The fluids that they will inject will most probably be a mixture of saline and glucose. Back to the Top!

My baby Sugar Glider is aggressive.

Sugar Gliders are not aggressive animals. They are defensive animals. They are like a Blow Fish that puffs itself up in the face of danger in order to appear much bigger and tougher than it really is. This is not an aggressive move but rather a defensive move. Puffing up cannot hurt anyone or anything. It can only possibly scare off the real aggressor.

Sugar Gliders have only two defenses other than fleeing. One is a noise referred to as crabbing. This noise is very distinctive and is made only when the glider is afraid or feels threatened. It works too. I have seen policemen, with guns, vests, billy-clubs and mace on their hips, jump and back off at the unexpected sound of a 2 ounce baby Sugar Glider’s crabbing. I remember the first experience Chloe, our Maine Coon cat had with a Sugar Glider. Apparently the glider thought Chloe was getting a little too nosey or familiar with it, so it gave its crabbing defense. At that point it became a real life cartoon: Chloe could not grab the floor fast enough to escape the room. She jumped and hit the hardwood floor with all paws grabbing for traction. I honestly thought she was going to break her neck trying to escape the big bad Sugar Glider BABY. Soon however, all was well. She and the Sugar Gliders got along very well together after a few weeks of getting acquainted through the wire of the cage.

Sugar Glider Climbing Coral

Sugar Gliders are not aggressive animals towards people.

So the point of all of this is, “Don’t be afraid of the crabbing noise”. It just means the glider is still not over its fear of you and you need to keep working with it. The noise itself cannot hurt you. Instead, confidently scoop it up in both hands and firmly turn it into a little ball in your firm fist. The more time it spends in your hands the sooner it will quit fearing you and quit crabbing.

The second defense a Sugar Glider has is its bite. An adult glider that has not been socialized can bite hard and certainly break the skin. However, a baby’s bite usually doesn’t break the skin. It is a strong pinch that can hurt, but not like a hamster or another type of rodent. Most hand raised babies don’t ever bite but some will. When they do bite it is important to realize it is only like a hard pinch and to not be afraid of it. If you are afraid of your glider, it will sense it and be more afraid of you. Learn to take the bite if necessary rather than back off or put it down. Gliders are a lot like kids, if you let them back you down, and get their way, you will have a spoiled Sugar Glider or kid on your hands. If you are holding them right, their fear of you goes away quite quickly. See Bonding with Your Sugar Glider for a more complete discussion of bonding.

A brand new baby Sugar Glider will be afraid of a new person’s scent. The best way to get them to trust that scent is to completely enclose it in a fist and then cover that fist with the flat of your other hand. The combination of being folded up and held firmly inside of the fist causes the glider to have security. The other hand over the fist causes more complete seclusion, and takes away all of the other distractions so that the baby has only one new thing to get used to: your new scent. When you do this you are giving the baby the same sensation of security that it had in mom’s pouch. If you hold the baby firmly enough and for several minutes you will usually feel the pounding heartbeat slow down to a normal slow beat. Then after a few minutes more, the glider will usually start vibrating. This is a purr. You cannot hear the glider purr, but you can feel it. It feels as if a little motor is running in its belly. After several more minutes, you will usually feel nothing. That is because the glider is sleeping in your warm hand. The more time spent in this state of trusting you enough to purr and sleep, the more the glider is being imprinted to the fact that you are the safest place to be. If you hold your glider a lot during the first two weeks of ownership, and carry it with you as well, as much as possible, it should consider you to be the center of its universe. I do not give a new baby any freedom for the first two weeks, and I carry them as much as possible. When they are not in my hands, or on my person in a pocket or pouch, I put them in the cage. There will be plenty of time for freedom after they are older and are totally bonded to you.

Holding your glider and massaging it for long sessions in your hands will cause the glider to calm down and start trusting you. The babies are raised in their mothers pouch. In there it is warm snug, and moving. It is Hold your Sugar Glidersalso a place of complete safety. Later in life, the safest place for a glider to be is in the den with its colony. Here they are out of harms way from predators. The whole colony will sleep piled upon one another. Again it is warm, snug, and moving, because as one glider wakes up and discovers it is on the top of the pile, it burrows under the others for warmth. When you hold your baby in your hands and give it lots of contact with your hands, massaging it firmly, but calmly and gently, you create the sense of security it felt in the pouch and in the colony. Again, it is warm, snug, and moving. We know of no quicker or better way to get the glider bonded to you than this method.

If the baby seems to be persistent in biting, it is not to be feared, but you also don’t want it to grow up with the bad habit of nipping you whenever it wants to. We have a method for stopping this bad behavior before it becomes a bad habit. Right after a bite, insert your index finger into and across the mouth. Make it deep enough that the baby’s mouth is extended open wide. This is uncomfortable for the baby. Leave the finger in the mouth with downward pressure on the lower jaw for 30 to 45 seconds. Then slowly remove the finger, giving the baby every opportunity to bite again. If it does, do not remove the finger, but rather reinsert and repeat the lesson for another 15 seconds. Do not completely remove the finger until he lets you remove it without resistance. That is the end of the lesson. Give the baby love and continue playing with it.

Every time it bites, repeat the above lesson. Soon it will associate biting you with the uncomfortable sensation that follows. Usually 4 or 5 lessons for a couple of days will stop this bad habit.
My Sugar Glider has an odor.

Cleanliness of the cage and the diet of the Sugar Glider are the two most important factors in the odor or lack thereof for your pet.

Sugar Gliders that have a lot of meat and or live food in their diets will have an odor. Likewise gliders given too many vitamins (especially liquid) will develop an odor. On the other hand, gliders that get their protein from a well-balanced dry soybean protein food, such as Glider Grub, and get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and only get meat or insects as an occasional treat, have virtually no offensive odor.

The cage of course must be kept clean. A good PVC coated cage can be pressure washed occasionally. As for the contents of the cage such as logs and branches, a good soaking in a mixture of one of the orange oil cleaners will usually remove any odors. Back to the Top!

I think that my male Sugar Glider has worms.

No, the problem is that he is becoming sexually mature. The penis of a Sugar Glider is like a red thread and is bifurcated (it splits at the end). Many people have called me thinking that their male Sugar Glider was worm infested, and they were coming out of him, and of course they were scared to death. Relax, this is normal, and sometimes it is out for extended periods of time as he is maturing.

Joey in handMy Sugar Glider has an eye problem.

There are several reasons that can cause eye problems in Sugar Gliders. Overly fat Sugar Gliders do not breed well, but when they do breed they can produce babies that are born with fat deposits in their eyes. Since we haven’t had this problem I am not sure if they will outgrow this problem if given the proper diet. No reputable person would knowingly sell a baby in this condition. Check for this before buying. The eyes should be bright and alert.

A more common eye problem is caused by an abrasion or puncture, and subsequent infection. The symptom of an eye infection is the clouding of the eye. It looks gray and cloudy rather than black and sharp. Do not panic, this is a treatable condition. Do, however, address it immediately so that the animal doesn’t suffer needlessly and so that it doesn’t get any worse. You can take the animal to a vet, and he will most likely recommend an eye-drop such as Gentamicin. This is a sterile ophthalmic solution that can be dropped into the eye. If the infection is due to an abrasion, and caught early, only the damaged eye will be affected. It can however, spread to the other eye as well. Gentamicin cannot be purchased without a prescription.

A couple of home cures that are well worth trying are a triple antibiotic ointment (such as Neosporin) that can be bought without a prescription at a drug store, or Coloidal Silver which is a liquid that can be bought from most health food stores. The stages of this problem are first a swelling of the tissue under the affected eye. Secondly the eye will have mucus and will often be stuck shut after sleeping. Finally, the eyeball itself will cloud over. It will turn a light blue. This is a crystallization of the surface. The treatment is to force the eye open and clean any mucus out and then to either swipe a dab of the Neosporin directly on the surface of the eyeball itself, or
drop a drop of the Coloidal Silver directly into the eye. Treat the eye twice a day for as many days as it takes to bring the eye back to a clear black color.

If this doesn’t show signs of improvement in two days, or three at most, I would take it to a good vet for
the Gentamicin or whatever your vet recommends. Back to the Top!

My Sugar Glider has a boil or a cyst.

Sugar Gliders, like all animals, can get a puncture wound and develop an abscess. This is of course infection in a localized area. The puss is trying to fight off the infection. You may not want to treat this yourself if you are a bit squeamish or if the abscess is in a touchy area such as next to an eye or in the jaw area. It does need to be treated however, because this can be very painful for the glider. If you are not going to treat it right away, please take your glider to a vet asap.

The abscess must be drained. That means cutting it open slightly with a very sharp tool such as a scalpel or exacto knife (well sterilized of course), and squeezing the abscess fluids out of the pocket. Then you want to clean out the pocket as well as possible by flushing and or swabbing. Then the pocket must be treated with an antibiotic ointment. If I have to do this, I also administer the Coloidal Silver by means of a drop each day in a fresh water bottle. This draining may have to be repeated a time or two before it is well.

Gliders don’t take well to bandages of any kind, so just treat it and medicate it. If you don’t see progress, see your vet.

Glider eating upside down

Sugar Gliders often eat while hanging upside down.

My Sugar Glider is limping or dragging a rear leg.

This could be a very serious problem. To find out, first pick up your glider and inspect it for any kind of injuries. Check its toes for ripped nails, and its feet and legs for any cut or damage of any kind.
If you don’t find an injury, take your glider to a good exotic animal vet asap. The problem is probably rear leg paralysis. When a Sugar Glider has a severe imbalance of its Calcium to Phosphorous ratio, or just extremely low levels of Calcium, they are in danger of having the dreaded Rear Leg Paralysis. With this condition the rear legs quit working and the tail as well. With quick care, some gliders do recover the use of the legs and tail, but not always. It will take a vet to get enough calcium in them however, because it will have to be done by means of a Calcium shot. Then you will want to be sure you correct the diet to eliminate the possibility of this happening again.

See Feeding Your Sugar Glider for a very good explanation of this problem. Normally Sugar Gliders on Glider Grub and Vita Glider do not have this problem. Back to the Top!

Considerations in buying a sugar glider

As with any animal that we may keep as a pet, Sugar Gliders have their own personalities, characteristics, likes, dislikes, and needs.  In order to be a good owner of a pet we need to consider if we like their personalities and characteristics, and can meet their likes, dislikes, and needs.Lucky Sugar Glider
Sugar Gliders are very personable animals with the ability to be totally bonded to their owner and to be very loyal to that owner.  This however, adds a level of responsibility to the owner to provide enough social time with the glider to meet its needs, causing deep bonding and continued bonding.
The following is a few points to determine if a Sugar Glider is the right pet for you or whomever you may be buying it for.
1.  Sugar Gliders can be the most loveable and wonderful companion you have ever experienced.  You cannot overstate the deep love and bonding people feel for their Sugar Glider once it is fully bonded to them.  I receive unsolicited calls weekly from various customers that have bought gliders from me just to tell me what a wonderful difference their buddy has made in their life and the life of the family.  Sugar Gliders, properly bonded, become a definite member of the family.  While they usually have a primary bond with one person, the rest of the family and usually the other pets are their colony, and they will like everyone who treats them well.
2.  However, Sugar Gliders are not for everyone.  By this I do not mean that there is a special age group that is wrong for them.  Usually 5 year old children, if well coordinated, responsible, and gentle, are old enough to care for and be bonded to a glider.  All age groups from there up can certainly have them with great success.  I love to see two groups get Sugar Gliders.  One is elderly people, and people who are confined to a wheel chair.  The companionship that develops between a well bonded glider and a shut-in can be phenomenal.  Once well bonded, they will not leave or run from a person, and they require very little work in the way of maintenance.  And they will love you when no one else seems to.

But, if you want a caged pet that is to be observed and not interacted with, you should not buy a Sugar Glider.  If you don’t want to carry it with you when possible, and interact with it as often as possible, then a glider is not for you.  If having a cute little furry animal that loves you, sleeping in your pocket while working on the computer, or shopping, or driving, or golfing, etc. doesn’t appeal to you, then a glider is not for you.
The Ultimate Pocket Pet
3.  The third thing to consider is the age of the glider you should buy. DO NOT buy an older Sugar Glider if you want it to be a great pet.  Sugar Gliders are the most bondable between 7 weeks out of the pouch (OOP) and about 12 weeks OOP.  With rare exceptions I do not sell 13 week and older gliders as pet quality.  Most of the ones that are not sold by then will be paired up with a mate and we let them become breeders.  Rest easy, they all get a great life and seem to be very happy in our breeding facility.  They also get to live out their natural life.  We do not cull them once they get too old to breed.  We believe they have every right to continue their life and we have the responsibility to care for them through old age. However, if you do want to consider adopting an older Sugar Glider, it can be a very noble thing to do.  Please read the info in our article “Rescuing an Older Sugar Glider” before doing so.

4.  Next you need to decide if you are going to get one or two.  Some websites say that if you buy one Sugar Glider that you will wind up buying three.  Their reasoning is that they are so social that one will die of loneliness but you will be so in love with them that you then will buy two like you should have done in the first place.  We don’t agree totally with this theory.  We know many single gliders that are very happy,  but they all have one thing in common, they have an owner that spends a great deal of time with it.  They are usually carried around during housework, taken to the office, taken outdoors with the owner, go shopping with the owner, and in general spend most of their day time with the owner.
We always try to get our customers to buy two gliders because no matter how much time they get to spend with their owners they are always happier to have a companion.  Gliders are colony animals and a second glider in the cage is an extension of the colony which includes the family and the other pets in the house.  Remember, their most active time is at night while you are asleep and they need a companion in the cage to play with and to give them comfort.  The good thing is that they do not bond to each other at the expense of the bonded person.
The only way we will sell only one is if it is face to face so that it doesn’t have to be shipped.  We will ship two or more gliders, by air ($210.00 shipping cost) because they always do fine, but we think it is too traumatic for a single baby glider to be shipped.
5.  Next, do you want a boy or a girl, or if you are getting two, should it be a boy and a girl, or two boys, or two girls?  First, if you are going to get only one, then either is a good choice.  The only difference in quality that we have found is that the girls can take a little longer to trust you than most males.  There are many exceptions to this rule, so I wouldn’t let that stop me from getting a girl.  If you plan to get one now and another one later, and you want them to be a boy & a girl, then get the girl first, so that she will be the older animal when they finally are together and breed.

Then browse through our pictures and animal information and pricing.  If you want to get your gliders we would be very happy to be your source.  Every person that buys babies from Tropical Attitude Pets gets direct contact with the owner, Steve Larkin.  Not only through email but you will get his cell phone and you will be able to call him whenever you have an issue or a problem. 


Sugar Gliders And Other Pets

Sugar Gliders with a poodleOne of the biggest fears of new, or would-be owners of Sugar Gliders is the worry that their dog or cat or other pets will kill their baby Sugar Gliders. Of course this is a legitimate fear and should be considered in your decision. However, this is usually overblown by far.

The great majority of Sugar Glider owners already have dogs or cats, or both when they acquire their new addition(s) to their family. It is extremely rare to hear that a glider has been killed by another pet if simple precautions are taken. If you follow our methods for bonding and care (recapped below), your other pets are rarely a fatal threat, and usually, over a few weeks of interaction through the cage wire, they become very attached to the new members of the family.

Sugar Gliders are very social. Normally in the wild they live in colonies of up to 15 members. This is one of the reasons we recommend having two gliders so that they always have a companion when left in the cage. The fact that they are so social causes them to consider your entire family and your pets to be their new colony. When you have only one, it is very happy during the time it spends with you or another member of the colony, your family. During the time spent with your glider, he is getting the social life that he thrives on. But for the time it is not with a member of the family, and left in its cage, it feels isolated from the colony and can be very lonely. If ignored, or left alone for long periods, it can self-mutilate out of boredom, or get so depressed that it rarely comes out of its sleeping pouch, and can eventually quit eating and die of depression. This is fortunately fairly rare because most owners either have two gliders, or give their glider plenty of attention. Even a glider that is carried almost all of the daytime hours and is played with in the evening, when it comes alive and wants to play and explore, is happier if it has a mate, because it will be awake all night and will be playing and eating while its owner is in bed.

Two gliders will bond to each other, but not at the expense of the bond to the owner(s). They consider each other to be part of the colony, just like the rest of the family and pets. So when Sally and Tom take their respective gliders with them for a day of errands, etc., the gliders feel happy to be with their owners but when put back in the cage, A pair of Sugar Glidersthey feel just as happy to be with each other. The result is that they never feel depressed or lonely, and you have two very well adjusted, happy pets.

The two previous paragraphs were included in this section to establish the explanation of why a Sugar Glider normally bonds to the cats and dogs in the home.  Because they are so social, they tend to become friendly with everyone that treats them well. This does include your other pets. However, a 2-3 week period (sometimes longer) will be necessary for them to get to know each other, and out of curiosity, begin to trust each other. This period can occur during the same 2-3 weeks that you are bonding with your glider.

You may want to go back to review the FAQ’s section on Bonding, but here is a quick synopsis of the important facts as they apply here:
For the first 2-3 weeks you need to hold your baby as much as possible (this includes carrying it in a pouch or pocket).

During this time the glider should be given no freedom. When it can’t be with you, put it back in the cage.
The result will be a glider that considers you to be the center of the universe, and the source of total safety.

When the glider(s) are in their cage, allow your dogs and cats to have total access to the cage. They will be curious of the new additions and will want to see them.  
At first they may act aggressively towards the gliders, but they cannot hurt them through the proper cage, and you will not let them hurt them while they are on you.

On the first day or two you might want to have your video recorder ready, because if the cat acts too aggressive, or the dog too hyper, the little glider normally will go to the front of its cage and through the wire, stand up on its hind legs with its front arms in the air and make its loudest noise which we call “crabbing”. This may be done just inches from the cat or dogs face through the wire of the cage. Normally a cat will flee and have a near cardiac arrest, and the dog normally will jump back 3 feet. Neither of them knows what they are dealing with and your Sugar Glider just won round one.

As the days go by, the cats and dogs come to the cage more cautiously and scare the glider less and things start getting better and better. Not all dogs and cats bond to the gliders, but I estimate (from considerable experience over 18 years), that about 90% become either compatible with them, or really attached to the point that they can be very interactive.

In fact, a dog or cat that bonds with a glider can be a real source of comfort for a single glider. Often, a cat or dog will like the glider so much that it will sleep on or against the cage, and the glider will cuddle near their friend, through the wire. They can also play with each other through the cage wire.

You will have to be the judge of whether or when to try to introduce them to each other face to face. This is not to be taken lightly, and shouldn’t be tried prematurely. After all, it is the first face to face encounter, and animals can be unpredictable. However, they will normally react to each other face to face, similar to the way they react through the wire. So when you see that they are really being friendly to each other, and liking each other, you can make a judgment as to whether you are just going to let them be compatible but not interactive, or compatible and interactive. Of course, be very cautious and be ready to step in if there is any problem.

Now for some purely anecdotal information:

Years ago, when the late, great, Shakespeare (not the bard, but my pard), was a young boy, he was very well acclimated to our outdoor hunter Maine Coon cat, our two Shih-tzus, and our Miniature Poodle. He and his mate liked all of them and were interactive with them. Later in life I inherited a rescue cat that had never seen a glider. I gave them the same introductory period described above and when I thought it may be safe I introduced them to each other. I held the cat in one arm with my hand around his chest so that he couldn’t lunge, and let Shakespeare be in my other hand free to advance or retreat. After staring in each other’s eyes for a few moments (seemed like minutes), Shakespeare licked the nose of the cat, the cat relaxed in my arm, and they became great friends for the next couple of years.

The Sugar Glider and cat in this picture belong to one of my customers. When she sent me this picture, she said that they love to run and play with each other. She said that Sugar Glider on a catin the evening she opens the cage door and the glider comes out and plays with the cat. One will chase the other and then they reverse rolls and back and forth. She also described that after about an hour of this play, the cat gets tired and climbs into the open door of the glider cage, curls up and soon the glider comes in the cage and sleeps in the curl of the cat. This is an extremely bonded pair of animals, however it is not unique. One of my customers related this story to me. They have an Australian Shepherd dog. It is respectful of the glider and doesn’t hurt it, but is not especially playful with it. However, the Sugar Glider loves the dog and always wants to play. She said that it was common to see the glider following the dog around everywhere while the dog is trying to get some privacy.

Another customer in Colorado Springs had their gliders for about 3 years. Their other pet was a Rottweiler. One day she called and asked how soon I was going to be in her area. I told her and asked her what was wrong. It was obvious she was distressed. She told me this story. Her husband usually got up quite early to go to work, and it was his habit of letting the gliders play in the bedroom and bath while he was getting ready for work. Of course the gliders loved it because it was during their most playful time of day. On this one day he made a fatal mistake. He knew to have the toilet seat closed, and always did so because more gliders die from drowning in a toilet or a half filled bucket of liquid, than by any other means. Well, he forgot on that day and unfortunately one of them did drown and he was just horrified that he was the one to let this happen. When she called me she said it had been about 3 days and this was about the first day she could talk about it. But she said she didn’t have to replace it because the kids were devastated, or that her husband felt so guilty, or that she had been so sad over it, or even that the second glider needed a new companion. She told me that she had to replace it because her Rottweiler would not eat or sleep properly because it was grieving and constantly searching for the lost baby Sugar Glider! She said that her dog treated the two gliders like they were her own pups, and loved them totally. Fortunately I was Sugar Glider on a Rottweillergoing to be passing through her town within about 2 weeks. Since that call I have seen this trait of Rotties over and over. They seem to be about the very best dog with gliders.

So they thought they would help the dog out by confining the glider to a hamster ball. Then the dog was being followed by the glider in the ball. She said that if the dog was asleep the glider would roll up to it and bump it in the face to get its attention. Also the glider would wait on a couch back, etc. and jump on the rump of the dog and just as quickly, jump away before the dog could react. “Just having fun Mom!”

After raising, selling and owning my personal pet gliders for 18 years I have probably a hundred or more stories similar to the above ones. There is a limit to how much anyone wants to read in a link so indulge me with just one more, and the most recent story. A customer of mine, and now a good friend, has a glider in Phoenix. She bought it at the Arizona State Fair, Nov 2010. She named it one thing at first, and then about 2 months after having bought it she called me to let me know her glider had a new and permanent name. Its name is “Indiana Jones” she said. I told her that there must be a story behind that name. She was eager to tell it to me. She related to me what a great pet it is and how deeply bonded it is to her and she is to it.

She also said that her cat and the glider had been getting really friendly with each other through the cage and by showing them to each other while in her hands. She also related to me that the day or two before we talked, she had the glider on her shoulder and was walking around the house doing her work. All of a sudden the glider saw the cat and glided right off her shoulder and landed on the cat. Of course this startled the cat (not knowing what hit it), and the cat was jumping and turning and gyrating. She said it reminded her of the great adventurer “Indiana Jones” because it was obvious that the glider was having the time of its life. Visualizing this as she told it to me, I told her I might have named it “Tuff Hedeman”, one of the most famous bull-rider of the rodeo circuit.

If you have a true story of interest, please EMAIL it to me and it may end up appearing on this site in the future. Pictures are always appreciated.

Feeding Your Sugar Gliders

If there ever was a controversial subject concerning Sugar Gliders, it is overwhelmingly the question of how to best properly feed your Sugar Gliders in captivity. There are as many opinions as there are possible combinations of foods. Everyone seems to think that they have the only answer, apparently “handed down to them from God”.
Glider eating a treat

If you have ever tried to research this subject on the internet, you know what I mean. Everywhere you go, someone is giving you conflicting information, and fighting like animals to defend their position. If you have been crazy enough to get on most Sugar Glider chat rooms, you come away feeling confused, bullied, intimidated, and certainly no better informed to make a proper decision than when you started 3 hours earlier (with much lower blood pressure). Now if you are really a glutton for punishment, just make a few comments on those same chat rooms and you will remove your hands from the computer key board with two bloody stumps. Why? Because you will be inundated with hate, vitriol, and extreme hubris like you have never experienced, and all from Sugar Glider “experts”

My advice is don’t go there. Ignore them. Keep your sanity in tact and your blood pressure within bounds.
In this article I am going to attempt to explain the three main diet types that are being fought over, then describe our diet plan, and then try to explain a 3 month study done by the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, Dept of Nutrition. This study covered all 3 diets side by side for 3 months in a clinical setting. This study was published in the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine in July 2006.Glider eating peanuts

First however, here is a little about me. I am a Sugar Glider expert only by experience and research. I never refer to myself as an expert because an expert should know virtually everything there is to know about his subject and have an answer for almost every question. I don’t and I don’t.  My expertise is only based upon trial and error, study, and experience: lots of experience. I started raising Sugar Gliders within weeks after the first ones were made available in the United States to the public. At that time there were only a few colonies in the US, in some zoos. I had been raising various other exotic animals for years before gliders became available. I raised Kinkajous, Wallabies, Lemurs, Giant Flying Squirrels from China, and a host of small animals such as Prevost Squirrels, Southern Flying Squirrels, etc. But when I saw my first Sugar Gliders I was blown away. The imported ones were right out of the jungles of Indonesia, and as mean as snakes, but I immediately fell in love with them and due to my previous experience, I knew that if they would breed in captivity, the babies would be absolutely incredible. Well, they turned out to be 10 times greater than I ever imagined. I started breeding them and learning more and more. As I increased my glider collection I began divesting myself of my other animals so that I could devote full time to this endeavor. Thanks to my local veterinarian who went out of his way on numerous occasions to do research for me, we became very successful at having very healthy, tame, hand raised babies early on.  Now, 18 years later I have raised thousands of gliders and placed them in thousands of good homes. 

There are three primary ways to feed your gliders. There are
 many variations on these three as well.

The first one is to feed a main diet of an insectivore fare. This is normally a semi-wet, diet of insects 
with other protein ingredients and probably some filler.

The second is to feed the protein by means of a dry kibble food. This is a dry food that is extruded into 
pellets.Three ways to feed your glider

The third method is to feed the protein by means of a homemade version of a diet called Bourbon’s 
Modified Leadbeater’s diet, or Modified BML. There are many varieties of this diet, but they usually 
include: Honey, boiled egg, apple juice, juice with yogurt, Rep Cal calcium, chicken baby food, wheat 
germ, and oatmeal or baby cereal.

Now, with each of these main courses (the protein source), it is well agreed that the gliders also need
fresh fruits, and fresh veggies (frozen is also ok). Most people then also add some mealworms as well
throughout the week. It should be no more than a couple for each animal about 2-3 times a week.
There you have it. That is the great argument, with each proponent believing that their chosen diet is best.

The following is how we feed our breeders, our personal pets, and how we teach our customers to feed their gliders when they buy them. By the way, once you own your gliders, if you want to feed them differently in the future, or vary our diet slightly, that is your business. My obligation, as I see it, is to give you the benefit of my experience and teach you what I would do if I had your animal. I want to teach you the best I know.

We recommend that you feed the dry pellet food made by Purina. We repackage it (because they only sell it in 25# bags), and we call it Glider Grub. It is a soybean based kibble that is a great source of protein. Normally a box of 4.5 lbs is a year’s supply for two gliders. It is fed free choice. In other words, you just fill a small bowl about half full and leave it in the cage for them to eat at their own pace. Check it every day and add if necessary, or dump out the crumbs when empty, and refill. Since the protein comes from soybean, it eliminates the very strong odor that gliders have when they eat meat protein on a consistent basis. I have fed my animals this base diet for their protein for about 12 years now. Before that we fed cooked chicken, mealworms, etc. A month or two after we changed over, the odor went away, the gliders seemed healthier, and almost all of the babies started surviving and thriving much better than before. In addition, the gliders love it, and even little 5-6 week old babies pick it up and eat it. They hold it in their little hands like an ear of corn. This is good because growing babies and nursing moms need about 4 times as much protein as during other times in their life. We don’t feed any meat protein to them. You could probably give each one a meal worm or two once or twice a week without
developing the odor, but we personally don’t.

In addition to the Glider Grub, they need their fruits and vegetables. We offer our gliders apple every night, along with 2-3 chunks of other fruits and vegetables. We normally offer up to a half of a small apple (less if they leave a lot by morning). We don’t slice or dice the apple, because if you do, it dries out too soon. Be sure to remove the seeds because they contain arsenic. Give them their fruits & vegetables in chunks as well so that they also retain their moisture content. For two gliders I might give them their apple and a chunk of cantaloupe (about 1 cu. In. in size), a baby carrot, or a green bean, etc. It is fine if you want to cut their items other than the apple into two pieces so they can each carry their tidbit off to a corner. Sugar Gliders can eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. As we will see in the study that we will review in the next section of this link, they should maintain calcium to phosphorus ratio of about 2 to 1. 
feed your gliders with care
If a Sugar Glider is severely Calcium deficient, it can develop tetany, which is a toxic spasm of the muscles, and they can go paralyzed in the rear legs and tail. This condition is not easily reversed and is often fatal. If not fatal, your glider may have permanent rear leg damage at the very least. So don’t repeatedly give them a high phosphorus fruit or veggie, even if it is one of their favorites. Just as in humans, moderation will take care of most things in life. We will next discuss the vitamin and mineral supplement that we recommend, which will help keep their ratio in balance.

That brings us to their Vita Glider. This is their vitamin and mineral supplement that we recommend. It comes in a shaker bottle and should be applied to their apple, or other fruits and vegetables every other day. Just sprinkle it on like sugar and spice on an apple pie. Don’t overdo it, but lightly cover the surface. Gliders don’t have to have a lot to stay very healthy. However, they do need it in order to keep the calcium and phosphorous levels in balance, etc. In addition to all of the vitamins and minerals Sugar Gliders are known to need, Vita Glider has a safe sweetener in it to make them like it, and a cherry smell to attract them to it. Most gliders like it. I have had this product for about 14 years and we almost never have a glider develop tetany or rear leg paralysis.

Of course your gliders should always have a good source of fresh, clean water. Avoid tap water unless you have a filter that takes chlorine out. Bottled-water or well water is fine. You can also let tap water stand for 24 hours in an open container to eliminate the chlorine. The danger is that if the chlorine levels spike on a given day, it could be dangerous or possibly fatal to your glider.

Let your gliders have their feast all night long. They will eat off and on most of the night. On the next morning I usually remove the left over fruits and veggies and give them a small piece of wheat bread, a little bowl of Cheerios, or any other good source of a whole grain product. They nibble on it throughout the day. If the glider is going with you for the day, take the Cheerios with you for treats.

This is our diet and it is extremely easy (any child can care for their glider), and it is inexpensive. But the best reason for feeding it is the results. My gliders live much longer and much healthier on this diet than when we fed other ways. We use it and recommend it because it works!

Sugar Glider Eating TrialNow finally, let’s look at the study.
The study was set up like this. Nine young male Sugar Gliders (4-9 months old) were used in the test. All appeared to be healthy at the pretrial inspection. All nine of the gliders had been eating diet #1 prior to the trial.

They were divided into 3 groups of 3, and caged in these trios. Each group was fed one of the 3 diets mentioned above.

Group 1 was fed the insectivore fare diet, 15 gm. per evening.
Group 2 was fed the pellet diet, 15 gm. per evening. (They softened it with water, which I don’t do).
Group 3 was fed the BML diet, 15 gm. per evening.

Each group received 15 gm. of mixed frozen vegetables, and 15gm of fresh fruits & berries per evening.
Each group was given 20 mealworms per week as extra protein. Group 1 also was given cooked chicken
mixed with Special K cereal twice a week.

Group 1 was given Rep Cal as a calcium supplement.

Group 2 was given a vitamin and mineral supplement called Frugivore Salad Supplement.

Group 3 was given no supplement, but RepCal is part of the recipe for the BML.

Glider ConsumptionMany things were studied and discovered through their pre and post blood-work, but we will confine our observations to the most important and less esoteric findings.

First, there were two anomalies that occurred. One animal in Group 1 had to be eliminated due to self mutilation. Also, two of the gliders in Group 3 lost weight, (as much as 5 gm.) and the third put on too much weight (12 gm.).

Results of Consumption:
Of the base diet, Group 1 ate 41%, Group 2 ate 95%, and Group 3 ate 89%.
Of the veggies, Group 1 ate 41%, Group 2 ate 51%, and Group 3 ate 38%.

Of the fruits, Group 1 ate 76%, Group 2 ate 97%, and Group 3 ate 77%.
Of the additional protein (mealworms and chicken), Group 1 ate 100%, Group 2 ate 75%, and Group 3 ate 100%.

 My Observations: Group 1 only consumed 41% of their Insectivore diet and all of their extra protein treats such as mealworms. They ate only 41% of the veggies and only 76% of the fruits. These gliders will have a high meat protein level in their diet and will have the smell associated with that condition. The study said that gliders do not need a lot of protein and that all 3 diets provided plenty of protein. The gliders in this group gained an average of 8.2% of their original body weight. This is fairly heavy growth.

Group 2 consumed 95% of the Kibble diet. They obviously like it. But they also ate 51% of the veggies and 97% of the fruits. Notice that they only ate 75% of the mealworms offered to them. If that kibble diet is a soybean protein like Glider Grub, they will have little odor, except for the mealworm protein. I contend that if the mealworms were eliminated and replaced occasionally with nuts or some other source of treat that contains protein, they will be just as happy and have almost no odor. Even though the gliders in this group ate very well they stayed lean. They gained an average of only 2.3% of their original body weight. This is slow but steady growth.  Group 3 fared the worst. They ate 89% of their BML diet. They obviously like it. They only ate 38% of their veggies, and 77% of their fruits. They chowed down on their mealworms however, eating 100% of them. They will also have a lot of animal protein in their system and will have a strong smell. It is deceiving to say that they gained an average of only 2% of their original body weight however, because one gained 12 grams while the other two lost up to 5 grams of body weight on this diet. This explains to me why so many of the gliders that I see that are on a version of the BML diet are obese. Prior to this study I always stayed away from this diet due to the animals odor, and because I kept seeing this obesity phenomenon.


Vitamin and Mineral Analysis
A Sugar Glider’s optimum Calcium to Phosphorous ration is thought to be 2 to 1.
In this trial the resulting Ca to P in Group 1 was 6.5 to 1. Group 2 was 1 to 1. Group 3 was 7 to 1.
Obviously, if you feed the group 1 or 3 diet you need to find foods that have a high phosphorous content to try to bring those levels into balance. If you feed group 2 (the Kibble), you can easily add the additional calcium by means of the Vita Glider every other day.
Also both diets 1 & 3 were supplemented with RepCal (supplemented in group 1 and in the food itself in group 3), containing vitamin D. The blood-work at the end of the trial showed that the vitamin D was quite elevated in group 1 & 3, compared to group 2 which fell within proper guidelines. Group 1 at 28 IU/g, Group 2 at 1.3 IU/g and Group 3 at 34 IU/g. The trial also stated “In addition, we were able to estimate protein digestibility on all 3 diets, ranging from 67% (diets A and C) to 70% (diet B)”.

Conclusion and Recommendation:
We recommend that you make your life easier and your glider healthier by sticking with the Glider Grub and Vita Glider. Provide a variety of fruits and vegetables and fresh water. Get creative with your treats for the gliders and let them eat them in your open hand or in your pocket. Try Pine Nuts, almonds, dried pineapple, mango, papaya, apricot, coconut, raisins, Cheerios, other grain products, etc. If you are eating a peppermint or Life Saver, give it a little piece to lick on.
Mango Fruit TreatsGlider Grub

Never give them seeds like is in a bird food diet. Never let them have any chocolate (it can kill them). Be aware that they are much safer with your cat than with a Catnip toy. They are deathly allergic to Catnip. Always be protective of your glider from chemicals. They are very susceptible to toxic chemicals.

Most of all, lighten up, enjoy your gliders, and don’t be on pins and needles, afraid that you are going to do something wrong. This is not brain surgery. Common sense and a little knowledge will make your glider a healthy and happy animal which will bring you countless hours of joy.

By the way, to my critics who will still say that I only recommend Glider Grub and Vita Glider because I sell them, I say that I sell them only because I can recommend them. I won’t lose any real money if my customers use another food item. The Glider Grub is only $39.95 for a year’s supply for two gliders, and Vita Glider is only $19.95 for a year’s supply for two gliders. Obviously, that is not the main source of my income.

Happy Glidering.
By the way, if you want to see the complete study, click here.

Source: Ellen S. Dierenfeld, PhD, Debra Thomas, DVM, Robin Ives, BS, Comparison of Commonly Used Diets on Intake, Digestion, Growth, and Health in Captive Sugar Gliders (Petaurus breviceps),, Publisher W.B. Saunders Company, Elsevier, 06/2009

Sugar Glider Food and Nutrition

Picking a Sugar Glider As A Pet

Sugar Gliders As PetsThere are several things to consider while picking out your Sugar Glider. It is very important to take these considerations to heart so that you end up getting the best pet for your money. If you end up with the right Glider, you will absolutely love your new pet. You will also be glad that you took these steps in picking out your Sugar Glider because a little effort at this point will pay off for up to 15 years.
The first thing to consider is the breeder. You should always buy from a USDA licensed breeder with a good reputation for having quality animals. USDA breeders are inspected regularly by the agencies field representatives. Our breeding facilities must meet their standards for cleanliness, space temperature, space ventilation, feeding program, veterinarian program, and general care of the animals. In addition, we can be inspected at any time, any place, such as the shows that Tropical Attitude Pets attends. A good breeder does everything he does with the wellbeing of the animals in mind, at all times.
Ask to see the breeder’s license. If he has one, he should be glad to show it to you. Look to see if it is still in effect, and not expired.
It is always important to only buy animals that are 7 weeks to 12 weeks old. We find that this is the perfect age for bonding. Most animals older than the 12 week age will be set in its ways and will be much harder with which to bond.
It is also nice to have a large selection of animals from which to choose. At the trade shows, fairs, and festivals that we at Tropical Attitude Pets attend, we normally have 30 to 40 babies of the correct age from which to choose. At those shows we help you find just the right glider for you. The way we do that is by letting you hold several of the babies until you find the one or two that melt in your hands (or melt your heart). Just as important, we teach you how to hold the babies for the quickest bonding possible (more on this below). When you hold a baby for the first time remember that the baby does not know your scent and is on alert at least at first. There is a way to hold them so that they are feeling comfortable with you very quickly. If you don’t hold it that way it can take a long time for a glider to begin trusting you. We teach this to you first-hand at the shows.

Even more important than having a large selection is having a selection of quality animals. Our babies are hand raised. This means that the mom & dad raise the babies and feed them. However, we take the babies away from mom & dad daily for a short period of time and hold them in our hands. Sometimes they are placed in a pouch or pocket for a longer time. This daily handling causes the baby to have very little fear of humans in general by the time we take them to a show. All they need is to have a little time in a new persons hand in order to start feeling safe with them. We start handling them from the day their eyes open (about 10 days out of the pouch), and take them away from the parents around the 7th week out of the pouch. By the time we take them to a show for sale, they have been handled for at least 5 ½ weeks. As a result we have a great reputation for very sweet babies that will bond quickly if our methods are implemented. see Bonding with Your Sugar Glider!

Normally when we put a baby in your hands at a show it will be one we have selected for you to consider. It may be pulled from the cage, but more than likely it will be pulled from one of our shirt pockets. The reason for this is that the ones in our pockets are more acclimated to the environment of the show. I normally have Blanco in my tee shirt pocket, and in the two outer shirt pockets I will have about 3-4 baby girls in one, and 3-4 baby boys in the other. These babies have been in the pocket and have been shown off regularly that day. They not only get more used to being with me and being shown off, but they are getting more and more comfortable with being put in a new hand. When my potential customers hold those babies correctly the animal will normally fall asleep in their hands in 5-10 minutes. I call this having a good experience with an unknown person. Every time a Sugar Glider has a good experience with one person, it makes it easier to have a good experience with the next person. A Sugar Glider that has been held off and on throughout several hours and placed back in a pocket with a couple of other gliders in between, is normally a glider that will bond very quickly to the new owner that picks it. As these gliders are sold I replace them with other babies to help them become just as acclimated as the ones that have been sold.
So now you have a hand raised, 7-12 week old baby Sugar Glider in your hands for the first time. As mentioned above, it is very important to hold it correctly in order to get the maximum trust from the glider in the shortest time. When done well, it is not uncommon for the animal to be asleep in your hand within 5-10 minutes. Here is how to do it correctly: A glider needs to be given maximum security and isolation at first. We are going to do this with one hand only. The second hand can be placed over the first after you are holding it properly in the first hand. This will give even more isolation to the baby. So the way to hold them is to place the glider on its back in the palm of one of your hands with its head up towards the thumb. Then wrap your fingers around the glider and use your thumb to tuck its head into its belly. The tail will usually be hanging out, so take the tail and wrap it up into your hand along the body of the baby. You now have your baby in one hand curled up like a little ball about the size of a walnut. Now what you need to do is squeeze. It is hard to get a person to squeeze a baby tight enough to make it feel safe, but when you do, you will know you are doing it right because the baby will just relax in your hand and stop making any of its scared noise called crabbing.
The reason this method works so well is that by doing the above you are giving the baby the same sense of security and isolation that it felt when it was in Mom’s pouch. In there it was very tight, warm, and isolated from all of the scary things that are out there in the world. glider in hand
If you will then continue to hold the baby that way for an extended period of time you may feel the baby start to relax (the pounding heartbeat slows to where you can hardly feel it), and as the heartbeat goes away, it may start vibrating almost like a motor is running in its belly. This is really a purr and is actually the second level of trust. (The first being the slow heartbeat) Next if you continue to hold it this way, it will stop purring. At this time it is probably sleeping in your hand. This is the third level of trust. Once you have reached this stage and the animal is asleep, it is imprinting on its brain that you and your scent is a safe place to be.
If you buy that one, it will no doubt bond well with you. If you don’t buy that one, it will be just that much easier for it to trust the next  Person.
The difficult thing about this method is that you need to hold that baby for 5-10 minutes at least and you are not seeing it at all. Of course everyone wants to see them and often open their hands too soon and it may scare the glider. Just tighten your hold and cover it up again. If you look at it eye to eye too soon it can scare the glider before it has time to trust you. After it has gone to sleep, then you can release the pressure somewhat and often it will continue to sleep and you can admire it.
After a while of doing this (which may be more than just at the show), your glider will not be afraid while you hold it in an open hand sleeping or even while he grooms himself.
A couple of other mistakes people often make at first is putting it up to your face, and or trying to kiss it. This scares a glider that does not know you. For all he knows you are planning on eating him.
Some gliders also are afraid of direct eye contact at first. This may remind them of the instinct to avoid their main predators, birds. To a new baby glider your staring eyes could be a hawk or an owl ready to attack. If this is a problem, just glance at the glider askance rather than directly.
Another common mistake is making clucking noises at it, or shushing noises. This can work well with some other animals but not with a scared baby Sugar Glider. The reason is that these noises sound too much like their scared noise, the crabbing. The crabbing can make them feel as if there is another glider warning him that there is something harmful near. Instead, just talk to the glider in soothing tones and let him get used to your voice.
This subject was to discuss picking out a glider. To learn more about bonding, go to the faq