Sugar gliders as pets: The basics

by Jefferson Valley Realty 11/12/2023

For those who want an exotic pocket-sized animal companion, many would-be pet owners consider getting sugar gliders as pets. These tiny marsupials are native to Australia and Indonesia, and are similar in appearance to gray squirrels.

While sugar gliders are adorable and playful animals, they cannot be truly domesticated like dogs or cats. As with all wild animals, there are many things to think about before choosing one as a pet.

Is it legal to own a sugar glider as a pet?

If you’re interested in owning a sugar glider or any exotic pet, the first thing you need to do is determine if it’s legal where you live. Sugar gliders are illegal to keep as pets in multiple states including Hawaii, Alaska and California. If not banned at the state-level, there may still be county or city regulations prohibiting their ownership.

Sugar glider diet

One major challenge in keeping a pet sugar glider is proper nutrition. These critters need a balanced diet most commercial pellet food can’t provide. Therefore, you’ll need to prepare fresh food for them with plenty of protein and vitamin-rich produce. If sugar gliders don’t eat well, their health can decline rapidly.

Sugar glider behavior & temperament

Sugar gliders are popular for their playful and affectionate temperament. Taking the time to bond with your sugar glider is crucial, as they will learn to trust you and adore your attention. Even though they’re predators in the wild, they rarely bite their owners.

They are colony animals, so experts recommend having at least two of these furry friends to provide each other company and proper socialization. Without constant attention and companionship, they can experience severe health issues stemming from anxiety.

Housing for sugar gliders

Despite being tiny animals, sugar gliders require a significant amount of living space to thrive. You’ll want an enclosure of at least 36x24x36, containing plenty of obstacles for climbing. A sugar glider cage should also include a cozy nest or pocket area for sleep, as well as a variety of toys to encourage exercise and play.

Is a sugar glider right for you and your lifestyle? If you have your heart set on one of these playful and entertaining nocturnal animals, keep these key factors in mind when doing your research.