Housing

Adult gliders can tolerate a temperature range of 64 to 88F (18-31C). At the low end of this range they definitely need warm bedding and a small enclosed space where they can cuddle to keep warm. The normal household is at the cool end of the spectrum for gliders, so make sure they can stay warm! I keep my glider room warmer than the rest of the house by using a thermostat-controlled space heater. It's usually about 80F in there.

Quality Cage SG2020My favorite cage (for two gliders) is made by Quality Cage in Portland, OR. It is made of black powder-coated 1" x 1/2" welded wire and measures 20" square by 36" high, with two user-installable shelves and a wire floor with a pull-out tray for cleaning. The door opening is quite large, so you won't have any problem putting in glider-sized exercise wheels, nestboxes, etc., and the entire top of the cage opens for putting in branches. There's also an optional stand. The catalog number of the cage is SG2020 and it sells for around $100.

Making your own cage is the cheapest way to go, but when I do it I always end up sporting neat rows of evenly-spaced cuts on various parts of my body. :) Galvanized cage wire is the easiest to find; scrub it down good with a wire brush and then again with a sponge soaked in vinegar water, to get rid of any zinc left over from the galvanizing process. If you want to use a bird cage, you'll need to look for one with horizontal bars a maximum of 1/2-inch apart. The horizontal bars give them footholds for climbing that they wouldn't have in a cage with vertical bars. Gliders are very active and need lots of space for climbing and jumping, so the bigger your cage, the better!

There are several other online sources for custom-made glider cages. Look in the glider link list for some of them.

Natural branches or rope perches for climbing are good additions to your cage, but make sure any branches you use are free of pesticides and are not from a plant that could be toxic. Fruit tree branches are good, and I've also used oak successfully. If you can find the large size exercise wheel made for guinea pigs, your gliders might learn to use it for exercise, but be sure not to get the smaller hamster size, as gliders can get their long tails caught in those, causing some serious injuries. Quality Cage also makes a large exercise wheel from the same materials as their cage; I like to line them with plastic needlepoint canvas (attached with zip ties) to prevent leg injuries. (It's not on their website so you'll have to ask for it.)

Any feeding dishes that stay in the cage for non-perishable foods should be small enough not to tempt the gliders to sit in them while they eat, so as to avoid soiling their food. You can buy disposable paper trays in bulk from wholesale grocery stores so you don't have to wash dishes every night - this is especially helpful if you have a lot of gliders.

Be sure to privide a dark place for your gliders to sleep. It should be made of absorbant material like wood, fabric, etc. This photo shows gliders nesting in a clay flower pot turned upside-down with a clean rag inside for the floor. (The hole was drilled under water to keep from breaking the pot.) Absorbant materials keep humidity from building up inside, and also "breathe" so that moisture and smells don't build up. If you use materials such as plastic or glazed ceramic, your gliders will eventually take on a brownish tinge as their fur is stained by the trapped moisture, and they probably won't smell as nice as they should.

The down side to nest boxes of wood or clay is that although the gliders won't soil the inside, they will mark the top and sides with urine, so eventually they will need to be replaced. One solution to this is to mount the nest box at the top of the cage so they can't get on top of it, or hang the nestbox on the outside of the cage like bird breeders do. Another is to use a cloth pouch that can be thrown in the washer when it needs cleaning. The cloth pouch is a good way to go when you are taming your gliders, because it makes catching them much easier. See the section on taming for more details. Be careful of woven fabrics that might ravel, though, or seams that can come apart, because tiny loose threads can get tangled around glider feet and tails and cut off the circulation. Thermal fleece is my favorite fabric for gliders; it stands up well to frequent washing and won't ravel, and is soft and warm.
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