Heating


A single sugar glider might need to be artificially warmed if the cage is in a room that often gets below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Most any other situation does not require any kind of supplemental heat. In the wild, sugar gliders will nest together in tree hollows to stay warm to survive the coldest snowy Australian winters. Duplicating this concept, you can certainly offer very thick pouches in the winter or even consider a small nestbox with only a small entrance hole. This will retain body heat and protect from the elements much better than a pouch will.

What Kind of Heat

Heat lamps are simply a no no with sugar gliders and pretty much any furry mammal, especially nocturnals. And they should never be used to directly heat a container, nestbox or pouch, only an open area of the cage.

Use of a Heat Rock is highly frowned upon by the community.

Beware of high voltage devices being within chewing range of a sugar glider. They will chew through the wires and be electrocuted. It is best to keep such things outside of the cage, perhaps attached to a nestbox hanging on a feeder access door.

Always use indirect heat. An animal sitting right on top of a heating pad will overheat and will begin skin blistering. Even layers of blankets on top wont help as the little furballs often burrow into them or remove them. Best way is to place the pad on the wall or in a separate cavity in the nest box.

Supplemental heat for sugar gliders can be very light. A 4 or 8 watt heating pad can keep a well designed nest box very cozy with animals inside when it is below zero in the room. Think something along the lines of thermos or cooler with only a tiny access hole.

You ALWAYS want to use a thermostat probe with any heating source so that it will shut off when the box reaches 70F. Sugar gliders do not need heating above this and will only suffer from additional heating.

Heating Pad

Be very weary of any supplemental heating device. None of them have been designed for small furries. None of them have thermometers with thermostats on them. Long term exposure to continuous heat can cause health issues such as Heat Stroke, Dehydration, and direct heat issues with the skin. Sitting on a hot pad will slowly cause the skin to blister and eventually separate from the body. This exact thing happened to an opossum of mine laying on a 4 watt micro-hermit-crab heat pad that had been covered with two layers of fleece.

If a heating pad is to be used, it needs to be set up to provide indirect heat. One way is to mount it under the cage or on the wall. It can be attached to the inside wall of a nestbox. A probe thermostat should always be employed that can sense temperature inside of the cage or nestbox area so that it can turn off the heating pad when temperatures are reached. 70F is a good target. Sugar gliders DO NOT need to be warmed to equatorial temps. Their fur and colony cuddling keeps them plenty warm.

Summary

Heating of sugar gliders can be very dangerous and is most often a waste of money. If you are able to keep their cage above 50F, then you are ok with a typical pouch, blankets or nestbox. If you keep them outside, you may want to research and homebrew a thermostatically controlled nest box environment for them which might as well include cooling too.

Sugar gliders can keep themselves warm if they have a cozy place to be. The body heat from two or more animals in a thick pouch or mostly sealed nestbox can certainly keep them warm when it gets very cold out.

Nest box with 6x6 fleece blankets
Double thick/lined pouches
Offer multiple sleeping areas so they can choose to be warmer.


SEE ALSO

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Last Edited September 11, 2012



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