Pet Drawbacks

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So, is a sugar glider a good pet for you?

That is a question you certainly need to ask yourself. This article is targeted at disuading you from owning a sugar glider by simply presenting the facts. Ask any suggie owner and they will tell you these things from experience and the huge number of pets given up to rescues and adoption is testament that this is true.


Sugar gliders can be rather expensive to purchase but also to keep. Please see What Does A Sugar Glider Cost.


Sugar gliders require a Captive Diet that is not simply bought like a dog or cat. They cannot survive on dry and/or pellet type foods. Sugar gliders are an exotic wild animal and they require an exotic diet that can get complicated. If you are squeamish around mealworms, [[grubs]], [[crickets]] and other bugs, you should not own a sugar glider.


Sugar gliders live in treetops and run and glide large distances every night to feed. Their cage requirements are far beyond what would be needed for a comparable sized pet, such as a hamster, gerbil, or small bird. A typical "healthy" cage is no less than an AVIARY. Australia's Department of Sustainability and Environment has various laws regarding keeping animals. The minimum cage size they require is much larger than what is easily found for sale in other countries, is not enough room and therefore not a healthy situation for the animals. TOWER CAGES are a popular and acceptable cage for American sugar gliders.


Sugar gliders are very scent-driven and can be smelly animals. Much like a ferret or skunk, they have glands on their bodies to emit scent and to mark, although they don't smell as strongly as skunks or ferrets. They also mark constantly with their urine as they are active inside and outside of the cage. After a few days, any cage situation will get messy and smelly and will need attention.


Sugar gliders are noisy, and worse, they are noisy all night long. Being a NocturnalAnimal, they are awake when you are sleeping and they are sleeping when you are awake. Not only is it hard that you miss most of their awake time, but their barking and crabbing and hissing and various cage noises, including clanks, bangs and constant exercise wheel's running, can keep you up at night and will ruin your day. Here's a video on what to expect.


Sugar gliders are indeed very messy animals. When they wake, they will extricate their bowels as they move around. It is common for an animal to extricate while it is eating and when out for play and running on you. Poo and pee on your clothes, skin, hair, and furniture is to be expected with these animals. While in the cage, gliders spend a lot of time on the walls or high up and thusly they will pee, poo and even throw food and waste outside of the cage.


Sugar gliders in captivity have the capability to breed constantly. It is common to have a litter of 1 to 3 joeys up to 3 even 4 times a year. This is a strain on the female and certainly becomes a problem for the keeper when there are too many animals to care for and when a male is in the cage with multiple females, breeding more. Overpopulation has become a very big issue with many unwanted sugar gliders living in bad conditions.


Sugar gliders are an exotic wild animal and therefore have instincts to protect. If you look around the forums you will see that many people have problems with biters and many of them give up and hand the animals over to rescues thus adding to the number of homeless animals. Some people have needed to get stitches because of how deep a sugar glider can bite. In the wild they normally peel bark off of trees, human skin is much softer and easier for them to bite into.


In captivity, sugar gliders can live up to 15 years, plus or minus some. Considering the amount of effort one has to put into the pet for feeding, playtime, cage space in the house, pet sitting while away, a majority of sugar glider owners are not prepared for the long haul and inevitably give up their pets for adoption.


Sugar gliders are a social animal and were not meant to be alone. Human contact is absolutely not a replacement for family of their own kind. A minimum number of animals is two, do not ever plan to have just one. Solitary animals are the ones who largely have health issues, self mutilate or bite due to depression. There is no replacement for sleeping with and interfacing with their own kind.


Sugar glider health problems can be bizarre as well as emotionally and financially draining. Search the SugarGliderForums and you will see numerous issues. Finding veterinarians in your area can be difficult, as most vets have little to no experience with sugar gliders.


A large percentage of sugar glider owners give them up within a year. They finally realize and accept that keeping the animal is not as rewarding as they had hoped for. All exotic animals require above and beyond any care that might be given for a standard domestic animal and most folks just do not accept that until they have experienced it. Consider this concept in your decision and please watch this video.


These items by themselves can sometimes be enough to dissuade a prospective owner from investing into the sugar glider hobby, but please do consider them all. Owning gliders is not easy and it can be very time consuming while giving them attention in the early morning and late at night, while cleaning cages weekly or more often, while preparing meals nightly, and more. Give it some hard thought, take some time to see what it would be like in your life and above all, ask questions.

See Also

Think before purchasing

Last Edited September 24, 2012