Your New Pet Purchased From A Mill Breeder

If you have purchased your sugar glider from a home show, expo, fair, mall or hotel room, you've probably just purchased from a large mill breeder. Here is some information for you to use to make a more informed decision on how to feed, treat, house and interact with your sugar glider. The most common areas of conflicting information for new owners that have purchased from a mill breeder are:




Interaction with other pets

Health Issues

Warnings against other internet sites and forums

A good place to start is also: [ ]

Housing: Cage size is a debatable subject. Mill breeders tend to sell start-up packages that include small cages they claim are appropriate for "baby" sugar gliders and that as they grow, a larger cage is appropriate. Some areas, such as Florida, actually have laws regulating cage size. [/ ] Common sense can tell you that a sugar GLIDER needs room to GLIDE. They are tree dwellers in the wild and like to be perched up high. It is recommended that if you are purchasing a larger cage, height is more important than width. Many people have made their own cages for less than the cost of a large flight cage. Generally, the cage sold in a start-up package is a good size for a travel/medical quarantine/temporary cage. Cages do also require cleaning: [ ]

Diet: Fruits, vegetables and protein are vital for your sugar glider's health. Pellet food is not. Sugar gliders are nocturnal and have no need for a dry food to sit out in their cage at all times. Sugar gliders do not normally wake up during the day to "snack". Some people will occasionally feed a piece or two of high quality dog or cat kibble as a treat and for maintaining dental health. The following are links to help you decide what diet is best for your glider and provides you with some other basic information on diet:

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Temperament/Bonding: Not every sugar glider will bond with you. Unlike what you may have heard in a very convincing sales pitch, it can take months for a sugar glider to start to trust you. When you first bring them home, they will not necessarily act like they did when you were being given a sales pitch. Chances are, you saw these sugar gliders in the middle of the day while they are normally asleep. That alone can affect how they may have acted while snuggling up in your palm before the sale. Some sugar gliders will instantly be comfortable in their new surroundings and take to you immediately. Please know this is not the norm based on hundreds of new glider owners' own experiences.

Other information you may be interested in if you've purchased a single glider:

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Can a sugar glider live alone? Of course. Is it optimal for their mental health since they are, in fact, colony animals? No.

Interaction with other pets: You may have been told that your sugar glider will soon be best friends with your other family pets. This is simply dangerous information. Animals have animal instincts. You cannot possibly guarantee your pet will not act on their animal instincts. Dogs and cats are predators. If you choose to allow your pets to interact together, do not ever leave them unattended and consider the stress you may be causing your sugar glider. There are countless stories of people's cats and dogs killing their sugar gliders. If you have birds in your home, sugar gliders do eat birds in the wild. Having the two interact will surely end up as a tasty meal for your sugar glider.

Health Issues including Giardia: You were probably told your sugar glider does not need to go to the vet. While the hope is that you never have a reason to do so, a very large majority of sugar glider owners have had to take their sugar gliders into the vet. Some reasons for this can be emergencies like self-mutilation, broken tails, mating wounds or other open wounds, dehydration, sudden lethargy, simply finding their sugar glider unresponsive and other reasons. Further reasons will also include well-checks (especially when adding new sugar gliders to your current colony)and neutering. Once you purchase a new pet of any kind, it is always adviseable to have them checked out. A basic workup for a new pet, including sugar gliders, is a physical, weight check and fecal check.

When should you take your sugar glider to the vet?:
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Other helpful health links worth bookmarking: [ ]

Sugar gliders can carry diseases, parasites, mites and other contagious illnesses. A well-known sickness is Giardiasis or Giardia. Unfortunately, mill breeders have a reputation for selling sugar gliders infected with Giardia. It is not normal for any animal to be infected with Giardia nor are they born with it. A small breeder with healthy adults should not have Giardia. You should make yourself aware of the symptoms as it is contagious to humans as well: [ ]

You should always have access to an exotic vet that treats sugar gliders and an emergency vet as back-up should you need care after hours or on a holiday. It is better to have the information and never need it than to suddenly need it and not have it. IF YOU FIND YOURSELF IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION, THESE FORUMS ARE EXACTLY THE PLACE TO GO TO FIND IMMEDIATE HELP AND RESOURCES.

Sugar Glider Forums and Chat Rooms: Mill breeders are also known for preaching against visiting, joining, reading or having any sort of affiliation with Sugar Glider forums. It would stand to reason that they would only advise against sugar glider forums so that further, correct information will not be found. If they did have the best interest of gliders in mind, they would encourage interaction with other sugar glider owners. What you will find on sugar glider forums are fellow glider owners, new and experienced, that have the same issues as you, the same questions as you and can provide you with necessary information that will not be readily available from the breeder. If a mill breeder suddenly cuts off all contact with you after you've become a member of a sugar glider forum, that in itself should be considered extremely suspicious behavior. Even if you choose not to join and just observe, how could real life sugar glider owners not benefit from each other, support each other, learn from each other and even form relationships with each other?

The larger, less reputable mill breeders are great salespeople that only have the ultimate goal of a sale in mind. This is how they make their living. It stands to reason that the more they sell, the more job security they have. There are reputable breeders out there that will never deter you from interacting with other owners. There are rescues overflowing with sugar gliders needing a forever home. When you speak with these rescuers, you will find that a majority of their sugar gliders were surrendered by people that couldn't handle the responsibility of being an owner because they were mislead and lied to when they made an impulse purchase.

If you have personal experience that you feel you'd like to further discuss about your purchase from a mill breeder or just for further information: [ ]

Last Edited March 5, 2009