1) Cage Construction
- PVC coated wire is
preferable over epoxy, paint, powder-coated, or galvanized
wire due to potential health and safety hazards.
- Openings should be no
larger than ½” x 1” (1.25-2.5cm) rectangles. Cages
consisting primarily of vertical bars (ie. bird cages) are
not recommended for babies or juveniles.
- Removable plastic waste
tray should be at least 1” (2.5cm) from the floor of the
cage. Paper lining is preferable to wood shavings.
2) Cage Size
- Different cage sizes are
optimal for babies vs. adults. Bird cages are not suitable
for Sugar Gliders.
- Ideal cage size for 1-2
babies/juveniles younger than 5 months (out of pouch):
Width/Depth: 18-20 inches (46-51cm) / Height: 24-30 inches
- Recommended cage size for
1 or 2 adult animals over 5 months of age:
Width: 36 inches (91cm) / Depth: 24 inches (61cm) / Height:
40 inches (102cm).
- Larger cage sizes for
adults are preferable. Additional height is the primary
3) Cage Location
- Temperature, noise levels,
odor, lighting and the social nature of the animal are
important considerations in cage placement within a home.
- The ideal temperature
range in the home for a healthy animal is 75-80F (24-27C). A
supplemental heat source is often needed for a healthy
- Avoid placing cage in or
near kitchen due to possible health hazards associated with
non-stick cookware, boiling water, and other kitchen
4) Essential Supplies
- Use of a supplemental heat
source is strongly recommended. A conventional heat rock is
preferable to heat lamp or UV lighting during the bonding
- Introduction of a nesting
cloth/heat rock combination is preferable to nesting boxes
or hanging pouches due to stress and bonding considerations.
- Once the bonding is
completed, the use of a nesting pouch inside the cage is
- Food/water bowls and food
items should be placed inside an enclosed dining area to
avoid contamination and unnecessary waste. For more
information, view “Nutrition” video at
- The use of both a
conventional water bottle and secondary water dish (such as
an ashtray) is recommended.
5) Toys and Accessories
- Gliders will enjoy most
traditional pet toys.
- Avoid use of anything with
loose strings or wires which could entangle the animal.
- Exercise wheels are an
important source of necessary exercise. Avoid use of
traditional hamster/rodent wheels due to hazards associated
with prehensile tail. (www.sugarbears.com)
- Rope and/or wooden toys
should be replaced every 3-4 months due to sanitary
- Use of quality artificial
plants is preferred to natural fauna due to health and
- These should be removed
and cleaned every two to three weeks. They must be
- A preferable alternative
to foliage is 1in. plastic chain (Lowe’s/Home Depot).
7) Odor Management
- Regular cleaning of cage
and all supplies – and a quarterly sterilization of same –
- Odor levels can be
substantially controlled with diet.
- Effective topical sprays
and waste tray additives are commercially available. (www.sugarbears.com)
8) Household Hazards
- Owners should always
thoroughly wash hands – including under fingernails – before
handling animals to avoid accidental transfer of
- Sugar Gliders are
susceptible to toxicity poisoning and a wide range of
household hazards due to their keen senses and
highly-inquisitive nature. The most common cause of injuries
or death in the home include:
1) Drowning in open containers of fluids, such as toilets,
sinks, bathtubs, or buckets
2) Burns from landing on stovetops, light bulbs, toasters,
coffee pots, etc.
3) Poisoning from fruit-scented air fresheners, or
fruit-scented cleaners such as Lysol™.
4) Poisoning from insect or rodent baits.
5) Poisoning from pesticides sprayed in rooms or on foods.
6) Poisoning from residues left on hands or under
7) Poisoning from chemicals contained in tap water used as
8) Accidental contamination of food or water with spray
cleaners such as Windex™.
9) Chocolate or caffeinated drinks
10) Contact with toxic houseplants or holiday decorations
Most mistakes can be avoided simply by:
1) Closing toilet lids and bathroom doors
2) Using only bottled water as drinking water.
3) Avoiding unsupervised excursions in the home
4) Removal of all fruit-scented air fresheners, candles,
insect and rodent baits.
5) Temporarily moving the cage to a different room when
6) Thoroughly washing your hands – including under the
fingernails – prior to handling the animal.
7) Washing all foods thoroughly prior to feeding.
8) Making sure all chocolate and caffeinated beverages are
9) Making sure all houseplants and holiday decorations are
- Sugar gliders are highly
social animals and should be kept in groups of 2 or more
whenever possible. If housed alone, owners must be prepared
to spend 2+ hours/day interacting with the animal to provide
- Joeys should be adopted
between 7-12 weeks out of pouch (OOP).
- The bonding process should
begin before 12 weeks OOP, and may take several weeks to
- When acclimated slowly
together, sugar gliders readily bond with other housepets.
Care should be taken to use good judgment.
- Although nocturnal by
nature, sugar gliders can be adjusted to any schedule which
allows maximum interaction with their owners.
- Sugar gliders enjoy
playing outside their cage and on their owners. Careful
supervision is strongly suggested when playing - with
special attention given to avoiding open toilet lids and
other common household hazards.
- Noises include “crabbing”
(scared), barking (lonely or playing), purring/chirping
(contentment), sneezing/hissing (grooming or playing).
Common Problems Requiring
- Malnutrition and poor care
practices usually derived from unregulated internet
websites. Hind-limb paralysis, blindness, dehydration,
cataracts, obesity, and seizures are typical results of
- Pneumonia, including
discharge from the eyes/nose.
- Diarrhea resulting from
changing diet or adding new foods.
- Stress-related diseases
including self-mutilation, cannibalism of young, and eating
- Hair loss typically
resulting from poor nutrition and vitamin intake.
- Males should be neutered
whenever possible to avoid anti-social behaviors and
Suggested Preventative Care
- An examination performed
by a knowledgeable veterinarian should be performed within 1
week of adoption.
- Bi-annual checkups,
- a review of dietary and care practices
- Stool exam
- Bloodwork and/or radiographs as recommended by
- No vaccines are currently required.