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Sugar Glider Care

By: Dr. Alondra Martin

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Gliders from Down Under

Sugar Gliders, or Petaurus breviceps, are nocturnal, tree-dwelling marsupials that originated in Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia. They were named because of their predilection for the sugary sap or gum of the eucalyptus tree and the presence of a "gliding" membrane or patagium. This furry membrane of skin extends from their wrists to their ankles and allows them to glide up to 50 meters amongst the trees. This structure is similar to the ones found on flying squirrels.

Sugar gliders have a gregarious nature, normally living in small family groups. Therefore, in captivity, it is strongly recommended that gliders be housed together for companionship purposes. If you do have a group situation, you should neuter your male to prevent unnecessary pregnancies. It has also been noted that when gliders are housed solitarily and do not receive enough attention from their owners they do not flourish and may even die.

Sugar Glider Facts

These small possums are about the size of large hamsters. They weigh anywhere from 95-160 grams depending on their gender and measure up to 21 centimeters in length. They are primarily gray in color with black stripes and have a lighter underside. Since they are nocturnal animals, they have large eyes for superior night vision. When sexual maturity is reached at about 1 year, the male glider will develop a large patch of glandular tissue on top of the head. It is easily mistaken for a large scab but is really a scent gland to mark territory. If the following recommendations are followed, sugar gliders have been known to live up to 14 years.

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