Sugar gliders are quickly becoming popular pets. Providing the proper nutrition is a very important aspect of keeping your glider happy and healthy. Many people feed sweets to sugar gliders, which is unfortunate for this insect-loving creature. In the wild, these little Australian marsupials feast on a combination of insects, pollen, nectar and the sap from eucalyptus.
In captivity, these animals need a variety of foods to meet their nutritional needs. About 50 percent of their diet should be an insectivore/carnivore diet. Examples of the insects that can be fed include mealworms and crickets. Other sources of protein include monkey chow, pinkies (newborn mice), eggs and cat food.
The remaining portion of the captive sugar glider's diet should be related to nectar and sap-type foods. The commercial diet for lories is a nectar-type feed and is good for sugar gliders. Honey can be fed, and there's a commercially available substance called Glider Aid®.
Chopped up fruit, leafy vegetables or fruit juice (if it has no preservatives) are good treats and should be less than 10 percent of the diet. Sprinkled with vitamins and bee pollen, these become even healthier treats.
Some special considerations in keeping sugar gliders healthy involve both their nutritional and environmental requirements. It is important to realize that improper nutrition leads to the majority of deaths of sugar gliders. The following are several tried and true captive diets:
Leadbeater's Mixture Diet
50 percent Leadbeater's Mixture (see recipe below)
50 percent Insectivore/Carnivore Diets (Suppliers are Reliable Protein Products (760-321-7533), Mazuri brand (314-768-4592), and Zupreem (800-345-4767).
Blend well and refrigerate until needed.
Chicago Zoological Park Diet
Taronga Zoo Diet
Sugar glider pellets are also now available. Called Accu-Feed for Gliders, it is manufactured by Brisky Pet Products. Call 1-800-294-1202 or go to www.brisky.com for further information on this new product. As with all new exotic animal diets, this diet should not be fed exclusively but in moderation and mixed with the "normal" diets listed above.