Housing Your Sugar Glider
Sugar gliders are small, agile creatures that love to climb trees. To keep your sugar glider happy, you should provide a tall cage with nest boxes and branches to climb. The cage should measure at least 24 inches by 24 inches by 36 inches. Also, it is very important to have more than one glider housed together – they thrive on companionship.
Finding the right cage should not be difficult because large, upright commercial birdcages sometimes meet these specifications. You just will need to make a few changes to make it perfect for your gliders. There are even specifically made glider cages that even work better. Make sure the spacing between bars is less than 1/4 inch or wire openings are smaller than 1 inch by 1 inch. Vinyl coated wire hardware cloth (wire mesh), works well to cover the cage. If you choose to use a commercial birdcage, make sure it is not made of zinc or lead, which has the potential to be toxic. Check for any sharp edges or spaces that the gliders can escape from.
For a restful slumber during the day, your sugar glider should have multiple nesting boxes to sleep in. A few simple ideas include wooden bird nest boxes, a small cardboard box and a plastic hamster house. You can also use a cloth pouch with a slit in front. The pouch is anchored to the side of the cage and may measure up to 12 inches by 6 inches by 8 inches. This can hold up to 6 gliders. Make sure the opening is at least 1 inch by 1 inch, or a little larger.
Bedding within the "nest" is optional. If you want to provide a soft "mattress," you can use plain shredded paper or aspen wood shavings. Do not use cedar shavings, which can be toxic. Your sugar glider may also enjoy the comfort of a sock or cloth placed within the nest. The nest boxes should be cleaned out at least twice a week. Clean the cage daily of obvious messes, such as fecal matter and discarded food. The cage should be thoroughly cleaned every week with a disinfectant. All furnishings should be included in this cleaning.
Don't put the cage in direct sunlight because these animals are sensitive to warmer temperatures. Temperatures higher than 88 degrees Fahrenheit can lead to hyperthermia, which can be life threatening. Ideally, the sugar glider's environment should be somewhere between 65 and 75 F, which is conveniently about room temperature.
Climbing branches make good furnishings to provide exercise and a richer environment. They should be made of non-toxic materials such as elm, oak and hickory, or any type of wood rated safe for birds. You should strongly consider an elevated exercise wheel, which gliders love. Choose a solid wheel (not one made from wires) to prevent injury.
Water and Food
Water can be offered from a sipper-type bottle, a non-tip dish or a clip-on bird dish placed in an elevated part of the cage. Their food can be offered from a flat-bottomed, non-tip dish that can be affixed to the wire of the cage. These dishes need to be cleaned out daily and ideally disinfected to prevent bacterial overgrowth given the unique dietary requirements of these animals.