Sugar gliders are marsupials belonging to Indonesia, Australia and New Guinea. They are small gliding possums and weight up to three to five oz. They have a silky fur of the color pearl grey with patches of colors cream and black. The black color is usually on their ears and end of the tail. They are named sugar gliders because they are able to glide because of the patagium or the skin membrane which connects first toe of the hind foot with the fifth finger of the forelimb, on either side. They expand them to create an aerodynamic plane to glide from one tree to another.
Sugar gliders have the habit of nibbling on each other, and this shouldn’t be confused with biting. They nibble to do many things like testing food, to show affection, force, groom, etc. Babies initially are taught by biting. When they are angered, they get aggressive and bite really hard. So, new owners should be alert until the pets becomes familiar and stops biting. Care should be taken that this biting shouldn’t turn into a habit. Incase, if it turns into a regular behavior, the animal should be held firmly when it bites, so that it cannot move and gets tired of crabbing. Although this takes a long time the pet will eventually get over its natural instinct. The animal must submit to the owner and it shouldn’t be given the feeling it has won. He should also be released very slowly; otherwise it will bite again and flee. Also, they can be fed with some food, to appreciate their discipline when they start learning. They also become comfortable with humans, when they eat in front of them. Usually female sugar gliders are tough to tame, especially those which come directly from the wild.
Sugar gliders come from a very rough environment. They are basically hunting animals. So they should be provided with a rich environment so that they don’t get disturbed mentally. The cage should be very big so that they can leap freely. Small cages hinder the health of the animal. They are also very active and need exercise. Their cage should be equipped with toys like exercise wheels with a diameter of eleven inches. They are also very inquisitive animals, so new things like cardboard boxes, should be introduced in their cage from time to time to prevent boredom. The food can also be placed in different places to keep them on their heels. Food can also be hidden in branch holes, which they can dig out.
The cage of sugar gliders should be cleaned every week to ensure their hygiene. The urine should be spot cleaned as the ammonia in it can be very harmful to the respiratory system of sugar gilders. Also the moisture can encourage the growth of harmful fungus. If the cage isn’t cleaned for a long time, not only will the occupants become sick but also the house will be filled with odor. Some precautions should be taken while cleaning the cage and also it should be sprayed with disinfectant so as to kill the germs and bacteria.
Sugar gliders are habituated to living in groups. That is the reason why they are never kept alone as pets, as this will adversely affect their health. It also requires attention from humans around it. They cling onto each other when they sleep, so as to keep warm. They communicate with each other by squeaking, crabbing, chirping and barking. They have a good memory and can retain a grudge against a human after receiving harm from him, even if it was caused by accident.
Females have the ability to beget offspring every seven to ten months. They give birth to a baby sugar glider after sixteen days of pregnancy, which usually weighs only 0.2 grams. After the birth, the baby shifts to the mother’s pouch, where it stays for seventy days and feeds on milk from the nipples. Both the mother and father have equal participation of bringing up their offspring.