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Basic Glider Care

Beginner Short List: Food, Wheel, Cage, Toys, Water bottle, Food dish, Bedding, Cage Pouch, Bonding Pouch

I only use & recommend Water Treated by Reverse Osmosis.
Sugar Gliders are very sensitive to Giardia - a parasite commonly found in Tap water. The main symptom is diarrhea and may be fatal if untreated. Sugar Gliders do not need the chlorine, bacteria, and other toxins & chemicals contained in Tap Water. 

Feed a Proven Glider diet. Ex: D’s Glider Diet, BML, Darcy Diet, or Suncoast Glider Diet If you‘re feeding a diet that contains highly perishable ingredients that can turn rancid in a short period of time, it is best to feed them in the evening. If there seems to be excess waste, lessen the amount of food given as necessary. Likewise, if all food is eaten, increase the amount. Be sure to wash food dishes daily & water bottles weekly. If your food is frozen serve morning or evening.
Sugar Gliders love healthy snacks; some favorites include Meal Worms, Cheese, pieces of fresh fruit, Grapes are an all time favorite, watermelon, cantaloupe, applesauce, any fruit baby food. Do not feed onions, peanuts, chocolate, anything salted, or other junk food. These items may be toxic or difficult to and cause mild to severe digestive problems.
Sugar Gliders aren’t prone to many health problems as long as they are housed, fed, And cared for properly. Nearly 100% of health problems can be prevented treated successfully by feeding the proper diet. Learn your pet’s behavior, so you can quickly recognize when something is ‘unusual’. Always keep an eye out for diarrhea - that’s typically the 1st Outward symptom to any systemic health problem. Feed Acidophilus regularly to maintain a healthy balance of digestive system flora. Digestive enzymes can be beneficial for Gliders that eat processed foods. If you feel that you cannot successfully care for a sick Glider, See an Exotics Veterinarian.
The minimum accepted cage size for a family of Sugar Gliders is 18”x 18” x 36” A Glass enclosure - (like Exo-Terra), is a wonderful thing for the 1st level of the cage. Gliders get their food EVERYWHERE. This makes cage cleaning very difficult not to mention what can happen to your walls &/or flooring. You can add a wire cage addition to the top of the aquarium. If you’re using the conventional cage, I recommend keeping a cleansable surface underneath & all around the cage. You can also wrap the entire cage in a fleece blanket at night.. Try to keep their cage out of direct sunlight, away from humidity, houseplants and drafts - both hot and cold. Temperatures should never range over ten degrees for a Sugar Glider. Their most comfortable temperature being between 70 F and 73 F. Do not add any wooden additions to the cage made of plywood, fiberboard, cedar, oak, or walnut. A few times a year the entire cage (shelves and houses too) should be taken outside and sterilized. Be sure to allow the cage to dry completely. This thoroughly cleans and disinfects the Sugar Glider’s living area.
Bedding should be unscented, non-toxic, and should also be safe to consume if the Glider has access to it.
I’ve been using steam rolled oats successfully for several years now. A lot of people prefer to put fleece on the bottom of the cage and wash it out once per week. If you use a wire floor, bedding such as kiln dried pine or aspen, corn cob, etc. should not be accessible to the Sugar Glider as any nibbling of it will eventually pose a health problem. Bedding should be changed at least once a week. Cedar, redwood, plywood and other aromatic woods or those containing glues are potentially toxic to Sugar Gliders and could cause respiratory problems and should not be used at all.
Sugar Gliders do an excellent job of keeping themselves clean. Again, watch your Gliders and pay attention to their typical grooming habits, that way, you will notice when something is wrong or unusual about their behavior. I personally like to use a very soft facial or baby brush down the length of the back. If your Glider gets very dirty or food stained, which can happen with some diets, use an unscented baby wipe to help keep things clean. You will also need to keep the Glider’s nails trim by using a sandpaper track in the wheel. Sandy branches and perches may also help.
Sugar Gliders LOVE to play! They are natural vine jumpers, so give them plenty to jump on, climb on, glide from, hang from, etc. Do not use cedar, walnut, oak, wood from trees with pitted fruit,  or vinyl for them to chew on. A wheel is a must.
Gliders have a LOT of energy, and they play hard! They like to play with feather teasers, bells, chenille stems and anything they can climb on.
Although Sugar Gliders may live alone, they are social in the wild and are happy
with a companion. They will groom each other and snuggle while sleeping. Use
caution introducing them to each other and observe their behavior - be
prepared to break up a fight. Since they are nocturnal, try this introduction during the day - their sleepy time. A small, neutral pouch or other small enclosure is best to start out with.
Sugar Gliders love to be held during the day. They will quickly take to sleeping in a pouch, pocket, shirt, or your hands cupped together. If you need to pick up your Glider, do so by scooping up with both hands. Never squeeze around the ribs. Sugar Gliders enjoy being rubbed  around their ears, head, and face. You can also massage them while they’re in their pouch - this is very good for them too.


When you get home, There are 6 introductions to make:
Your Scent, Your Voice, Your Hand, Your Fingers, Your Face, Your Breath
Your SCENT - Place your new Sugar Glider into a pouch that you slept with, and add the blanket that he lived with up until pick-up day.  ***See Hint Below***
Your VOICE - Leave your new Glider in his cage for 3 days undisturbed other than feeding & talking to him. On day 4, you can hold him in his pouch. If he crabs, comfort him by pressing the pouch against your body. You can start out talking gently & quietly then work up to the voice that you would like to use regularly. 

Your HAND -
When you’re able to hold the pouch with only intermittent crabbing . You can introduce him to your hand. Hold the pouch in your lap and place your entire hand in the pouch. It is very important to Be Deliberate as slowly "sneaking in" can scare a joey into thinking that you are a predator. Keep your hand there as long as you like. He will curl up next to or in your hand & fall asleep. ***See Note Below***
Now is a good time to offer treats. Ideally, you should hold the treat for him while he’s eating it. This will create trust very quickly. A 1/2 grape is ideal because a joey can spend 5 minutes eating it while you hold it for him. Continue talking to your Glider.
Your FACE -
Start to coax him to inch out of his pouch gradually. A treat works best. Gliders are very intelligent - you’ll notice that he’ll look at you, at your hair, everything around him, and he will look you right in the eyes. A Glider will remember your face. Gliders are very aware. Their ears are like little radars.
Now that your Glider is used to you in every other way, try talking to him closer to your face, and exhale a lot when you do it. Once you can do this without your Glider crabbing at you, You have created a strong bond. If you keep it up, YOU will mean the world to your Glider. Enjoy your new friend!
***HINT: Before you bring your Glider home, add some small “blankets” &/or Pouch to your bed, so you have something safe to offer that your new Glider will associate you.

***NOTE: If at any point he exit’s the pouch, this means he needs to eliminate. Place him into a container that he can’t get out of until he’s finished - this will take several minutes. I use a small aquarium for this. Most Gliders freeze in one spot until finished. When she starts to move around again, he’s done and you can show him the pouch & he’ll climb right back in.