Newest Review: ... say they are difficult to care for, require a diet mixed from scratch, a very large cage, and several hours dedicated to their care and enr... more
Don't believe the positive press!
Member Name: PyrettaBlaze
Date: 18/09/08, updated on 18/09/08 (642 review reads)
Advantages: Cute, sweet, interesting, fun
Disadvantages: Expensive, bitey, smelly, messy, potentially vicious.
First of all, sugar gliders don't fly, they glide. There's a difference. And there's no guarantee they will use it in captivity anyway, it is designed so they can glide tree to tree, not TV to cage. I dont really have time to use Dooyoo any more, but I'm so peed off by this I thought I'd come back to write a review. Sugar gliders are NOT perfect pets, they might be cute but they are very complicated to care for and have some rather nasty habits most people could do without.
About the Sugar Glider
The sugar glider is an omnivorous possom from Australia. Like all marsupials, it has a pouch for raising it's young...it also has a fine gliding membrane across its tum that means it can glide between trees...sort of like an Australian version of a gliding squirrel, only with sharper teeth.
So what's all the fuss about?
Sugar gliders are cute. There's no denying those little beady eyes and pink noses are cute. They are also "cool". They glide, you can carry a sugar glider around in a pouch near your body to bond with it, and they eat insects. Once a sugar glider is bonded to you they are sweet, funny and loveable creatures.
All of this is true. But the sugar glider has a dark side, which we'll discuss later. First of all, lets talk care...make no mistake about it, sugar gliders are HIGH maintenance.
This could be your first problem. THere are plenty of breeders out there, most of whom are looking to make a buck thanks to these stupid newspaper articles....spend your time looking for a breeder who asks you loads of questions about how you plan to keep the animals, and refuses to sell you a lone glider (gliders should NEVER be kept without company of other gliders), this is the first mark of a good breeder.
Expect to pay in the region of 200-300 for a pair of glider joeys.
The best cage for a sugar glider is usually custom designed or an indoor aviary or parrot cage. You need a base size of minimum 2X3foot and 4 foot high, more if you want to keep three or more gliders. Bar spacing should be no more 15mm apart, and the wire should be very heavy gauge. All doors should have strong catches, you might want to add additional catches to the doors.
Cages should not be in areas subjected to bright light in the evening, this can damage glider's eyes.
Expect to pay £200 plus for the cage, and another £30+ for toys.
Gliders will often use an exercise wheel, but not the cheap hamster kind from your local pet shop. The only one on the market thats really suitable is the "Wodent Wheel", which is very solid and enclosed so the glider cant fall out or shoot across the cage. These tend to be pretty pricey. Other than that, good parrot toys and perhaps rat or ferret toys are what you're after. Parrot swings, wooden perches, rope perches, rope and wood chew-toys are good toys for gliders. Wood and untreated rope are best, they will destroy plastic and rubber easily.
Gliders need an extremely specific diet...you cannot buy complete glider mix at your pet shop. There are pellets available, but you would need to buy from the US and these diets are pretty bad for gliders, sometimes cutting their lifespans in half. They need to eat fruit and vegetables, these are best mashed so they cant pick and choose their faves and leave the healthy ones, and they also need protein, in the form of premium cat food (Science Plan or Iams), crickets and mealworms, cooked chicken and hardboiled egg. They need various vitamins and supplements too. The complexity of the glider diet is beyond the scope of this review, google "Shropshire exotics" or "Ameyzoo" for more info on feeding gliders. You MUST get their diet right...failure to do so can cause hind leg paralysis or other serious problems in sugar gliders! So you see, they are not the cute, simple to care for pets you think.
You can expect sugar glider food preparation to take a minimum of 15 minutes a day, not to mention the shopping in food and pet stores you will need to do for them, and the months of research into their diet you SHOULD be doing before you get a pair of gliders. They WILL waste a lot of this food.
Expect to spend around £10 a week in fresh fruit, vegetables and insects. You will also need to buy supplements and other bits and bobs on a regular basis.
Gliders are wild animals. They bite. Even when they are tamed they will bite sometimes. And it hurts. Their teeth are very, very sharp. Taming gliders can be difficult. The best way is to get the animal when it's sleepy and about to nap (during the day, they are nocturnal), and put it in a "Glider pouch". Basically a pouch of material with a string to attach it to yourself...you can buy or make these. Keeping the glider close to your body will help the bonding process immensely. Once the glider is used to this you can slowly introduce your hands to the pouch, and then after this take the glider out of the pouch and into the big bad world...or living room. This process might take weeks, months or it might never happen...you are talking about a wild animal here.
Expect to spend an hour bare minimum with your gliders every day...three hours is better. Is this too big a commitment?
Finding a vet
Very difficult...you might even have to use a zoo vet! Make sure you locate a good vet BEFORE you buy the glider. It will also be expensive to treat an exotic creature like a glider.
The upsides of gliders
They are cute! No denying that
They are interesting and unusual and fun to watch.
When well tamed they are sweet and loveable creatures.
That's about it. If you are the right person for a sugar glider they will give you many years of joy. But sadly there are more downsides than up, so make sure you can deal with the following before you get a glider:
Biting: They like finger. Even when tamed.
Mess: They chuck food and possibly poo outside the cage, it can get all over the floor and walls. If you are houseproud gliders are NOT for you.
Smell: Male gliders, in particular, will scent mark you, and some gliders can be rather stinky, although other's say their gliders dont have much of a smell at all.
Pee: They have no control over their bodily functions and will happily pee all over you.
Accident-proneosity (good word): They are curious, fast and they can glider. They are great at getting lost inside things, stuck in things and gliding or jumping into things. They need constant supervision when out and about.
Longevity: A good point for the right glider people, they can live as long as dogs, and this is a HUGE commitment!
Expense: Cages, toys and gliders themselves are expensive. Gliders are great at shredding toys and your wallpaper, and as a bonus are expensive to feed and treat at the vet!
Not good for kids: They bite, scratch and will not appreciate the naturally exuberant nature of a child. They are too high maintenance for kids and are a SERIOUS, 15 year commitment. Dont even think of getting your kids one of these!
It might seem like I'm all downsides, but I'm sick of hearing about people who take on animals and fail to realise that they all come with habits that animals have. "Does he bite?" is a question you get asked far too much working in a pet shop. Any animal can bite, many of them stink and make a mess and are not friendly...sugar gliders can be all of these. If you aren't prepared for the downsides of the gorgeous little glider, then get yourself a toy sugar glider instead. These wonderful animals do not deserve the fate of the poor dalmatian, the chinchilla or any of the other fashionable pets of yesteryear. Animals are living beings, NOT fashion accessories.
Summary: The question is not is the glider the right pet for you, but are you the right owner for a glider?
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