What is a sugar glider?: A sugar glider is a small marsupial
possum from Australia, and parts of Indonesia and New Guinea. They are
not related to flying squirrels, and are considered exotic animals in
the United States. Sugar Gliders are nocturnal, meaning they are active
during the night, and awake during the day.
Where did they get that name?: Their name comes from their two
obvious characteristics. Sugar or Honey because of their preference of
sweet things, and Gliders for their gliding membrane called a patagium.
What does a sugar glider look like?: An adult sugar gliders head
and body measure about 5 to 6 inches in length with a tail equal in
length to aid in balance and gliding. Sugar gliders have hairless ears,
that can be moved independently in order to pick up the smallest sounds.
A "wild type" or "standard" color sugar glider is gray or brownish in
color with a long black stripe that runs from it's nose to the end of
the back. The underside of a sugar glider is a cream or white color. The
last inch or so of the tail is black or brown. They have large
protruding eyes, like most nocturnal animals, to allow for a wider field
of vision. A sugar glider has five digits on each forefoot, with sharp
claws to help grip branches. The hind feet also have 5 digits, and
include a partially fused together 2nd and 3rd digit used for a grooming
comb. There is also an enlarged, clawless, opposable big toe. The sugar
glider has a patagium, a furred membrane of skin that connects to the
wrists and ankles on each side of the glider, used for gliding.
Need some more sugar glider stats?: Sugar gliders in captivity
vary in size. A normal weight for an average male is around 120grams.
Some males are quite larger weighing over 200grams without being
considered overweight. Females do tend to be a little smaller averaging
around 110grams, but also vary in size. A sugar gliders average body
temperature is around 89 degrees, lower than that of placental mammals.
Life span for a captive sugar glider is about 5-7 years in the wild, but
can live 12-15 years in captivity, providing they have a healthy diet,
exercise, and remain happy. Even though they can live 12-15 years,
average life span in captivity is substantially lower, averaging around
6 to 8 years. Usually this is due to poor diet, or inadequate care.
Males & Females:
- Males have sent glands located on their neck, chest, anus,
and forehead, used to mark their territory. The smell is faint
and hardly noticeable when the glider is in a clean habitat, on
a good diet, and in good health.
- Unfixed Adult Males can be identified by the presence of a
bald spot, on it's forehead, and the chest gland can also be
seen. Upon having a male fixed the fur will grow back.
- The Male has a bifurcated penis which means it is divided in
two, and can sometimes be seen protruding from it's bottom
- Males can be identified by the presence of a scrotum, on
babies will look like a little wart.
- Males mature between 4 to 12 months of age, generally when
their bald spot appears, that is a sign they are maturing.
- Females can be identified by the pouch opening on her
abdomen where you should expect to see a belly button.
- Females have a cycle of 29 days.
- Females will mature between 6 to 18 months of age, depending
on her conditions and diet. The younger the female, the higher
risk of neglected babies.
- Females will usually breed until they are between 5-8 years
of age. Some may breed longer.
- Females normally have 1 to 2 babies in pouch at a time.
However they can have up to 4 joeys at a time, due to the amount
of nipples in the pouch.