Common name : Sugar glider, Honey glider, Sugar bear
Binomial name : Petaurus breviceps
- Species: breviceps
- Genus: Petaurus
- Family: Petauridae
- Order: Diprotodontia
- Subclass: Marsupialia
- Class: Mammalia
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Phylum: Chordata
- Kingdom: Animalia
The sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps) is a small, omnivorous, arboreal, and nocturnal gliding possum belonging to the marsupial infraclass. The common name refers to its preference for sugary nectarous foods and ability to glide through the air, much like a flying squirrel. They have very similar appearance and habits to the flying squirrel despite not being closely related, an example of convergent evolution. The scientific name, Petaurus breviceps, translates from Latin as "short-headed rope-dancer", a reference to their canopy acrobatics.
The sugar glider is characterised by its gliding membrane, known as the patagium, which extends from the forelegs to hindlegs, with one on either side of its body. Gliding serves as an efficient means of both reaching food and evading predators. It is covered in soft, pale grey to brown fur, which is lighter in colour on their underside.
The sugar glider is endemic to parts of mainland Australia, New Guinea and certain Indonesian islands; and it was introduced to Tasmania, probably in the 1830s. source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_glider
The Sugar Glider has a membrane extending from its fifth finger to its ankle enabling it to glide up to 50 m between trees.
IdentificationIn flight, the Sugar Glider it uses its long bushy tail for stability and steering.
Size range16 cm - 21 cm
DistributionThe Sugar Glider is found in northern and eastern Australia, including northern Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and south-eastern South Australia.
HabitatThe Sugar Glider lives in forests and woodlands.
Other behaviours and adaptationsThe Sugar Glider is most active at night, sleeping by day in nests made of leaves in tree hollows. Groups of up to seven adults and their young may form a 'clan' and share a nest. Among their own clan they are playful and social but will defend their territory aggressively and noisily if threatened by other animals or approached by Sugar Gliders from a different clan. Dominant males mark other clan members and the territory around the nest with secretions from scent glands on their chest.
Life cycleThe Sugar Glider commonly gives birth to twins, which remain in the pouch for just over two months. They then leave the nest to forage for food, usually with their mother.
Source : https://australianmuseum.net.au/sugar-glider
You can own sugar gliders as pets
Sugar Gliders As Pets
Sugar gliders recognize the people that handle them and express affection and displeasure. They are social animals and do better in pairs. Sugar gliders can be very vocal and loud and bark much like a small dog.
Sugar gliders can live up to 15 years in captivity. They do need fresh fruit daily and a reasonably larger cage is necessary for their home. Although they do require some work, sugar gliders can make fun, enjoyable, and loving pets.
Food and diet
Your sugar glider’s diet should contain a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables and about 1/4 of its food should have protein. Gliders tend to prefer fruits and vegetables that have a sweet taste. Gliders should not be fed raw sugar, sugar substitutes, candy and never give your glider chocolate. If possible, all fruits and vegetables fed to your glider should be fresh and not canned. Below are some of the items you could feed your pet.
Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables you could feed your sugar glider are apples, avocados, bananas, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet corn, figs, grapes, grapefruit, mangoes, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapples, sweet potatoes, and many others.
Small pieces of cooked lean cuts of meat or poultry without any additional spices or sauces are good sources of protein. Hard boiled eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, and tofu are also other protein options.
Dry Cat Food or Dog Food
Dry cat food and dog food can be used as a source of protein but should be used sparingly. These foods are not designed for sugar gliders and may not fill the nutritional needs of your pet.
Sugar Gliders love live insects. Crickets, mealworms, and earthworms are easily attainable insects. Don’t feed your glider insects that have been collected outside where they may have been contaminated with pesticides. Although great sources of protein, insects should only be used as treats due to their high fat content.
Nuts are extremely popular treats with sugar gliders. The nuts should be raw and unsalted and be given out sparingly. Although loved by gliders, nuts are high in fat.
Sugar gliders can sometimes be picky eaters. Even with a well balanced diet your pet may be lacking in important vitamins and minerals.
Reptile multivitamin and calcium with D3 supplements can help make sure you have a happy healthy pet. Even though sugar gliders aren’t reptiles, the reptile supplements are convenient, affordable, and supply the needed dietary vitamins and minerals.
Even though sugar gliders drink very little and get most of their water from food, fresh water should always be available for your pet. A stoppered water bottle is a great way to keep water available.
Cage and habitat
Sugar gliders need room to climb so the cage should be as large as possible. For one glider the cage should be at least 20″ x 20″ x 30″. Since sugar gliders like to climb and prefer their food to be placed high up, a tall cage is best.
With your pet’s home, bigger is always better, so go with the largest cage possible. The cage should use wire mesh or metal bars. Tall bird cages often make excellent homes.
The cage needs to be in an area that is away from human traffic during the day so your pet can sleep. The cage should be in an area that gets enough light to distinguish between night and day, but avoid direct sunlight.
Being nocturnal, your sugar glider will need a nesting box to sleep in during the day. The nesting box can be a cloth pouch with a slit in front and attached to the side of the cage, a wooden birdhouse, or even a plastic hamster house.
Bedding & Substrate
Wood shavings, shredded plain paper, or bedding made from recycled paper can be used on the floor of the cage and will help to absorb urine, droppings, and dropped fruit. There are many suitable commercial beddings available. Whichever substrate you choose should be non-toxic, in case your pet eats it, and good at absorbing waste.
Food & Water
Heavy flat bottom dishes or dishes that attach to the sides of the cage are best for food and water. Sugar gliders like to eat up high so containers that attach to the side of the cage often work best. A stoppered water bottle that attaches to the cage is an excellent choice for water.
Sugar Gliders love to climb, so climbing branches should be provided in the cage area. Make sure you use non-toxic wood. When your pet strips the bark on the branches or the branches become soiled replace them with fresh branches.
Sugar Gliders like to play and will enjoy bird toys, ladders, chew toys, tunnels, and bells. Solid exercise wheels and run about balls can also be exciting toys for your pet sugar glider.
Wow! Sounds awesome, right?