Small Mammal Medicine: Sugar Glider:
Basic Information for Sugar Gliders
Sugar Glider—Petaurus breviceps
|Natural history||The sugar glider is native to northern and eastern Australia, New Guinea, and surrounding islands. This arboreal, nocturnal creature spends its days in leaf-lined nests in tree hollows. Sugar gliders are extremely social and vocal.|
Order Diprotodontia (kangaroo, koala)
Family Petauridae (possums)
|Diet||Free-ranging gliders feed on insects, larvae, arachnids, and small vertebrates during the spring and summer. Plant products such as sap, blossoms, and nectar make up the bulk of the diet during the autumn and the winter wet season.
There are a number of captive diets recommended for gliders. The commonly recommended diet listed below comes from the Taronga Zoo. The following recipe feeds two animals:
Apple (3 g)
Mix water and honey. In a separate container, blend egg until homogenized, then gradually add vitamin/mineral powder, then baby cereal, blending after each addition until smooth. Keep refrigerated. The mixture can be frozen in ice cube trays.
|Husbandry||Sugar gliders are social animals that normally live in groups of five to twelve. These groups are exclusive and territorial, and introduced gliders may be attacked.
|Normal physiologic values||
|Anatomy / physiology||
Options for restraint of the sugar glider includes:
|Preventive medicine||Annual physical examination
Dental prophylaxis as needed
Important medical conditions
|References and further reading||
Banks RE, Sharp JM, Doss SD, Vanderford DA. Exotic Small Mammal Care and Husbandry. Durham, NC: Wiley-Blackwell; 2010.
Carboni D, Tully TN. Marsupials. In: Manual of Exotic Pet Practice. Mitchell MA, Tully TN (eds). Saunders, St. Louis, 2009. Pp. 299-325.
Dyer SM, Cervasio EL. An overview of restraint and blood collection techniques in exotic pet practice. Vet Clin Exot Anim 11:423-443, 2008.
Johnson-Delaney C. Feeding sugar gliders. Exotic DVM 1(1):4, 1998.
Lennox AM. Emergency and critical care procedures in sugar gliders, African hedgehogs, and prairie dogs. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 10(2):533-555, 2007.
MacPherson C. Sugar Gliders. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series; 1997.
Mitchell MA. Biology and medicine of the sugar glider. Proc North Amer Vet Conf 2000. P. 1014.
Mitchell MA, Tully TN. Manual of Exotic Pet Practice. St. Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier; 2009.
Ness RD. Introduction to sugar gliders. Proc North Amer Vet Conf 1999. Pp. 864-865.
Quesenberry KE, Carpenter JW (eds). Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery, 2nd ed. Philadelphia, WB Saunders, 2003.
Smith MJ. The reproductive system and paracloacal glands of Petaurus breviceps and Gymnobelideus leadbeateri. In: Smith AP, Hume ID (eds). Possums and Gliders. Australian Mammal Society; Sydney, 1984. Pp. 321-330.
Author: Christal Pollock, DVM, Dipl. ABVP-Avian; Lafeber Company veterinary consultant
Date: July 12, 2009; Updated February 14, 2010