Sugar gliders are tiny marsupials and are native to areas like Australia; however, in the exotic pet trade, they are trendy pets – likely because of their unique and sweet appearance. But their lifespan may be different when kept in captivity.
The lifespan of a sugar glider in the wild is usually around 10 to 12 years. However, when they are kept as pets, this lifespan can vary greatly; much of this will depend on the care they receive.
In this post, we will be looking at the lifespan of the adorable little sugar glider and some vital information on how to care for your pet correctly to ensure that they will live a long and healthy life.
What Is The Lifespan Of A Sugar Glider?
The sugar glider is potentially one of the cutest exotic animals that can be kept as a pet – although it is essential to remember that in some areas, it is not legal to domesticate these animals.
This is largely down to the fact that they are a protected species, although they have not yet made their way to being considered endangered.
These incredible creatures will live in the wild for ten to twelve years. However, this will assume that they are not preyed on by other animals. There are many common predators of the sugar glider, including snakes, kookaburras, foxes, and lizards, to name a few.
That being said, the sugar glider can glide, as its name suggests, so it is far more easily able to avoid becoming dinner for a tree snake than other animals.
In contrast, when sugar gliders are kept in captivity, their lifespan may be significantly shorter, but this vastly depends on their care. If you look after your sugar glider, there is no reason why he should not live a relatively long and healthy life.
There are several reports of sugar gliders exceeding their wild lifespan and living to around 15 years old when they receive exceptional care. It is vital to remember that taking on a pet like this will require dedicated care and attention.
Unfortunately, far too many horror stories of sugar gliders end prematurely because of incorrect care.
Your young sugar glider will likely be active and develop rather quickly. It is known that these animals can sometimes reach sexual maturity at four months of age, although it is usually slightly later in most cases.
Domestic pets like cats and dogs are not usually considered geriatric until around eight, although this will depend on the breed.
In contrast, your sugar glider will be seen to have reached old age at as young as five years old and anywhere up to age seven.
Their care and behavior may change as they age, but they remain loving and intelligent pets.
Get To Know The Sugar Glider
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to ensure your sugar glider spends many happy years in your home, it is essential to understand a little bit about these complex creatures.
One of the most common mistakes with new exotic pet owners is that they presume that sugar gliders are as easy to care for as other small furry animals like hamsters and rats.
But their needs are significantly different, and you will need to spend more time caring for your pet than other small animals – that is certainly not to say that rodents do not require dedicated care.
The sugar glider is a marsupial, much like the koala and wallaby, also native to Australia. This country is famed for its unique wildlife, and the sugar glider is one of many creatures that have captivated pet lovers from around the globe.
Sugar gliders are also brilliant animals and, when kept as pets, may resemble a dog in many ways. Not, of course, by appearance but in behavior; this is undoubtedly true.
Much like a canine, your sugar glider will learn his name and may come to you when you call him. Furthermore, these fantastic little creatures can also be taught to do tricks – perfectly demonstrating how intelligent they are.
Owing to the intelligent nature of the sugar glider, they do require a lot of attention. Some pet owners have compared the level of play and attention needed to that of a cat.
It would help if you also kept in mind that these are very loving creatures who often form strong bonds with their owners.
A sugar glider will suit you if you want a pet that will curl up in your pocket and give you lots of nuzzles.
How To Properly Care For Your Sugar Glider
If you want your sugar glider to live a long and happy life, you must offer him the right level of care.
This is certainly not a pet to adopt if you cannot be sure you have the right amount of time to dedicate to it, and improper care will drastically lessen the animal’s lifespan.
There are several things that your sugar glider needs to remain healthy and happy, so let’s break these down and take a look at each aspect of care in a little more detail.
One of the most important things that will keep your sugar glider healthy is their diet. It is essential that, if you want to give your pet a long life, they can access a nutritious and healthy diet.
Sugar gliders need a diet that contains around 75% fruit and vegetables and just 25% protein – this will be the best way to resemble the diet they would have in the wild.
For the vegetable portion of their diet, there is a long list of fruits and veggies that your sugar glider will love. But there are some foods of this type that should be avoided. This is because they have high levels of oxalates that could potentially cause harm to your pet. These include:
It is also advisable to avoid giving corn to your sugar glider regularly, although it is OK to offer this from time to time.
In terms of protein, your sugar glider can get this from various sources. Many pet owners will offer small pieces of cooked white meat like chicken or turkey as well as yogurt, peanut butter, and cheese.
Of course, on occasion, you might like to treat your sugar glider, and this can be done by giving live insects, but these must have come from the pet store or a supplier – you must never give your sugar glider insects that you have found in the garden.
This is because domesticated animals may not have enough resilience to bacteria and diseases, which could make them very ill and potentially decrease their lifespan.
It can be tempting to offer your sugar glider sugary foods like sugar cubes and candy – after all, he gets his name from having such a sweet tooth. But these foods could be potentially life-threatening, so do resist the urge to offer them.
It is known that the sugar glider can be fussy about what he eats and what one sugar glider may love, another may hate. So it is essential to understand what your pet enjoys and create a balanced diet.
If he is particularly fussy, adding a suitable supplement to ensure he gets everything he needs and remains healthy can be a good idea.
In addition to a healthy diet, your sugar glider must have continuous access to clean water. However, it would help if you kept in mind that because much of their food contains high levels of water, they may not drink as much as you would expect.
Sugar gliders are very intelligent, meaning they will get bored if they do not have things to stimulate them.
As we mentioned, they can develop a powerful bond with their owners, and you must dedicate at least one to two hours each day to playing with your pet. It is not uncommon to hear of sugar gliders dying because of loneliness.
The reason for this is that the lack of social interaction will cause them to become depressed – much like humans would experience loneliness. As a result, the sugar glider will meet an early demise.
In addition to a lot of human interaction, many sugar glider owners take on a pair of gliders, which is one of the best ways to keep them happy. It is not unheard of that a sugar glider will fall into a depression and die when his partner sugar glider passes away, so this is something to consider.
It is no secret that sugar gliders are complex creatures and require particular health care. Understanding these animals’ unique health needs is essential if you bring one home as a pet. This knowledge will help you ensure that their lifespan is not compromised due to health complications that may have been avoided.
- Many sugar gliders suffer from a calcium deficiency; this can result in your pet becoming lethargic and, in severe cases, paralyzed. One of the best ways to ensure that they receive an adequate amount of calcium is to offer supplements alongside their diet.
- Digestive problems such as constipation or diarrhea are common in these animals. The latter can be potentially fatal because the sugar glider may become dehydrated but can often be avoided by limiting the animal’s stress and not allowing them to eat large amounts of citrus.
- Sugar gliders may be susceptible to parasites, and this is something that a vet should treat.
- As we mentioned, sugar gliders can be prone to stress, which can be fatal in some severe cases. The main signs are sleeping more than usual, appetite changes, and circling the cage.
Your Sugar Glider’s Cage
The sugar glider is a relatively small animal, but that does not mean they do not require a large cage. The opposite is true; these creatures need a lot of room to climb, jump and play.
Therefore, you must make sure that their cage is at least 20 inches by 20 inches by 30 inches. However, this is the smallest recommended size; going bigger will not harm.
The cage should be taller than it is wide, and the food should be near the top of the cell. We like the It’s a large cage that is affordable and well-built.
The sugar glider likes to sleep during the day, so you must find a place in the home where they will not be disturbed. You might also consider not placing the cage in direct sunlight, as this could make the animal too warm.
Anywhere between 15º and 30º is suitable. That being said, ensure that the sugar glider is in a location where he can differentiate between night and day.
Your pet will need a safe and comfy place to nest during the daytime, so make sure to provide her with something suitable. This might be a small rodent house like those you see in a hamster cage of a pouch made from cloth.
Sugar gliders are one of the most sought-after furry exotic pets in the world, and despite it being illegal to keep them in some parts of the world, other areas have many (legal) sugar glider owners.
When they are in the wild, these beautiful little animals may live for between ten and twelve years, but when kept in captivity, this lifespan may vary dramatically.
There have been cases of sugar gliders living up to fifteen years in captivity when they have been well cared for, but in contrast, many of these animals will pass away far sooner owing to improper care.
If you are going to be taking on a sugar glider, you must be able to offer detailed and dedicated care to ensure a long, healthy, and happy life for your pet.