Physical Characteristics of the Sugar Glider


Sugar gliders (SG), compared to other mammalian pets, are actually quite small at adulthood. An adult specimen will probably measure a maximum of seven inches from the tip of the snout to the tip of its tail.

The average length of an adult sugar glider in captivity is only about five inches, give or take a few centimeters.

When your SG reaches the six-inch mark, you already have an adult sugar glider that is ready to reproduce.

Fur Pattern

Though some variations exist, the common sugar bear has gray fur all over the top of its body. The underside of the honey bear also has fur, but the fur in this region of the marsupial’s body is usually white or cream-colored. The cream-colored underside can easily be seen from afar because of the sharp contrast between the fur on the animal’s neck and the fur on its head.

The sugar glider is a striped marsupial with characteristically thick stripes running from its facial region all the way to its back. The tail of the suggie is a combination of black and silver. The tip is usually covered with black fur. Now let us turn our attention to the SG’s tail. Apart from being soft and cute, the sugar bear’s tail is important for the animal’s movement.


Some people think the glider uses its bushy tail to grab hold of stems and prey. Nope! The suggie’s tail is actually more of a balancing and steering tool. When a honey bear glides, the tail is used to balance the weight and air movement, which then allows the animal to land safely on the other side. The glider-bear can also change its trajectory during the glide by shifting the direction of its tail.

The Glider’s Face

A sugar glider’s face is short, with most of the area being occupied by large eyes. The placement and size of the eyes are quite important for honey gliders in the wild because this ocular presentation allows the animal to scan its surroundings more effectively.

Think of the SG’s eyes as a wide-angle lens. It cannot see very far, but it can view the entire landscape more effectively than other mammals. In one quick scan of its surroundings, a sugar bear can ascertain if danger or food is nearby.

The honey bear’s face is covered with striped fur, except for its ears. The ears are short, soft, and move independently. This capability of the glider bear to move its ears in different directions at the same time allows this tiny marsupial to pick up sounds from its surroundings more efficiently.

Combine this keen sense of hearing with a wide viewing field, and you’ll begin to understand how this small creature has withstood the challenges of natural selection and has emerged as one of the victors of mammalian evolution.

Though small, the sugar glider has been blessed by nature with a peculiar set of tools and senses that allow it outsmart and escape larger predators easily.

The Limbs and Feet

Like humans, sugar bears have a total of twenty digits on their limbs. A glider has a total of ten digits on its forefeet. Each digit is jointed, flexible, and has a sharp sword-like claw. The same applies to its hind feet.

Their long claws allow sugar gliders to grip their landing spots with ease after a short glide. Through gripping, the suggie is able to move from one tree to another with relative ease and without injury. Gripping lessens the impact upon landing and also helps evenly distribute the impact of the landing throughout the glider-bear’s body.

The honey bear’s hind feet are used not only for movement, but also for grooming — a vitally important activity for marsupials. The third and fourth digits on the hind feet of the SG are physically locked together. This fusion creates a handy comb that the glider uses for a variety of daily grooming tasks including (but not limited to) the removal of parasites.

The Gliding Membrane

The gliding membrane is the one thing that truly separates the tiny marsupial from its larger possum cousins. Though this creature may be lacking in height and length, it does not lack in mobility or agility. Let’s take a look at the glider bear’s gliding membrane.

Unlike a bat’s wings, the gliding membrane does not have the ligaments and bones of a skeletal framework. The gliding membrane is simply thick flexible skin that can be spread out extensively during a glide.

When an adult suggie jumps off a high point to glide downward, it stretches its forefeet and hind feet to activate the gliding membrane. Combine this movement with the glider’s tail movements, and you have a perfect little gliding marsupial ready to transport it from tree to tree.

Important Notes:

Many people believe that a sugar glider is merely a miniature version of a flying squirrel. Although at first sight these two animals may look alike, biologically they are very different. For one, marsupials in general have retained some vestiges of their reptilian evolutionary past. These vestigial reptilian characteristics affect the honey bear’s general behavior, capacity for environmental adaptation, physical characteristics, etc.

Are you worried that this marsupial might not live long enough to be fully appreciated by your kids? Don’t be. A well cared for glider-bear can live for as long as twelve years in captivity!

What Makes Sugar Gliders the Perfect Pet?

Why should you consider sugar gliders as pets? Sugar gliders are considered the perfect household pet by families all around the globe. They are very small and do not require any special care, unlike other exotic pets. They are very cute to look at and lovely to play with.

Gliders are pocket sized marsupials, the same family as kangaroos and koalas. They are not rodents (like rats and mice) even though they bear a striking similarity.

They get their name for they have a penchant for sweet things, as their diet in the wild consists of fruit nectar and the sap from eucalyptus trees. The glider part of their name comes from a flap of skin that runs from their wrists to their ankles that allows them to glide effortless from tree to tree in their natural habitat. They are originally from Australia and make their home in the trees in the forest. They are generally very healthy and can be expected to live for 12-15 years.

Seniors living alone at home should consider having Sugar Gliders as pets for they don’t require a lot of maintenance and are very loving. Gliders also make great pets for children 6 years old and up. Children younger than 6 should only handle these pets under adult supervision.

These cool critters are nocturnal animals so they are most active at nights. However they will be happy to accompany you throughout the day sleeping inside a coat or shirt pocket.

Sugar gliders love being near their owners, so many persons allow them to cling on an inside shirt or in a shirt pocket. They crave attention and companionship so if you show them love they will respond in like manner. They do not do well with punishment but if you treat them with gentleness and care you will be rewarded with a loving devoted companion for life.

Sugar gliders make perfect pets because they are low maintenance. They are clean and do not carry bad odors. They don’t make a mess and will clean themselves, so there is no need to bathe them. They carry no diseases so there is no need to vaccinate them. They do not catch diseases so there is little need for visits to the vet.

Sugar gliders will not destroy furniture. Gliders will not gnaw and chew your shoes or grind their teeth on your chairs. They have no need to chew constantly like rodents so you can feel safe when they are out of their cage and roaming around.

Sugar gliders are very loving and clingy. They are social animals which makes them bond well with their human family. They are loyal and form good bonds with their owners and will be committed to you for life.

If you are considering taking sugar gliders as a pet, it is one of the most fulfilling decisions you can make. These beautiful loving pets will adore you for a lifetime and you will have no choice but to love them in return.

Sugar Gliders As Pets: The Pros and Cons

There is no doubt about it: sugar gliders are so cute you would never miss the chance of playing and bonding with them. Moreover, they are so tiny that they can fit in your pockets and take them wherever you go. These little gliders of Australia are affectionate, smart and extremely loving. If you need an animal companion that does not require too much aside from your caring and loving, then you should definitely consider getting one.

Considering getting a sugar glider requires you to look at the pros and cons of having one as a pet. Although they may seem to be one of the greatest pets that you can get, they are still animals that have special needs and qualities that you may find difficult to provide and adjust to. Thus, before you jump right onto purchasing one for yourself, take a look at this list of pros and cons to having them as pets.

Cons or Disadvantages

1. They are nocturnal. Sugar gliders are nocturnal in nature. This means that they tend to be active and awake at night. If you are after the fun that playing with one can provide, you may not experience it until a few hours after sunset. Yours may even wake up and become active just when you are about to sleep.

To solve this problem, you have two options: train them to adjust to your schedule or let them be. Since these animals can be domesticated, you can train them to suit your schedule. This would mean quieter evenings. However, because gliders need attention and affection, they may feel depressed and anxious if they do not see you around the house that much. Letting them live in their nocturnal ways will make for a happy sugar glider waiting for you after work or school. You just have to provide toys in their cages that will keep them happy and not wake you when you’re asleep.

2. The question of one or more. As mentioned, sugar gliders are very sociable and they need a regular companion. If you buy only one, you would need to give it your best attention and affection. Since they are nocturnal, yours would expect you to play with it in the evening. However, you also need to sleep. To solve this, you may wish to get another (a pair, in other words) to provide each a constant companion.

3. They cannot be potty trained. Unlike dogs and cats, sugar gliders cannot be potty trained. If you know your pet very well, you may notice their behavior before they go potty. If you notice that they are about to “go,” take them to an area where they can release. Sugar gliders would normally not urinate or defecate in the place where they sleep. If you allow your glider to sleep in your pocket often, it will not urinate on you.

Pros or Advantages

1. It is easy to bond with sugar gliders. With adequate care and proper attention and interaction, you can make these cute little ones bond with you. They will recognize you – your scent, your footsteps, your voice, everything! They would love to curl up in your lap or pocket and sleep there when given the chance.

2. They are absolutely adorable… and cute! Their cuteness can help you be relieved from stress. You may find it relaxing to watch them play, jump, climb and glide around. If you have a pair, watching them play together in their cage will also make you feel at ease and relaxed.

3. They are low-maintenance and inexpensive to care for. Sugar gliders do not need regular visits to the veterinarian. They also do not need vaccinations and deworming sessions such as dogs and cats. Keeping up with their diet is also inexpensive.