Finally, you have decided to get one or more sugar gliders as pets. The next thing you’ll need to do is some research on where to get them. There are some good options to consider, as well as some places to avoid.
Adopting sugar gliders from a local rescue is one option you can consider. There are rescue sugar gliders across the USA who need a good home, and you could help save them by providing a loving and caring home.
The rescue of sugar gliders is also a way to ensure that you are not supporting the sugar mills. Another good option is to buy your gliders from a reputable local breeder who offers after-sales support. When shopping locally, you can visit the breeder, take a look at it, and make sure they provide a clean and safe environment. You can also check if the sugar gliders are healthy and well cared for.
Another option is to find a breeder online stores, but this is not recommended. Some breeders will send you sugar gliders, but they must take proper care that it is done safely. The problem is that there is no way to see the breeding facilities or meet the parents. Buying on the online market is also risky because sellers are not regulated by the Animal Welfare Act.
Signs Of A Good Breeder Of Suger Gliders
1. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) License
One thing you can check is to see if a breeder has a USDA license. Although having a USDA license is a good thing, unfortunately, it is not a reliable indicator of a good breeder, so you will have to investigate further. On the other hand, just because a breeder doesn’t have a USDA license doesn’t mean he’s a bad breeder. Only breeders who have more than three breeding females must obtain a USDA license.
2. Clean Facilities and Healthy Sugar Gliders
A good breeder will allow you to visit their facilities to ensure that they provide a clean environment for their gliders. They will also let you meet your gliders to make sure they are healthy and well cared for. Make sure the cages are big enough and have lots of toys. If a breeder makes excuses and does not allow you to see their facilities, they should not be trusted. Good breeders will not try to hide anything from you.
3. They recommend a balanced diet.
Ask potential breeders what diet they recommend. A good breeder will always be honest and will recommend a balanced diet of protein and fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.
4. Joeys separate from parents no earlier than 8-12 weeks out of the pouch
A good breeder will never separate joeys from parents before 8 to 12 weeks out of the pouch. Ensure they count from the disbursement date and not from the actual date of birth.
5. After-Sales Assistance
Good breeders will feel an obligation to their joeys, even after they have gone home to a new owner. Many will be available for 24/7 support if you need anything.
6. They offer a health guarantee and provide lineage
Be sure to ask about a sugar glider health guarantee, as many good breeders will offer a one-month health guarantee. They should also be able to provide lineage on any gliders they breed to avoid inbreeding. It is a good idea to meet both parents of the sugar glider you will take home, or at least the mother. A good breeder will provide you with an adoption contract that explains your responsibilities, your health guarantee, and your return policy.
7. They are experienced and can provide references
Ask how long they have been in business to see how much experience they have with breeding gliders. Good breeders will also be able to provide you with references upon request.
8. They are happy to answer any questions and also have questions for you
Good breeders won’t mind answering your questions. Many will also have questions for you because they want to make sure their joeys goes to a good home. If they seem to only care about money and not the well-being of your gliders, avoid them.
Where To Avoid Buying Sugar Gliders
You should avoid getting sugar gliders at mall kiosks, flea markets, trade shows, state fairs, and other places that encourage impulse buying.
These places are generally set up by mill breeders who encourage impulse buying from people with no sugar glider education. Unfortunately, many of the sugar gliders sold by the mills are in poor health or may have separated from their mothers too soon.
Many of the gliders that are bought on impulse also end up being abandoned, sold on craigslist, or sent to rescue shelters because the owners were not prepared to care for such a high-maintenance pet.
There are a few exceptions, but you should also avoid pet stores because they generally get their sugar gliders from the mills. Many pet stores are not well informed on how to care for sugar gliders and will often trick people into believing that they are easier to care for than they really are.
Pet stores are generally closed at night, so they rarely handle sugar gliders at night when they are most active and need attention. Pet stores are also noisy and can be scary and stressful for a little sugar glider. It may be more difficult to join them after being in a stressful environment.
There are some good pet stores out there, so if you think you’ve found a reputable one, be sure to ask lots of questions to make sure they’re knowledgeable about sugar gliders and take proper care of them.
What To Avoid When Buying
1. Lots of joeys in a cage
Avoid any seller who comes to a public place with a group of joeys all huddled in a cage. They don’t know one joey from the next and can’t tell them anything about the personalities or characteristics of individual joeys.
2. Not allowing meeting with the joey before buying
Avoid any seller who does not allow you to see the sugar glider before buying it. It is important to be able to drive a sugar glider and play with it before purchasing so that you can see if it has been tampered with and tamed by the breeder.
3. Recommends sugar gliders as easy, low-maintenance, and low-cost pets
Avoid any seller who says sugar gliders are easy, low-maintenance, or low-cost pets. As explained above, sugar gliders are high-maintenance pets and don’t come cheap. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to drive a sale and doesn’t care about the well-being of sugar gliders
4. Recommends sugar gliders for children
Avoid any seller who uses a child-friendly selling method, for example, by characterizing sugar gliders as good starter pets for children. Sugar gliders are not good pets for young children and require a responsible adult to care for them.
5. Claim that sugar gliders will get along with your other pets
Avoid any vendor who claims that sugar gliders will get along with your other pets. Some people claim that their dog or cat will not attack a glider because they don’t smell like rodents, but this is not true.
Cats and dogs will go after small animals that run or move quickly, and their sugar glider is no exception.
6. Recommend Getting a Single Glider
Avoid any seller who tells you that a single glider will be fine without another glider partner for their entire life. In some cases, a single glider may work well, but it is much better to have at least one partner.
7. Recommends a small cage
Avoid any seller who recommends a small cage. Sugar gliders are arboreal, which means they spend a lot of time in the treetops. They need a high cage to jump and climb, so the higher the better.
The smallest cage size should be 36 “high x 24” long x 24 “wide, or 40” high x 21 “long x 21” wide.
Some breeders say joeys need a smaller cage because they are young, and it is easier to bond with them because it will be easier to catch them in a smaller cage. This is not true. You should get a cage the same size for joeys as for adults.
8. Recommend a thermal rock
Avoid any seller who tells you to use a thermal rock or tries to sell you a thermal rock with a cage. Joeys that are fully weaned and ready to leave to parents can regulate their own temperature and do not need a separate heat source. If a breeder recommends a heat rock, they are likely to sell a joey that is too young to part with their parents.
9. Requires you to follow their diet
Avoid any seller who tells you that you have to feed a specific diet. There are many approved diets for sugar gliders that will be discussed later in this category. Be especially careful with anyone who tells you to feed a diet primarily of pellets with an apple slice and a slice of wheat bread. Sugar gliders need a variety of protein and fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.
10. Claim sugar gliders can be potty trained
Avoid any seller who tells you that gliders will not urinate or poop on you or they can be potty trained. It can be considered a mobile toilet because sugar gliders like to brand their owners and will defecate when and where they need it.
11. Affirms that the sugar gliders will not bite, or not strong enough to draw blood
Avoid any seller who says sugar gliders won’t bite or bite enough to draw blood. When sugar gliders are frightened or provoked in any way, they will bite to defend themselves.
12. Recommends using physical force to stop biting
Avoid any seller who recommends using physical force to train or discipline a glider to stop biting. Gliders are small and the use of physical force could injure or kill them.
There are other better ways to prevent a glider from biting. One way is to imitate the “pssst” sound that gliders make to each other when behavior is not tolerated.
13. Claims sugar gliders rescues don’t exist and are a scam
Avoid any seller who claims that sugar glider rescues don’t exist and that they really are a scam. There are glider rescues across the country hosting abandoned and sick gliders that were originally sold by boosters to impulsive buyers.
14. Claim that sugar gliders only bond when young
Avoid any seller who claims that sugar gliders will bond only when they are very young, 8 to 12 weeks old. Many adult gliders also bond very well with their owners.
At What Age You Should Bring Sugar Glider Home
From 8 to 12 weeks out of the pouch, a sugar glider is usually ready to be weaned from its parents. You don’t want to buy a sugar glider that has been taken from its parents too soon because it’s best to let the weaning process happen naturally.
Sugar gliders learn many behaviors from their parents, such as how to eat and how to behave according to a hierarchical order in the colony.
Taking them too early can cause behavioral problems and affect them for the rest of their lives. In addition to potential behavioral problems, sugar gliders who removing from their parents too early also have an increased risk of dying early or having health problems.
Signs That A Joey Is Too Young To Be Separated From Parents
1. Smooth tail
If a joey has a smooth tail with fur that is flat, it is likely that it is less than 4 weeks out of the pouch and is definitely too young to be removed from its parents. You want to look for a fluffy full tail.
A joey who cries when put on a strange surface is crying for its parents and is not ready to be weaned.
3. Riding on another glider
If a joey rides on the back of another glider, it is too young to be weaned. A weaned joey will never ride on the back of another glider.
4. Does not walk properly
If a glider is unsure of walking, does not walk stable, or is stretched out on all fours, it is too young to be weaned.
5. Smaller than the width of your hand
A sugar glider that is smaller than the width of an average-sized hand may be too young. The length of the body, not including the tail, should be approximately the width of your hand, or slightly longer.
Tips To Ensuring Healthy Sugar Glider
Here are some signs of an unhealthy glider to watch out for
1. Wet, greasy, sticky or matte skin
A healthy glider will have a smooth, thick, and clear coat. Skin that looks moist, oily, sticky, or matted could be a sign of a parasite or bacterial infection or unhealthy living conditions.
2. Dull eyes or discharge
A healthy glider will have bright, clear eyes that are full of life. An unhealthy child may have eyes that discharge or may appear dull, bluish, or irritated.
3. Ribs showing
Joeys who are underweight or show ribs may be sick or dehydrated.
A healthy glider will be active and alert, so any joey who seems lethargic or unaware of what’s going on around him could be sick.
5. Wet tail or poop matted to tail
A joey who has a wet tail or poop tangled in its tail is not grooming itself and maybe ill. It could also be a sign that it is too young to be away from its parents and may not have learned how to groom itself yet.
6. Flat or dry ears
Ears that are constantly flattening and will not come alive when spoken to or ears that are dry and flaky could be signs of illness. If you see any of these signs or anything else that makes you suspicious, do not hesitate to point it out to the breeder.
Ask as many questions as you can about the glider’s health, and don’t buy from a breeder who can’t answer your questions satisfactorily.
Although you may feel sorry for a sick glider, it is important not to buy one because it will only support the breeder and help keep him in business. It does not help long-term sick gliders to support the companies that sell them.
It is better to report them to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) or Better Business Bureau (BBB).
You can also request their USDA license number and verify that they are licensed. If they are not, you can report them to the USDA.