How Long Do Sugar Gliders Live? Do They Live Longer In The Wild? | Kidadl


How Long Do Sugar Gliders Live? Do They Live Longer In The Wild?

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Sugar gliders are often known as pocket pets due to their small size equivalent to that of a pocket and the fact that they like cuddling with their owners.

Sugar gliders are generally native to Indonesia, Australia, and New Guinea. These small pocket pets spend most of their lives in trees and rarely touch the ground. This is their preferred environment.

Sugar gliders may look like flying squirrels, but they are not rodents. They are actually nocturnal marsupials. Sugar gliders are closely related to other marsupial animals, such as kangaroos. Their scientific name is Petaurus breviceps. The sugar glider is distinguished by a pair of gliding membranes called patagia that run from their forelegs to their hind legs. Gliding is an effective way to reach food while avoiding predators. Sugar gliders have soft, pale grey to light brown fur that is counter-shaded, with the underside being lighter in color. They also have large eyes.

They are cute little creatures of nature. Sugar gliders have a pair of gliding membranes, and though they can not actually fly, they have amazing aerial control because of this membrane. Wild sugar gliders are omnivorous animals that generally treat themselves to insects, seeds, fruits, plants, gums, and bird eggs. They have a life span of nine years in the wild and 12-17 years in captivity. They are 12-13 in (30-33 cm) long and can weigh up to four to five oz (113-140 g). Sugar gliders are native to rainforests and coconut plantations in eastern Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania. They live in a personalized nest in tree hollows. Sugar Gliders are very social creatures and live in groups with almost four generations living together in a group.

The female sugar glider usually gives birth from June to November and grows very quickly. Female sugar gliders have a 0.5 in (1.2 cm) broad pouch on their bellies that looks like a slip. Sugar glider males don't have pouches. In front of the cloaca, these males have a fuzzy pendulous scrotum (the common opening of the reproductive, urinary, and intestinal tract). These palm-size possums can actually glide for an astonishing length of time. They can glide half the length of a soccer pitch in one trip, which is roughly around 150 ft (45.7 m). Yes, they don't fly; they glide. Sugar Gliders are easily available as pets from breeders. They are also bred and sold in shelters and pet stores.

Sugar gliders can make excellent pets, and these pets are adorable companions. They are playful, curious, and easy to tame. They are often prone to stress and thus are not advised to be kept as single pets. Sugar Gliders can live longer in captivity. There are many factors that determine their lifespan, including nutrition, temperature, their health, and the environmental conditions they live in.

After reading all about these exotic pets who like to live alone, do read more fun facts about how long do possums live and how long do monkeys live.

How long do sugar gliders live as pets?

Sugar Gliders are very friendly companions. They are easily available in pet stores and shelters. For people with time and patience, sugar gliders can make a great pet. These marsupials live longer in captivity than in the wild. In captivity, sugar gliders can live from 12-15 years if taken care of properly.

Here's how you can care for pet sugar gliders:

Provide them with a proper cage that must contain a pouch or bag placed high in the cage for hiding during the day or sleeping. It should also contain branches and shelves.

To keep them mentally stimulated, you should keep changing the location of their toys periodically.

Their nutritional requirements must be met properly in order for them to stay fit, which includes a 25% daily protein intake. Protein is an important part of their diet.

Sugar gliders should also be served with supplements of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium. You need to include these in their diet.

Regular exercises and proper hydration are also required.

Sugar gliders are prone to many diseases, so proper medical care is required.

Sugar gliders need a companion or a partner to live together with. The lack of a friend or a companion may result in problems related to mental health and behavioral issues.

How long do sugar gliders live in the wild?

How long do sugar gliders live in the wild? In their native environment, sugar gliders live for about three to nine years. Sugar gliders are social animals and live in colonies, with around 10 adults in each group. These marsupials build their nests in tree hollows. They are found in forests. Though, sugar gliders can also be found in some plantations and rural gardens.

Baby sugar gliders actually live with their mothers until they are 7-10 years old. They are native to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. These marsupials are used to relatively high temperatures. When the temperature hits a low point of becomes freezing, these animals go into a state of torpor. They huddle together and save energy that helps them to survive the harsh temperature. Sugar gliders are omnivorous and feed on eucalyptus tree sap, nectar, pollen, bird eggs, and even insects.

Do sugar gliders die easily?

The average lifespan of a sugar glider varies from 10-12 years. The lifespan of sugar gliders in captivity will surely depend on how they are taken care of. Although, if taken care of properly, they will live a healthy and long life. As these pets are smaller in size, they are prone to getting hurt or dying quickly if not taken proper care of.

There are many common health problems in sugar gliders:

Trauma and accidents are the most common health problems that often end in death. They may include injuries during playtime, broken bones, toilet drowning, or injuries from other pets. The best part is that these traumas or accidents are avoidable. So, make sure that you take care of your pet sugar glider.

Dehydration is defined as a dangerous condition caused by a loss of body fluids due to insufficient fluid consumption and excessive sweating. It may sound funny and unbelievable, but sugar gliders can dehydrate and often die in less than 12 hours.

Giardia are protozoan parasites that are often contracted through eating unwashed fruits and vegetables. They may result in dehydration, lethargy, diarrhea, weight loss, and loss of appetite.

Sugar Gliders are easily prone to bacterial infections. Since bacterias are everywhere and can spread very easily, they can be very dangerous and may be fatal for your pets.

Luckily, sugar gliders are not really known for getting ticks and fleas, but parasites can attach to anyone in search of a host. Thus, it is advised to prevent these by regularly checking for parasites such as mites.

The improper balance of the vitamins and minerals in food intake may cause dietary problems. Also, their inability to metabolize calcium properly (which may be caused due to genetic defects) can lead to hind leg paralysis. You need to make sure that you feed your sugar gliders a healthy diet.

A sugar glider may also be infected by an infection of the urinary tract. It may be caused by unsanitary surroundings, illness, or administering medications.

Sugar gliders are also prone to pneumonia and upper respiratory infection. It may be caused by improper temperatures, viruses, or bacterial infections.

Sugar Gliders are a very delicate species. They can get seriously ill or may die, due to coming in contact with pesticides directly or indirectly. You may easily avoid this by carefully washing all fruits and vegetables.

Lack of calcium, vitamins, or minerals (or too much of them) can be fatal for pet sugar gliders. It can attack their organ systems and also weaken their immune systems. You may avoid this by feeding them well and regularly since the damages caused are irreversible.

Sugar Gliders are not known to handle stress well. New environments, housing, change in diets, and smells can all cause stress for them. This may lead to hair loss, intestinal problems, self-mutilation, and changes in their behavior and attitudes. Sugar gliders can self-harm themselves and this may sometimes prove fatal.

Drinks like coffee, tea, and soda that contain caffeine are toxic for sugar gliders. Canned fruit, candy, and even small amounts of chocolate can be fatal for sugar gliders. Sugar gliders are lactose intolerant, thus dairy products can also be dangerous. Not only that, vegetables like cauliflower, peas, turnips, and lettuce can also be potentially toxic for sugar gliders too.

A young mosaic sugar glider eating a ripe banana.

Can a sugar glider die from loneliness?

Sugar Gliders are social animals who are used to living in groups and colonies. In the wild, they are used to living in a large group of as many as 30 members. So, at a very minimum, an owner must let at least two sugar gliders live together in captivity.

Sugar gliders are well-known to bond with their owners, but they still need a companion of their own species as a friend, to help cope with loneliness. Although these social, playful, and intelligent animals get very close to their owners, the relationship is never the same. These marsupials are loyal in nature, seeking love and attention. The bond between a sugar glider and its owner will require several weeks to develop. Bonding is a delicate process and is ultimately rewarded.

Once they establish a close bond with their owners, they will play and climb on them and will trust them fearlessly. Sugar gliders can also bond with your pet at home too, but all this will still be useless without a companion of their own community. Even if they have a responsive owner, they require the companionship of another sugar glider. So, needless to say, without a friend to bond with, a sugar glider is prone to become depressed and chances are, it may die of loneliness.

Factors That Affect A Sugar Glider's Lifespan

A sugar glider can live up to an average age of three to nine years in the wild. There can be various social and environmental factors that influence their lifespan in the wild. Many factors, like bush fires, clearance of lands by farmers, and predators, often threaten their existence in the wild. Because of this, they live relatively short lives in the wild. While kept in captivity, sugar gliders can live a longer life, with an average lifespan of 12-15 years.

Some common factors influence a sugar glider's lifespan:

A proper cage must be appropriate according to their age and size. It must have enough space for a food bowl, for exercising and also for sleeping during the day. The cage should be away from air conditioners, heaters, or direct sunlight.

They should have a proper climate. Factors like odors, lightening, safety, and temperature affect the lifespan of your pet sugar glider. Thus a favorable temperature is required for your pet marsupial. A safe temperature of around 80 F (27 C) is considered a healthy temperature for your sugar glider. If the owner lives in a much cooler climate, then it is advised to have a supplementary heat source for their pet.

Toys and other accessories are important. Toys are required in order to keep pet sugar gliders busy. It also keeps them mentally stimulated and helps them cope with loneliness and boredom. You should keep a lot of toys.

Diet and nutrition are important. A sugar glider needs 75% pellet food and 25% fresh produce. They also need supplementary calcium and minerals and require multivitamins too. Make sure you have been feeding them properly.

This may not seem like a serious factor, but bonding can in fact influence the lifespan of your flying squirrel pet. When you care about something, it lasts. The same goes for your pet glider too. If proper bonding takes place, along with all of the above-mentioned factors, your pet can be expected to have a long and healthy life.

How do you ensure your sugar glider reaches its full life expectancy?

Sugar gliders are one-of-a-kind animals that few people are aware of. They've been domesticated for 15 years and are now regarded as wonderful pets! Just like any other pets, these house pets need to be taken proper care of. Sugar gliders are known to have a  lifespan of 12-15 years in captivity. This is much longer than the lifespan of their wild cousins. Marsupials in the wild are known to live for just three to nine years. So, it is good news for owners that their house pets can live long if cared for properly.

Since sugar gliders are a small, nocturnal, and very energetic species, caring for them requires a lot of energy. It is a challenging job for owners who want to ensure their sugar gliders reach their full life expectancy of 10-15 years. Sugar gliders are loving and seek love and attention. As an owner, you are required to care for your pet in a very delicate way. You must take care of their diet and feed them properly. Make sure they are given a nutritional and proper diet. A proper diet is essential in taking care of them and saving them from diseases.

Also, avoid providing them with foods that are toxic for them. Toxic foods are harmful to their health. Instead of providing sugar gliders with toxic foods, you can provide them with healthy stuff. You must provide sugar gliders with a large comfortable cage with enough space for sleeping and exercising. It must also have toys for them to play with and a pouch for them to rest or hide in during the daytime.

As they are prone to dehydration, you must provide them with an adequate amount of water. Make sure the water is filtered properly as sugar gliders can catch an infection from contaminated tap water. There are also common health concerns related to sugar gliders, so you must get them checked up by a vet as soon as you purchase them. You must also provide them with proper and regular medical check-ups from a vet periodically.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'How long do sugar gliders live?' then why not take a look at 'How long do gorillas live?', or 'Sugar glider facts'.

Hemant Oswal
Written By
Hemant Oswal

<p>With global experience in marketing and business development, Hemant is a seasoned professional with a unique perspective. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from the University of Delhi and a Master's degree in Marketing from The University of Adelaide in Australia. Hemant's work in China, Hong Kong, and Dubai has honed his skills and provided valuable experience. He broadens his understanding of the world through reading non-fiction books and watching documentaries.</p>

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