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Housing Sugar Gliders

Bigger is better! It would be best to get the tallest cage possible, at least 3 feet. An aquarium is not a suitable cage. A lot of the sugar glider cages I have seen for sale are way too small. It is VERY cruel to keep a glider in a small cage. Bare wire cages can irritate glider feet and it can get really noisy when they climb on it. It is best to get or make a vinyl or powder coated wire cage. Not only does this minimize risk of irritation and is a lot quieter, it is also much easier to clean and will not rust. I have heard that galvanized wire might cause heavy metal poisoning, but I have also heard of people having no problems at all. In order for this to happen, your glider has to continually chew on the wire and injest it. Just to be safe, don't use bare galvanized wire. There are plexi-glass cages available for sugar gliders, but these can scratch easily and you have to provide lots more climbing branches. If you are going to buy a cage make sure the hole spacing is not any bigger than 1/2" x 1", smaller if you are planning to breed them. You may want to consider buying a bird cage, however it can be really expensive to buy a cage tall enough. If you don't have a big budget, I would suggest making a cage. It is not hard to make a cage even if you don't have much experience, tools, or space. I built my cage in the kitchen of my apartment. If you can't find vinyl coated wire, it may be better to buy your cage.

Stuff to Put Inside Your Cage

1. Nestbox or pouch. Gliders need a secure place to sleep. A nestbox is best if you have several gliders or are breeding them. If you get a nestbox, make sure that it is not bare wood as the glider's pee will soak into it and have to be replaced often. It would be best to get a plastic or plexi-glass box. In the bottom you should put some kind of liner such as aspen bedding, tissues or a piece of fleece. However if you have less than four gliders, I recommend getting a pouch instead. You can take their pouch out of the cage and dump them directly into your bonding pouch without disturbing them too much. This can make the bonding process a lot easier on the both of you. You should have more than one to make sure they have a clean one. I have both a pouch and a nestbox in my cage and they alternate between them.

2. Non-toxic branches and perches. Some good non-toxic branches are eucalyptus and manzanita. These can be usually be found:Exotics Central sells a manzanita perch with toy or look in bird specialty stores or websites. You also could use live tree branches but make sure they are nontoxic and have not been sprayed with pesticides. House plants (even non-toxic ones) inside your gliders cage is not a good idea though. You can have trees or plants for them to play on outside of their cages, provided you supervise them carefully to make sure they are not eating any. A lot of glider owners have hibiscus or eucalyptus trees for playing in. If you are worried about which plants might be toxic, take a look at these sites: Edible & Harmful Plants and Toxic, Harmful & Safe Plants & Foods

3. Food dishes and water bottle. Large bird seed cups work well as they attach to the side. Get ceramic or stainless steel dishes if possible, plastic dishes scratch easily and can harbor harmful bacteria. Gliders won't usually eat food too close to the ground. Also, if they are placed high in the cage, it is less likely poop will fall in their food. Water bottles shouldn't be too big, the water needs to be changed often. Bird water bottles are a good choice.

4. Toys. Bird toys such as swings, rings, ladders, and mirrors help to entertain gliders. Just be careful not to get any with loose strings or fabric they might injest. Be sure to rotate toys to keep gliders from losing interest. A wheel can provide additional entertainment and exercise. However, an exercise wheel should not have cross bars or spaces where fragile tails can get caught, so regular hamster wheels are not a good idea. A lot of glider owners and breeders highly recommend the Wodent Wheel as a safe choice.

5. Bedding. You will probably want to put some type of bedding on the floor of the cage. Do Not use newspaper, cedar, or pine, these are toxic to small animals. Instead, use aspen shavings, oat hull, or corncob bedding.

6. Plastic or metal tray. The Pet Butler Co. makes two kinds of trays. One you put under your cage (Mess Catcher) and the other is a sliding litter tray replacement (The Critter Tray.) They come in fairly large sizes.

How should I clean my cage?

Every week or so, you will need to clean your cage. If you have a male, be careful not to clean too often. If you are constantly cleaning their cage this will often result in the males scent marking more. I have found that a mixture of baking soda and water sprayed on the cage and rinsed off helps control odor best.

More Housing Information Pages:

About Sugar Gliders: Housing
ISGA Caresheet: Housing

Feeding Making a Cage