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Sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps)


The Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps) is an arboreal, nocturnal, syndactyl marsupial native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and the eastern coasts of Australia. They are social animals, forming colonies of 6-10 individuals, and build their burrows inside the hollows of trees. The dominant male marks the territory and the members of his group with the secretions produced by the frontal, gular and paracloacal scent glands.

The sugar glider has a gray coat with a black streak dorsally and is cream colored ventrally. Apart from it being a marsupial, other unique features of this animal is that is has a cloaca; a common orifice, and thanks to a membrane between the limbs, they are able, by gliding, to cover considerable distances (about 50 meters). The anatomy of the reproductive system is also unique in the genus: the females have 2 uteri and two thin and long vaginas that open into a single sac divided by a septum. In males, the testicles are parapenically and the penis is bifid.

Females are seasonal polyesters, with the natural reproductive period in Australia from June to November. They are polygamous animals. The young are typically born in spring. After 15-17 days of gestation, as it is a marsupial, the baby migrates into the pouch where it will spend the next 70-74 days, after which it will come out of the pouch and will remain inside the nest until the age of 7-10 months, when it will be removed from the group. Sexual maturity is reached in males at 12-15 months and in females at 8-12 months.


Gliders can make excellent pets, provided they are given enough time and plenty of space is left at their disposal. When raised by hand, they adapt well to captivity and form a strong bond with their owner. Being nocturnal animals, the best results will be obtained at night when they are most active and peaceful. If woken and handled during the day, they may become agitated and irritable.

The optimal temperature range is between 24 ° and 27 ° C.

The advantages of this pet are its small size, playfulness and intelligence. Life expectancy in captivity is around 10-12 years. Disadvantages of gliders include their nocturnal habits, specific diet, and pungent musky smell.

Being extremely active animals, the cage that will house them must be as large as possible, the main feature being its height and with the presence at various levels, bowls for food and water as well as branches, perches and shelves. They should be provided with 1 or more hiding places in the highest part of the cage where they can sleep during the day. Environmental enrichment, branches, perches, will be fundamental.

They are omnivorous animals and in nature their diet varies with the seasons: in spring / summer they are mainly insectivores, while in the remaining months they feed on sap and honey.

In captivity, the diet should include nectar, honey, insects (mealworms, crickets), and other protein sources (eggs, pinkies, lean meat), as well as a limited amount of fruit and vegetables. The use of supplements is usually not necessary if the diet is varied and meets the nutritional requirements of the animal.

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