Sugar Glider: Origins and Characteristics

juvenile sugar glider on top of an arm
18 November 2020 Pets4Company

Marsupial gliders with huge eyes? Come and meet petauros breviceps!

The sugar glider grew in popularity and gradually gained its place as an exotic pet. Ready to meet it?


Sugar Gliders are native to the rainforests of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Tasmania and parts of Indonesia.

sugar glider inside a green cloth hiding place


Sugar gliders are small marsupial mammals which means that the young, born in an almost embryonic state, migrate to the maternal pouch where they settle for about 60 to 70 days while they finish developing.

They usually live in small colonies of some elements, with males being considerably more dominant.

Both sexes have several diamond-shaped scent glands, more developed in males, on the chest and head. These glands allow the sugar gliders not only to mark territory, but also to mark and recognize the members of the colony.

They are agile gliders, equipped with a membrane that extends from the wrists to the ankles (patagium) being able to glide for about 50 meters which allowing them to jump from tree to tree under the false illusion that they are able to fly.

Their sharp nails, as well as an opposable thumb on their hind legs, also make them excellent climbers. They are thus perfectly adapted to an arboreal lifestyle. Perfectly articulated fingers are essential for hunting and holding insects. The second and third fingers are also used as a “brush” during grooming.

Its huge eyes adapted to the low light of their nocturnal pattern. They also allow them to visualize a large area during the jumps as well as triangulate locations at the moment of the propulsion and landing.

sugar glider eating a mealworm on top of a transparent bowl

They are omnivores: they feed mainly on insects, nectars and fruits. In captivity, although there are already some feeds for sugar gliders these are not recommended as a daily food. It is therefore up to the owner to provide a diet as close as possible to what the sugar gliders would have in the wild!

Able to achieve an average life expectancy of 10 to 15 years in captivity, they are a long-term commitment!